Many couples question whether or not they need to do a premarital therapy program before they get married. The answer is almost always yes. Not only is there a higher success rate for the marriage if you participate in premarital counseling, but most couples find that it also helps with the stress of the wedding. Premarital counseling will often teach couples how to effectively solve disagreements, how to communicate in ways that work for your personalities and make sure you are aware of your reasons for getting married. These are all great reasons to sign up, but none of these is the most important determining factor. The primary reason to do premarital counseling is simply that you don’t know what you don’t know.
You probably have a good relationship, otherwise, you wouldn’t be planning to get married. However, marriages are very different from dating and cohabitating. We are not taught how to be married, and how to successfully merge our life with someone else’s. Unless you are one of the few really fortunate people out there, you also probably did not have a lot of extraordinary examples of marriage to learn from. Marriage involves constant growth and self-improvement. What works in other types of relationships or other areas of life, doesn’t cut it in a marriage. You can’t simply agree to disagree or try to avoid conflict. I’m sure that you’ve heard that compromise is a big part of a marriage. However, there are certain things on which you just can’t compromise. So, learning how to navigate all of this is important.
Another key aspect to highlight is expectations. We often have very different expectations for our partners and our lives after the wedding. You may be aware of those expectations, or they may not be something you consciously think about. Either way, you need to make sure that you know and express those expectations so that you and your partner are working towards the same goals. Unmet expectations are the primary cause of resentment in relationships. If you feel like you are not getting what you want and need from your partner or your marriage, then you will frequently be disappointed. That disappointment will be confusing and frustrating for your partner if they are unaware of how they are letting you down. So, you end up disappointed, your partner ends up frustrated, and then the cycle of resentment begins to build. This is not a good way to start out a marriage. Luckily, it can be avoided by learning to identify your expectations and how to communicate them effectively.
Have a detailed conversation about money, sex, and family
You may be unaware of how your partner feels about a certain topic. There are several areas that most people avoid talking about. Sometimes we avoid things out of fear of what the other person will disclose, but most times we avoid these sensitive areas because we don’t know how to start the conversation or say how we feel. Money, sex, and family are the most commonly avoided topics. People feel strange talking about these topics for numerous reasons. You may have been taught that it’s not polite to talk about money, or there may have been some shame around sexuality in your upbringing. Whatever the reason, you need to learn how to have open, honest communication with your partner on all subjects. Discrepancies in how money is handled are going to come up. At some point in your marriage, you are going to experience problems and changes in your sex life. You will want to be on the same page with having kids or not, and what parenting style you will use. If you know how to communicate effectively on all of these topics, you will be able to cope with whatever comes up.
Premarital counseling can help
Decide to take the step to learn about what you don’t know. Effective premarital counseling programs are designed to not only help you learn more about your partner, and your compatibility, but also learn more about yourself. In order to be in a healthy marriage, you need to figure out who you are, what you want, and how to get it. Don’t go into a marriage without all of the tools and information available; it’s too important.