Would you run a marathon without training? Or play a concert without getting lessons? Of course not. Big, long-term decisions need intentionality and preparation. Yet when people get married, they often jump right in and wing it!
But it doesn’t have to be that way. For decades, couples have used premarital counseling as a way to invest in their relationship and prepare for the future. Some polls have even shown that 44% of couples do some form of premarital counseling before getting married. But what is it? And why should you do it? And is it only for religious couples? We’ll answer all of that and more below.
Premarital counseling is the process of working with a trusted counselor or program to set the foundation for a happy and healthy long-term marriage. In premarital counseling, you’ll learn practical tips, talk about important topics, and learn from others. Although it’s often associated with the Catholic Church, the principles behind premarital counseling are secular and well-researched.
Whether you are religious or secular, happy or struggling, worried or excited, these are the top 5 reasons every couple should do some form of premarital counseling.
Studies show that couples who complete some form of premarital counseling have 30% higher marital satisfaction and lower divorce rates when compared with couples who did no counseling. The research shows that even doing a tiny bit of ‘self-guided’ premarital counseling was enough to improve relationships.
It can help you uncover blind spots before they turn into problems. Maybe you’ve been together for years or just a few months. Either way, you’ll never stop learning about yourself and your partner. Premarital counseling is a great way to spend dedicated time uncovering any potential issues and addressing them before they turn into a problem.
We take classes in school on things like History, Algebra, and English, but there’s no class on how to have a good relationship. Just like anything else, there are proven skills and tools that help couples communicate, argue, and make decisions better. An experienced counselor or well-designed premarital counseling program can help you practice and improve these skills.
Some couples feel uncomfortable talking about sex. Others feel weird talking about money. But regardless of what it is, we all have topics we could do a better job of discussing with our partners. Premarital counseling can help you discuss and set expectations around important topics like Finances, Kids, Intimacy, Communication, Household Chores, Politics, In-Laws, and more.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to relationships. Many premarital counseling programs revolve around meeting and learning from older couples who have been together for a long time. They’ll share their challenges and what’s worked for them. Beyond older couples, some programs have you trade tips and tricks with peers who may have a valuable perspective.
So what comes next? The important thing is not how you do premarital counseling, but just that you get started. In general, most couples will take one of these approaches:
You can find a licensed couples therapist online that specializes in premarital counseling. This is typically the most expensive option, but will allow you to get hyper personalized guidance and support.
You can work with your religious organization. This is often free, but the facilitator often won’t be a licensed therapist and may have less training on relationships.
You can sign up for a self-guided or virtual program. This is often a great way to affordably and quickly access the skills and tips you’d typically hear from a counselor.
All of these options are great and effective ways to get premarital counseling - choose whichever fits your lifestyle and needs best.
And if you’re still on the fence, see below for 10 questions you can try out with your partner today. Answering these questions together is a great first step to preparing for a long and happy future.
Can sharing your money fears spice up your sex life? We say “absolutely.”READ MORE
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A newsletter designed to help you achieve relationship goals.
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