Congratulations, the wedding is all set! You have sent out your invitations, decided on what cake to get after a million cake-testings, reserved the wedding venue of your dreams, and finally chosen the best tux for the groom and the best gown for the bride. Now all you have to do is meet with your counselor for premarital couples counseling. But wait a second. Is that really necessary?
I know many couples are uncomfortable with the idea of premarital couples counseling. For them, going to meet with a counselor means that something is wrong with the relationship. The same stigma is attached to people who go to individual therapy. There is this notion that only couples who are unsure of getting married have to get their relationship assessed, which is a common misunderstanding.
You see, the both of you may be pretty sure about each other, but you may have some issues you have been avoiding subconsciously, if there are any. It’s probably for the best of both parties to figure things out as early as possible and you can do that through premarital couples counseling.
At the end of the day, it is always up to the both of you if you want to meet with a counselor or not. Besides, it is not a requirement to get married.
To inform you more about the process, here are some of the things you will accomplish when you decide to go through premarital couples counseling.
Talk about your relationship problems
The both of you may have been too busy planning the whole event that you have not given much time to evaluate your relationship. Months before the wedding, a lot of couples would habitually avoid confrontations that could lead to breakups. But here’s the thing. Sweeping the dirt under the rug is not a healthy course to take. To create an analogy, cutting arguments short and unresolved is simply a band-aid solution. And what happens to wounds never cleaned and quickly covered? They get infected. Same is true with relationships. You have to find the time to open up about your issues together and the best opportunity to do so is during premarital couples counseling. It is the right opportunity to talk everything out so you can start off with a clean slate. The slate could get really dirty during the process, if you know what I mean. One of you is most likely to bring up something that happened years ago, and finally, you can have it settled once and for all, so it never gets squeezed in any fight ever again. Oh, the mess it could make! But it’s going to be worth it as you will end up feeling great after a couple of sessions or so.
Discuss about practical matters
Premarital couples counseling is also the time to talk about things like money, time, and kids. Your counselor is most likely to ask you about your financial status, whether or not you are planning to have children, how you will manage your time between home and work, and things that deal with the reality of marriage. The truth of the matter is, love alone cannot sustain the relationship. You have to be prepared with the demands of marriage and the challenges the world will throw at you as a couple. Establishing real life goals and expectations outside your bubble of romance is something that will help you achieve success in your marriage.
Get an outside perspective
Sometimes, there is a certain level of difficulty in trying to realize each other’s faults without a third-party perspective. Friends provide a good standpoint but they could get really biased depending on who is closer to whom. Friends also tend to sugarcoat what they really want to say instead of being “brutally” honest even if the situation demands it from them. Premarital couples counseling is a great way to get some unbiased advice and also some golden nuggets of wisdom from someone who knows the ins and the outs of marriage.
Learn marriage resolution and conflict resolution skills
Conflicts are so much different when you are married compared to when you are just in the dating period. From petty jealousy that can be resolved by a quick kiss on the cheek, marriage arguments can go from small issues about chores to big arguments about finances. Premarital couples counseling can give you advice on what to do when your marriage is on the rocks. Counselors are experts sought out on this particular aspect so it is better to entrust your issues to them rather than rant to a friend who may not even understand what serious relationships are like. You might even get some dangerous encouragement to commit hasty decisions if you try to talk your problems out to someone who does not really get it..
Discover new things about each other
Premarital couples counseling can be a way for you to know your partner even more. During the session, you are required to talk about your feelings, aspirations, and expectations as individuals and as a couple. From these conversations, something might come up that will totally surprise you. May it be good or bad, new information about the love of your life is worth knowing about.
Talk about how to avoid divorce
One of the main reasons why people decide to go to premarital couples counseling is because it is proven that agreeing to go through this process lowers the probability of divorce. That is backed up by reliable research studies. Premarital couples counseling is the time for couples to talk about whether divorce is an option or not. It is also the time to establish your grounds for divorce.
Where you can find marriage counselors
There are different ways to reach a good counselor. Your first option is to talk to your trusted religious leaders from your house of worship. These people often lead the wedding ceremony and encourage couples to sit down and talk before the marriage. You can also try and find premarital counselors from local listings through the internet. Try to ask some of your married friends if they have a person to recommend, most likely somebody they went to or know personally. You can also go for professional therapy if you feel like your relationship needs it. Do not get hindered by the stigma attached to going to counseling.
Before we end, let me tell you a little more something. Premarital couples counseling can be very productive but it can also be risky. In some instances, it can push the couple to determine whether the wise decision is to go through the marriage or break it off for the meantime. If you realized that the relationship has deep-seated problems, you may choose to work on it together with your counselor or drop the whole thing altogether. The worst case scenario remains to be the story of a runaway bride or groom on the actual day of the wedding. Premarital couples counseling can avoid this from becoming an event of the reality from simply being a product of overthinking.
Premarital couples counseling is something you should think about. You invest a lot of time in planning your wedding. So why not give twice the time and effort to plan your marriage?