I am a marriage planner. Did you know that? It’s true. I am a big fan of premarital counseling! It really is fun to do prevention work. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an honor and privilege to be invited to help anyone’s relationship, but I also love the opportunity to get couples before they have years of hurt and damage piled up.
Allow me to tell you a little bit about it (in case you are looking to get married one day).
I do very detailed premarital work; I use an assessment called the PREPARE (www.prepare-enrich.com) to identify the strengths and weaknesses in each relationship. I tailor the session time to each couple instead of using the same material for every couple.
I heard of the idea of doing pre-marital type counseling before getting engaged while in graduate school. It seemed a little weird at first, but soon I quickly understood the value of really making sure your relationship was ready for marriage before families and friends are told, rings are bought, venues are booked, dresses are bought, bridesmaids are excited, cake is tested…(I think you get the point).
It’s a good idea…just in case. Just in case you discover that it might not be a good idea to get married. I never hope for this of course, but it can make this reality easier to accept if it’s realized sooner rather than later.
Here’s what pre-marital/pre-engagement counseling can offer your relationship:
- A non-biased look at the health of your relationship
The following is a list of the areas specifically looked at:
- conflict resolution
- spiritual beliefs
- family & friends
- financial management
- leisure activities
- marriage expectations
- parenting expectations
- partner style & habits
- relationship roles
- sexual expectations
- and more!
- No stone is left uncovered! If there are lower scores for any of these areas, we discuss them. I teach skills and educate on what to expect, what’s “normal,” and how to cope with differing personality types/expectations/habits, etc.
- I use my experience as a marriage therapist to give you specific insight into the things that make a marriage fail and what it takes to make a marriage thrive.
- Premarital counseling is usually fun and enjoyable. I consider 6 sessions to be sufficient (although we can do more or less, if needed). But 6 sessions are what you need to get a discount on your marriage license.
- You’ll have already found a marital therapist that you know and trust in case issues arise later.
Ladies/Gentlemen: If your partner is unwilling to consider premarital counseling and isn’t willing to make the investment into making sure your relationship stays good and strong, then you may be forced to put the effort in tenfold later. I believe this kind of unwillingness should constitute a “red flag.” If you don’t know what “red flag” means, ask a teenager. They’ll know.
Don’t make the mistake of putting more effort into the wedding than you do the marriage. The rate of divorce is so disturbingly high; it just makes good sense to do all you can to keep your relationship strong! (Ok, ok…you get the point! I’m stepping off my soapbox now).
If you’re interested in premarital/pre-engagement counseling with me, click here for my contact information. If you’d like assistance finding a therapist near you, I’m happy to help with that as well!