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What is Premarital Counseling?
Premarital counseling is a specialized type of therapy that helps couples form a strong foundation for marriage. Working with a premarital counselor can help you ensure that you and your partner have a resilient, healthy relationship—giving you the best chance for a successful marriage. Premarital counseling can also help you identify potential weaknesses in your relationship that can become problems during marriage.
Typically, your premarital counselor will ask questions to dig deep and explore expectations you’ve formed about marriage before tying the knot. Even if you’ve been together for a long time, premarital therapy can help you learn more about your future spouse—which can help you feel more comfortable walking down the aisle.
What can premarital counseling help with?
Premarital counseling helps soon-to-be-engaged and engaged couples improve their relationships to prepare for marriage. During your counseling sessions, your therapist will encourage you to explore a wide range of topics, including:
- Finances and healthy money management
- Communication skills and conflict resolution
- Roles in marriage
- Sex and intimacy
- Beliefs and values, such as your religious institution or gender roles
- Having (or not having) children
- Wedding day and marriage ceremony expectations
By identifying potential areas of conflict and exploring important issues related to marriage, premarital counseling aims to help couples set realistic expectations for marriage and develop valuable conflict-resolution skills. Every partner brings their own values, history, and beliefs into a relationship, and they might not always match your partner’s. By discussing your differences and expectations before marriage, you and your future spouse can better support each other in married life.
What should you expect during premarital counseling sessions?
Whether you’re seeking premarital counseling services through your clergy or starting professional therapy, counseling typically starts with a written questionnaire to determine how you and your spouse-to-be feel about each other and your relationship. Your questionnaire responses can also help identify the strengths, weaknesses, and potential areas of conflict in your relationship.
With the help of your counselor, you and your fiancé will interpret your results, explore areas of similarity and difference, discuss areas of disagreement, and set goals to overcome these challenges. During premarital counseling sessions, your counselor might also ask questions about your vision for married life to clarify your expectations for marriage.
Benefits of Premarital Counseling
Similar to couples therapy, premarital counseling offers a unique opportunity to talk to a professional counselor who has the training needed to help them build a healthy relationship. Because premarital counseling programs allow couples to explore difficult issues with the help of a neutral third party, couples build better communication skills and learn how to better understand one another.
Counseling also helps couples overcome conflicts that could lead to divorce later on. By working with a counselor, couples can settle financial disagreements or discuss their plans to have children. Addressing potential areas of conflict before your wedding day is the best way to set yourself up for a healthy, stable marriage.
Finding a Premarital Counselor
Preparing for your marriage involves much more than planning your marriage ceremony—it also requires taking the time to build a solid foundation for a healthy marriage. To take the first step, research licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) in your area or use an online therapy platform to find a licensed therapist that meets your specific needs. Your insurance company, religious leader, or employee assistance program (EAP) might also offer referrals to couples therapists.
Before signing up for a premarital counseling course or scheduling an appointment, consider whether the psychologist would be the right fit for you and your partner. Asking questions about their premarital education, experience with marriage counseling, and educational background can help you make the best choice for your relationship. Depending on your specific beliefs and values, you may also prefer to work with a therapist who shares your house of worship.
To find the right therapist, reach out to a mental health professional through WithTherapy. We’ll connect you to a psychologist or other mental health provider you feel comfortable with, regardless of your personal preferences and requirements. One of the licensed therapists on the WithTherapy platform will help you explore your beliefs and values related to marriage, provide insight into your relationship, and help you build a strong foundation for a long-term commitment.