If you recently got engaged, congratulations! Without question, this is definitely one of the most exciting (and life-altering) times of your entire life. And although we’re pretty sure that you’re busy setting a date, booking a venue and figuring out what you’re going to wear on your special day, as you’re going down the list of things that you actually must do, please don’t forget to put “get premarital counseling” on the very top of the list.
Here’s why. A lot of couples only see it as a mere (and not extremely necessary) formality. However, there is actually a lot of evidence supporting the fact that it’s one of the best proactive steps that you can take in order to safeguard your union. In fact, according to one published report, “Couples who underwent counseling before their wedding had a 30% higher marital success rate than those who did not.”
If you’re hesitant to book an appointment with a counselor, therapist or pastor because you’re still not convinced that it’s worth the time or money, here are five benefits of premarital counseling that will hopefully change your mind.
1) You’ll see your relationship from “the outside in”
Although basically all of us have heard the saying “Perception is reality”, that conclusion is more popular than it is actually true. Perception is the way that you personally see things, while reality is based on hardcore facts. So, say for instance that neither one of you has enough money to live on your own. Perception might say that “our love will get us through” while reality says “perhaps we should push the date back until we’re more financially stable”. A good premarital counselor is going to take what you see “from the inside out” (perception) into account while still encouraging you to look at things from the outside in (the facts without your feelings so that your judgment is not clouded).
2) It gives you a chance to think past your emotions
Something that engaged couples have a tendency to do is only focus on the present. Meanwhile, a marriage counselor is going to get you to look into the future. Do you both want children, and if so, when? Are you both good with money? Who has a higher sex drive? What are your love languages? Do you have a healthy relationship with each other’s parents? Who is going to do which chores around the house? What do you expect from one another? Remember, marriage is not just about loving another person. It’s about building a life with an individual. You need to explore all types of issues, beforehand, just to make sure that you are marrying the right one for you.
3) Reasons for getting married are discussed
While in premarital counseling, something that the counselor may ask you is “So, why did the two of you make the decision to get married?” If that seems like an odd question or your only answer is “Because we’re in love”, it’s a good thing that you signed up for a few sessions. Being in love is awesome, but you’re going to need a lot more than love in order to make it through an entire lifetime together. You need friendship. You need mutual respect. You need compatibility. You need goals and plans for your relationship. A wise man once said that if you want to see how a relationship ends, look at how it began. Being clear about your initial reasons and motives for being together will provide a lot of clarity on what is required to make your relationship work following your wedding day.
4) Uncomfortable topics are covered
You’re going to be sharing your living space, your time and almost everything else that you can think about with your significant other. You might as well use premarital counseling to discuss some potentially uncomfortable topics. What’s your credit score? What bad habits do you have? Deeper than that, what are some of your traumatic experiences and greatest fears? If you don’t things out in the open now, one way or another they are going to come out later. It’s best that both you and your partner are not blindsided. Premarital counseling can help to prevent that from happening.
5) The counselor provides an unbiased opinion
Once your premarital counseling sessions have come to an end, it’s then time for the counselor to provide their opinion or conclusion. They might say “You two are a really great match” or they might recommend that you rethink being together. Although it is certainly up to you to make the ultimate choice, at least you have an unbiased individual who shared their thoughts. Plus, you now have a deeper understanding of what you’re signing up for should you choose to move forward, which is a good thing. And as they say “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Right? Right.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
More by Shellie Warren