Many couples that plan to marry consider premarital counseling as a way to prepare for marriage and the challenges they will face together throughout the years. However, these couples often do not know what to expect from premarital counseling, making it seem like a bit of a mystery. What will the therapist ask us? How personal will it get? Will it be difficult? Will it be embarrassing? In the worst case scenario, what if we discover things about each other that are problematic? At times, these questions make couples so nervous, they avoid premarital counseling all together. Therefore, it is important for us, here at Proliance Center, to educate you on what you can expect from premarital counseling and to address some of the questions above.
Generally, premarital counseling follows a fairly typical format. It is the therapist’s goal to assist the couple in recognizing existing problems in the relationship, predicting potential areas of improvement, pointing out strengths, and equipping the couple with the right tools and skills to tackle the challenges they are most likely to face. Some of the most common areas addressed in premarital counseling include communication, conflict resolution, relationship expectations, money management, sexual expectations, children and parenting, spirituality, and expected marital roles. Based on each individual couple, other topics may be addressed as well, which is determined on a case by case basis.
Therapists use the areas above to help couples discuss topics that may have yet to be addressed or even considered before marriage. This gives couples a chance to work out some of the “kinks” before their marriage begins. It also gives them an opportunity to get to know each other better in order to start their marriage with the most educated understanding of their partner.
Though premarital counseling can seem intimidating for some couples, it is important to realize that it has the power to serve as a preventative tool to avoid pitfalls down the road. In the United States today, the lifelong probability of a marriage ending in divorce is between 40-50%. Though the divorce rate has declined slightly over the past few decades, there still are no guarantees that a marriage will last forever. premarital counseling provides couples with an “edge” in a sense, reducing the divorce rates of participants by approximately 30%. Why not take the time to invest in the future of the most important relationship in your life?