Premarital couples counseling is a great opportunity to learn what to expect from your marriage so that you can understand the common misconceptions that most individuals attending premarital couples counselling have, and learn how to handle conflict so that your married life flows as smoothly as possible in future years.
Not many premarital couples consider attending premarital couples counseling but it will be the best thing you ever did. For it can reduce arguments, stress, anxiety and unrealistic expectations so that your marriage has a strong foundation to work from. So if you are now sold on the idea of engaging in some premarital couples counselling, here’s what we suggest you consider beforehand.
1) Don’t worry about it
Attending premarital couples counseling can be intimidating, especially because, even though you may have been together for a while as a couple, you’ll still be learning about each other. And may have completely different preconceptions about what marriage is about, and what it should be.
This fear of creating problems at the premarital stage can put many couples off premarital couples counseling but truthfully, whatever you are concerned about will come out in the end, so it’s better to discuss these topics openly and with the support of your premarital counselor so that you can both understand where you are in any situation that may arise during married life.
Examining your life together prior to marriage will eliminate problems – much like pulling out the weeds from a garden before they take hold.
2) Discuss the reason to attend the counseling and the takeaway
Opening the floor for discussion about an important decision such as premarital couples counseling will set the tone for the way that you discuss important topics together in the future. And will help each party to discuss their fears prior so that they can feel empowered enough to go over whatever needs to be discussed with the full support of their partner.
3) Acknowledge the time you’ll need to take out of your schedule
Planning a marriage is a huge strain on time, particularly if you are both working full time. Adding in premarital counseling to the mix is really taking things to another level. Acknowledging and accepting that this time, whilst precious will be well spent and will repay you tenfold will help you both stay focused on continuing. Afterall it is a great investment for your future together.
4) Be prepared to hear things that you don’t want to hear
Nobody likes to hear that they frequently spark arguments, or that their communication skills are below standard. But in reality, being given the gift of fast-tracked self-insight is a tremendous experience and one that when you’ve accepted some things that you’ll need to change, you’ll move on from and have the opportunity to grow from. They say self-awareness is the key to all problems and this is no exception. Embrace the opportunity, and have faith that you’ll be even more fabulous than you were before as a result (oh and your marriage will benefit from these changes and insights too!).
5) Make the most out of your sessions
There are a number of tricks that you can do to make the most out of your premarital couples counseling sessions. So this section is likely to be long but worth a read nonetheless.
Accept that some topics and discussions will be challenging
Some topics and discussions will be challenging but trust that you’ll feel much better at the end. Most counselors are trained to help you bring something to the surface, and then to help you rebuild and find a positive way forward after clearing the air – it really is refreshing.
Don’t get competitive with your partner
That pattern is not helpful in this scenario and is most definitely one that needs to be left out of the marriage anyway. Both partners will have wonderful things to bring to the marriage and also some unwanted patterns, accepting this without ego is highly recommended.
Don’t discuss your sessions with others
Your sessions are completely private and intimate between you, your fiance and the premarital counselor. Keep it that way. You’ll damage your trust and intimacy if you decide to share anything and you could potentially embarrass your partner. This is a great opportunity to build trust and commitment though.
Discuss your love for your partner, with your partner
Tell them how much you appreciate the efforts they are going through to ensure that your marriage is strong. And remind them that you are fully committed to working on your marriage as hard for the rest of your married life.
If you didn’t realize by now that marriage requires work, perhaps that’s a topic to raise with your premarital counselor so that they can help you work on your expectations of marriage.
Don’t hold onto anything negative outside of the counseling sessions
If you didn’t like something that your partner said, or if you were humbled in some way and you feel uncomfortable about it don’t take it out on your partner. It will shut your partner down and reduce the trust between you. Instead, wait until the next counseling session and if it’s still on your mind then, seek help with the counselor to resolve the issue in a positive way.
In doing so, you’ll protect your relationship, and you’ll have the time to work through the issue independently, and then have the opportunity to bring it to the session for resolution – and that’s a very healthy way of dealing with an issue!