You might have started with your wedding plans months (even years) before the big date, but you might be wondering when to start premarital counseling. The simple answer is – the sooner the better. Although the majority of couples starts with their sessions a few weeks prior to the wedding, it is better if you got into this process earlier than that.
There are several reasons for this. Let’s begin with the simplest.
1. It’s the first step to improve the quality of your marriage
You don’t want the counseling to get in the way of your wedding organization, and the opposite is also true. Premarital counseling is a significant step that you are willing to take to improve your marriages’ chances of being the most fulfilling relationship of your life, and you do want to have a clear head for it.
2. It helps in changing unhealthy habits prior to the marriage
Whether it is a religious counseling or sessions with a certified therapist or counselor, you should set aside enough time for what might be the deciding factor in changing unhealthy habits prior to the marriage. You probably aren’t too keen on thinking about the things that might, somewhere along the line, ruin what you are so eager to build.
Yet, the sooner you locate the possible hindrances in the future, the sooner you’ll be able to implement and get used to the changes. For example, if you and your fiancée have trouble communicating your wishes in an assertive way, this won’t go away once you say your yeses.
3. Helps to remove any pressure that can impair the relationship
Even though we all love to believe that we are realists and that we don’t have unsubstantiated ideas about the reality, it seems that the majority of us still secretly believes that the wedding rings have some magical power to make it all good. They don’t.
If any, they might have the power to put additional pressure on everyone and impair the relationship. But even if no such thing happens, being defensive, aggressive, or passive-aggressive in your communication is a problem that won’t go away on its own. And it also takes some time to practice new ways of talking to each other assertively, which is why you shouldn’t leave your sessions for the last minute. Why not start off as a married couple with the right foot?
4. Helps you address all the small or serious snags with your partner
Premarital counseling sessions will involve some testing and some interviewing by the counselor, together and separately, to determine the state of your relationship and how suitable you are for each other. This step is not intended to scare you or to pick your flaws, it merely shows the counselor what to focus on.
Sometimes one session is enough, although more is always better, mostly somewhere between three and six sessions are the ideal number of sittings with the counselor. Which is also the reason why you might want to start with them as soon as possible, to be able to absorb everything and also address all the small or more serious snags you and your soon-to-be husband or wife are having.
What it is that you can expect from these sessions? Here are some main advantages of premarital counseling when done right:
You will talk about the foundational facts and norms in marriage
It may sound strange at this moment, but sometimes just discussing some important issues every married couple faces can both prepare you for and also pinpoint potential issues that need further discussing. These topics will include communication, resolving conflicts, issues regarding your families of origin, finances, sexual and emotional intimacy, etc.
By hearing your partner speak about these subjects, you will have a chance to compare your expectations and determine if there is a potential problem ahead and ask the counselor to assist resolving it.
You will be able to hear about some common issues from the mouth of a person who does this for a living and has developed extensive experience in resolving them so that you don’t have to find your own way through once the difficulties arise.
It will help you know your future life partner better
You might be surprised by the new facts you will come to learn about him/her, and you might love them or hate them – but you will be in the just right place to address any doubts.
It is the right place to resolve the existing resentments
Yes, ideally, when people get married, there are no unresolved issues that hover over their heads. But this is not a realistic picture. In reality, couples wed with many persistent problems, and premarital counseling is where these can be addressed so that you commence your future without the past lingering around.