An engagement is one of the biggest and most exciting steps any relationship can make. But oftentimes people get so wrapped up in the wedding planning, they forget about the marriage planning.
Your wedding is a major event, but it’s also only one day in the life of your relationship; marriage is an event that will take place every day for the rest of your lives. Premarital counseling is one of the best things you can do for the success of your marriage. Read these five ways premarital counseling can positively impact your relationship:
1. Premarital counseling prevents problems before they begin
Many people are hesitant to begin premarital counseling because they don’t have any serious relationship issues at the time. If that’s the case, that’s great! But there are bound to be bumps along the road as your marriage grows. Unless you have specific problems that you and your fiancé want to address, the focus of premarital counseling won’t be on current issues. Instead, attention and awareness will be directed at potential choices, challenges, and problems that might arise down the line. You and your counselor will discuss a wide range of topics, not just your stereotypical counseling subjects. In premarital counseling, many couples find themselves discussing things they never realized could turn into potential challenges in their relationship.
2. Premarital counseling allows you to grow closer
In counseling, the conversation centers on the topics you probably don’t discuss on a day-to-day basis. You will dig deeper and talk about the more serious aspects of sustaining a marriage. Premarital counseling allows you to become more vulnerable and open. You’ll become comfortable sharing things in a monitored setting with a neutral person involved. When you practice openness here, you’ll be more inclined to do so at home, as well. This will strengthen the bond you have and open the dynamic of your marriage moving forward.
3. Premarital counseling can help you plan your future together
Embarking on a marriage journey together is probably new territory for the both of you. Even if you’ve been married before, premarital counseling can help. You and your partner needn’t navigate these waters alone. It’s very common to feel some fear or anxiety amidst the excitement of your wedding day and marriage. These nervous feelings don’t diminish your eagerness to spend the rest of your life together. In premarital counseling, you and your partner will discuss plans for your future so that you aren’t thrown into your marriage unprepared. You will likely discuss things as big as raising children or blending families, dealing with in-laws, and you’re your philosophies for managing joint finances. Or, topics that are seemingly small, incorporating little tips that are proven ways to keep a marriage happy and healthy.
4. In premarital counseling you can seek wisdom
Talking to someone who’s spent time helping couples is a great way to prepare you for your future. Seeking a counselor who specializes in therapy to help couples before and after marriage is an important step. A counseling professional who specializes in working with couples has the professional education, skills, and experience to be aware of potential challenges that may arise in your relationship. A couples counseling specialist is trained to help you be aware of patterns of interaction with your partner, help you to understand ways of talking to each other that are healthy and positive, those ways of discussion or conflict that can be harmful to your relationship, and the research proven traits of couples who are “masters” at a happy union. Every couple is different, and premarital counseling is not a one-size fit all approach. Together, you and your counselor will come up with a game plan and tailor an approach that’s best for you.
5. Premarital counseling strengthens your relationship skills
Of course, love is important, but love isn’t always enough to sustain a relationship. There are many relational skills you may need to acquire to maintain a healthy marriage. You have probably built some of these skills in the natural course of your relationship, but there may be others that need to be further developed.
In premarital counseling, you will spend time discussing communication within your relationship – what’s working for you, what isn’t, etc. Proper communication is essential for the success of any relationship; by strengthening this skill, you’re less likely to run into problems down the road.
Give yourself, your partner, and your relationship the gift of a few premarital counseling sessions. You will be glad you did!
Carlene Lehmann is a licensed marriage and family therapist associate with the Relationship Counseling Center of Austin. Her work focuses on couples and families, and is informed by her training in Prepare-Enrich premarital counseling, the Gottman method of couples counseling, and the psychobiological approach to couple therapy (PACT). Contact her for scheduling at 512-270-4883, ext. 105, or request an appointment with her on the RCC Austin Scheduling page.