If you’re riding high on the romance of your recent engagement and planning of your big day, the last thing you want to think about is relationship issues and working to avoid divorce through relationship counseling. You, as so many others, may think that relationship counseling before marriage is a waste of time and something that would benefit those “other couples” that fight and don’t get along as well as you and your fiancé do. This isn’t the case at all and in fact; relationship counseling before marriage is becoming quite common.
There are several benefits of relationship counseling before marriage, whether you’re marrying for the first time or the fifth, including:
- Skills for communicating more effectively
- Tools to strengthen your relationships
- Help in coping with and moving on from issues in your/his past
- Working through your goals for the future
Many people are under the misconception that relationship counseling is limited to those dealing with a major conflict. Counseling before marriage can help you avoid ever having a conflict that you can’t resolve by teaching you the skills to work through things. It can ensure that you enter marriage prepared with the know-how to express your feelings and listen to each other, which will make every aspect of your marriage better.
Once the wedding dress has been packed away and the honeymoon is over, you’ll have to deal with all of the practical parts of a marriage, like finances, housework, work schedules , and all of those other tedious things that can often come between a couple. Making decisions about your future, such as where to live or how to bring up your kids can also overwhelm a newly-married couple and put a strain on a relationship. These are things that relationship counseling can help you prepare for.
What to expect from relationship counseling before marriage
Unless you have had some type of counseling in the past, you’re probably not sure of what to expect or have a picture in your head of what happens at couples counseling based on something you’ve seen on TV. You won’t be lying on a couch venting about your childhood or any other popular cliché. You will likely spend your first session speaking to the therapist learning about the process. The therapist will take some time to get better acquainted with you as a couple and individually. You will be asked about things like:
- Why you’ve decided to seek counseling
- Any specific concerns in your relationship, if any
- Any concerns or fears about marriage or your future
- In order to get the most out of your sessions, you should be willing to speak openly and honestly so the therapist can learn what your relationship’s strengths are and what holds you together, what things you argue about, stresses that may impact your relationship, how you communicate, what might be missing from your relationship, etc.
Couples of all ages and backgrounds can benefit from counseling before marriage. Many of the skills learned in relationship counselling can be applied to other relationships in your life as well, which in turn can take outside stress off the marriage.