What is Pre-Marriage Counseling? What You Need to know About Premarital Counseling

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It’s official: You’re newly engaged and preparing for the big day. But what’s this about pre-marriage counseling everyone is talking about? You might have even heard it’s an essential step to getting married. 

What is premarital counseling, and what do you talk about in these sessions? Do you need to go to couples therapy before getting married? 

We’re here to answer your questions. In this article, you’ll learn what pre-marriage counseling is and what you’ll talk about during a session, plus some of its unique advantages for new and established couples. 

What Is Pre-Marriage Counseling?

Premarital counseling is a type of couples therapy that occurs before marriage. Usually, couples visit with a counselor five to 10 times once per week before the big day. However, it’s up to you how long you’d like to partake in premarital counseling sessions! 

The primary goal of pre-marriage counseling is to prepare couples for marriage, including addressing the challenges they might face. 

Other key goals of pre-marriage counseling include helping you and your partner:

  • Develop a deeper understanding of one another.
  • Learn healthy ways of communicating and resolving conflicts.
  • Create a plan for your future as a married couple.
  • Address any worries, fears or questions about marriage.

What Topics Will You Discuss in Premarital Counseling?

You might have already imagined what your marriage will look like. But rather than assuming what your partner thinks, feels or desires, it’s best to get it all out on the table. 

The earlier you can discuss marriage-critical topics, the better! Why? Addressing your stance on essential issues helps you prepare for, address and resolve potential differences or disagreements.

Common pre-marriage counseling topics include: 

  • Religious beliefs
  • Values
  • Money
  • Expectations
  • Family relationships
  • Children
  • Sex and intimacy
  • Careers

However, like with any type of counseling, you and your partner are free to talk about whatever you want — or don’t want — with your marriage counselor! Just remember that asking as many questions and addressing as many topics as possible before getting married is best. You’ll want to know where your partner stands on the big issues. 

For example, you don’t want to find out your partner isn’t willing to move to the East Coast when you get that job you’ve always wanted. Preparing for marital challenges like these in pre-marriage counseling will give you and your future spouse the tools and skills necessary to navigate life’s unexpected problems or opportunities. 

What Can I Expect From a Premarital Counseling Session?

Though your experience will depend on your counselor or therapist, you might anticipate the following: 

  • An initial assessment: Your therapist might have you fill out a questionnaire to get to know you as individuals and learn more about your expectations for marriage.
  • A “get to know you” session: The initial visit will likely be a “get to know you” session, where your counselor will take the time to get familiar with you as individuals and as a couple.
  • Discussion of important issues: After the first two steps, you’ll discuss the essential issues outlined above so you and your partner can get to know one another better and develop new communication and conflict resolution skills. 

The Benefits of Couples Counseling Before Marriage

For couples interested in deepening and strengthening their bond, pre-marriage counseling is an excellent way to prepare for marriage. Couples who share similar values — or are committed to compromise and conflict resolution — and know how to communicate constructively will better grapple with challenges. 

Some specific benefits of premarital counseling include:

  • Better communication, conflict resolution and decision-making skills.
  • A deeper understanding of your partner’s thoughts, feelings and desires.
  • Intimate knowledge of your and your partner’s marriage expectations.

Choose Couples Counseling to Improve Your Partnership

Is premarital counseling the next step for you and your fiancé? Whether your relationship is brand new or you’ve been in a committed partnership for years, there’s always something new to learn about the person you love in couples therapy. 

Overall, premarital counseling is an excellent way to deepen your relationship, develop healthy communication habits and establish a firm foundation to build upon as your relationship grows. 

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