Pre-marital counseling is a little talked about undertaking that, in some cases, makes the difference between a healthy and a troubled marriage. For the most part, people associate it with religion; they have an image of meeting a clergy, pastor or priest for a session or two to discuss the spiritual aspect of marriage. However, meeting with a licensed therapist to assist in the preparation of marriage may be what you need to equip you with the know-how of tackling issues within the union.
Modern day culture has taught people to glorify their wedding. Minimal emphasis gets placed on what takes places after the honeymoon is over and the realities of life kick in. A therapist is best set to point out the issues you can prevent and how to deal with them as they arise. Some people assume that they could always be able to work things through or get another couple to help. Having an expert in human psychology who can share objective advice trumps the latter. That is not to say that those around you couldn’t offer similar assistance, but it often changes the dynamics of a relationship.
Here are some areas a therapist would typically help you in before saying your ‘I do’s.
The therapist will help you and your partner to identify the areas you’re compatible and those that require extra attention. In extreme cases, they can reveal whether or not you’re fit enough to marry someone in the first place. This revelation could save you and the other person lost years of an unhealthy marriage that may end up in a divorce.
Some of the areas that are likely to be addressed are matters to do with money, children, life goals and such. Do you both want children? How many? If you’re from different religions, how would you like to raise them? How do you both spend your money? Does one enjoy Kanida Chey type of meals regularly or do you both prefer to save? What are your long-term goals? Do you want to travel or plant your roots? A therapist can walk you through these and other tough questions before committing to spending the rest of your life with another person.
Communication is one of the cornerstones of a lasting marriage. During pre-marital counseling sessions, you learn how to communicate efficiently whether during conflict or expressing concerns and everything in between. The sharing of feelings, and doing it healthily, is another aspect not taught by marriage counselors. Knowing the right way to go about it saves the relationship from a potential breakdown.
The Five Love Languages is another useful tool a therapist would potentially have you discuss. We all receive love differently; an aspect that most of us aren’t conscious of. Is your love language Acts of Service yet your partner prefers Gifts? Not understanding what your partner needs when it comes to expressing your love for them is problematic- for more than many couples realize.
This aspect is a sad reality in many marriages. It breeds resentment and feelings of resentment from one party given that they’ve been shortchanged. While it’s not always intentional; financial problems, illness or other constraints might cause a person to be unable to fulfill their obligation, a therapist will show you how to navigate such difficulty should they arise.
Talking to your spouse about your sexual needs, and anything relating to physical and emotional needs, before the marriage starts, gives each person a clear understanding of their role in fulfilling them. Knowing each other’s expectations helps both parties recognize similarities and differences in values.
Awareness of self and partner
Often we aren’t aware that we do certain things or why we do them. Talking with a professional reveals to you aspects about you and your spouse that you’d otherwise have missed. A greater understanding of yourself and partner makes it easier to extend grace to the other person and employing loving ways of pointing out concerns.
Pre-marital counseling is a stressful affair, but it lays the foundations for a fruitful marriage. Couples ought to attend these meetings six to twelve months before their wedding, preferably before setting the date. It’s different for every couple; some push forward and set a wedding date soon after, some take a break to look at the relationship from the lens of new information gathered, while others may decide they aren’t meant to be together.
Whether or not you’ve lived together or even have children, a ‘crash course’ in marriage and what to expect and how to thrive. Don’t wait to get counseling when you’re married and the other option on the table is divorce. Fear is a factor that most people fear getting help; they assume talking about their problems with a therapist could lead to the dissolution of the relationship. If anything, it creates an excellent context to release, move past the emotions and return to a happy state.
Tip: the best time to attend marriage counseling is during your single years. It helps shape your thoughts with regards to commitment when you do finally consider entering a relationship that’ll lead to marriage.