You’ve found your person, and you’ve decided to make the commitment to build your lives together. Entering into a lifelong partnership is a hugely significant life even, one that you have have been waiting for your whole life. Have you consider how couples therapy before marriage can support you in this chapter?
The anticipation of the actual wedding and your life together is cause for celebration. While it can feel exciting and fun to get swept away in to the romantic bliss of it all, it is also so important to recognize how crucial it is to be ready for this step and this level of commitment and know your options for before marriage preparation.
Couples therapy before marriage, also known as premarital counseling, is a valuable resource that can guide you creating the strong foundation that will support you both as partners through your married life. This post will focus on demystifying what to expect in premarital counseling, helping you decide if it’s right for you, and guiding you to find the right therapist.
What is premarital counseling or couples therapy before marriage?
Maybe you have been with your partner for a while, even having lived with them for a period of time before tying the knot. You know what to expect moving into a marriage.
But perhaps in the years you’ve spent together, there have been some conflicts and pain you caused one another that you’ve moved on from, but haven’t fully understood or resolved. Couples therapy before marriage can help you understand and heal from the past so that you move into your marriage with a clean slate, so to speak, with deep understanding and connection to each other.
Premarital counseling and before marriage preparation does not assume there is anything wrong with the relationship, however. Rather than an evaluation of things wrong in the relationship, you can think of the process as preventative and proactive to improve the ways you talk about certain topics and get clear on the goals you share for your life.
While you may think you are fully prepared for anything that comes your way, we don’t know what we don’t know. The process of moving through couples therapy before marriage can even bond you further, making your connection by the time you reach your wedding day even more meaningful.
Here are some of the topics you can expect to cover in counseling before marriage:
The way that you speak to your life partner every day becomes the foundation of your relationship. Effective communication allows partners to express what they need, how they feel, and areas of concern openly with one another.
Not all of us had effective communication modeled for us in our families growing up. Couples therapy before marriage will help you to understand the ways your currently interact with one another and develop practical skills to listen, respond, and manage disagreements in a constructive way.
Dealing with conflict is a huge part of being married, because conflict between two people sharing so much of themselves with each other is inevitable.
How do you deal with conflict now? Do you address it head on? Do you try to ignore it or distract yourself until it goes away? How did you see your parents or caregivers handle conflict growing up? Was it effective?
A premarital counselor that specializes in working with couples and unpacking their patterns (e.g. the pursuer distancer dance) will guide you to explore your tendencies. What you uncover will fascinate you and bond you like never before.
Exploring your shared vision and goals
Agreeing to share your life together, forever, is a huge deal! When you get to know someone well, a lot of topics can go assumed. You may figure you are on the same page about longer terms goals just because you are so connected right now.
But what happens when you grow and change, 10, 20, 30 years from now?
Couples therapy before marriage will help you to get clear on your individual and shared values. Counseling will also guide you to create strategies to take action toward those shared values.
The process will help you to understand how your values tie into your broader goals and vision for your life together.
Discussing difficult topics
Again, in intimate relationships, a lot of important topics and go unspoken because we assume our partner has the same stance as we do.
Talking about topics that may have been taboo in your family or other relationships is crucial as you lay the groundwork for your marriage.
A premarital counselor will guide you in how to address issues that commonly cause stress like shared finances and intimacy in an effective way.
On your wedding day, you will vow to honor your partner in certain ways for the rest of your time here on earth. It is an incredibly emotional, romantic, moving experience, and as you plan for the day, you may find your mind swept away in the details.
Partnership is more than romance. When you get married, you become partners in most everything you do- sharing chores, expanding family dynamics, supporting one another in your careers.
Premarital counseling will help you both set expectations on how you envision those more day-to-day aspects of marriage unfolding and make sure you are on the same page.
Is couples therapy before marriage right for you?
Most couples can benefit from couples therapy before marriage. It can help you heal unprocessed events and pain from the past before you take your vows, get you aligned on your goals, and set your expectations for your life together.
You don’t have much to lose by giving the process a try. At worst, if you meet with a therapist once and don’t click, you will still be able to carry forward some of the topics in conversations with your partner.
At best, couples therapy before marriage could be the most important money you spend in the broader scope of your wedding. It offers you a chance to get clear on your goals for the future, build skills to communicate effectively, and create a foundation for you both to stand on as you walk into your marriage.
Choosing to commit to premarital counseling is one way you can show your partner your commitment to being the best spouse you can be and get your marriage off to the best start, confident it will last the tests of time.
How to find a premarital counselor
You will want to look for a therapist qualified to provide services in your state who specifies that that work with clients on topics like significant life transitions and that they have experience working with couples. (If you are located in Florida, we offer Marriage Counseling in Naples, FL– virtual services- reach out to inquire about availability.)
Google searches for a couples therapist or marriage counselor in your area, or online directories like Psychology Today, are a great place to start in your journey in counseling before marriage.
Be sure to pin this post for later to share with your partner!