Many couples have preconceived notions about premarital counseling and may even believe that the only reason to endure counseling before your wedding is if your officiant requires it. This idea couldn't be further from the truth! Whether you’re religious or not, premarital counseling is something every couple can benefit from. While it's true that some pastors and officiants require a few hours of counseling, every couple can benefit from visiting a family therapist or counselor before tying the knot. You may even choose to meet with a certified family therapist in addition to a few brief meetings with your pastor, because a family therapist will often meet with couples 6 to 12 times to truly dive into the relationship with the intention of helping it thrive.
Depending on where you receive your counseling, there may be an associated cost, but it’s a huge investment in your marriage. Studies suggest that couples who receive counseling have 30% lower divorce rates, which is a fantastic reason to go into counseling with an open heart and positive attitude. Premarital counseling helps couples discuss important issues before they arise, and allows couples to truly think about the marriage they are entering into, rather than just the wedding they are planning.
1. Face Issues Before They Become Problems
Having a game plan for topics like how to raise kids, handle disagreements and deal with finances are topics that can be tackled in the safety of counseling. A counselor can also help you work through any problems you’re already facing, so they can have healthy resolution before the big day.
2. Create Intentional Time Before the Wedding
By the time you’ve gotten to the proposal, you’ve spent plenty of time together, getting to know each other. But it’s so important throughout your engagement and marriage to make intentional time to grow together. There are so many distractions from your relationship while planning a wedding, so counseling provides an opportunity to set aside time to focus on each other and the life you want to build together.
3. Talking to an Unbiased Party
If you have any worries or current issues, it's helpful to get advice from someone who has already experienced these situations or can listen to both parties to get to the root of the problem. Sometimes talking to a parent or friend isn’t the best option, since the person you talk to is biased toward your side, not your fiancé's. A counselor is totally unbiased when giving advice and sharing wisdom, so you know it’s in your best interest as a couple.
4. Communication is Key
The importance of communication ties into all aspects of a marriage, and a counselor can provide great tools to help you both be better listeners and feel more comfortable communicating respectfully in any situation. Conflict will arise at some point or another, and those tools can help bring the all-out screaming match down to a conversation about the root problems. Conversations become about the “why” rather than the “what” and allows an opportunity to grow together rather than feel torn apart.
5. Discuss Finances
Considering money problems are a main cause of many divorces, your counselor may be able to help you determine your financial personalities and how to best merge those two personalities together. Finding a way to discuss your finances is uncomfortable for even the strongest couples, and your counselor can provide tips, advice and stories that can better prepare you for this topic.
6. Learn More About Your Partner, and Yourself
Often a counselor will bring up topics that don’t come up in normal conversation. Whether it’s past hurts or expectations you may bring into your marriage, or even just a difference in thinking, diving deeper into a guided conversation can bring enlightenment that will help you grow and better understand each other. The counselor may help you identify fears, values, and needs that you weren’t aware of, which will help your spouse better provide for you and take care of those needs.
7. Combining Two Families
Dealing with the in-laws can either be exciting or stress-inducing, and your counselor will be able to help you discuss any concerns you have as you merge your two families together. Whether it’s how to handle difficult situations or what to do for holidays, there are a lot of questions that come into play when the expectations of in-laws are concerned, and having an open dialogue about these topics before they arise give a greater opportunity for success.
8. Seeing a Counselor Doesn’t Mean You’re Unsure of Your Marriage
Some people have negative connotations about seeing a counselor or family therapist, but even the strongest couples in the world can benefit from talking to a third party about their relationship. Every couple fights at some point or another, and no marriage is perfect or without problems, so seeing a counselor just means you’re committed to ensuring you have the strongest start possible for your marriage.
Because Beauty & the Budget Events is passionate about marriages and wants every marriage to succeed, we strongly recommend every couple we work with goes through premarital counseling. From personal experience, Stephanie and Matthew Milosh spent 8 hours with a licensed family therapist before their wedding and feel like it was one of the best decisions they made. Need help finding a counselor? We'd be happy to help!