Should We Get Premarital Counseling??
So, you’ve met the love of your life, you’re finishing one another’s sentences, you’re in constant communication throughout the day, and you can’t imagine your life without each other. What’s next? Marriage, of course! Depending on who you choose as an officiant, a few premarital counseling sessions may be required, but is that enough? The answer is, probably not. Premarital counseling is the precursor to a healthy marriage and helps to discover areas of potential friction that may occur in the future. If you’re wondering what types of topics are covered in premarital counseling, keep reading!
Understanding what your mate will expect as part of your marriage sets the tone for your union. It’s important to address areas such as, household duties, dedicated quality time with one another, and how conflict will be resolved. During the dating phase these topics either aren’t addressed or are swept under the rug, if there isn’t alignment. Unfortunately, when you are married things left unaddressed are magnified.
Many people underestimate the importance of sex in a marriage. Sex can become an extreme source of conflict if there aren’t healthy discussions about what is acceptable and expected. Topics that should be discussed in this space are around frequency, current level of satisfaction, and whether or not pornography is acceptable. During the dating phase, sex is generally fun and frequent. When you settle into your marriage, the cadence and satisfaction may change, so you want to get ahead of that by having discussions early on.
Spirituality and/or religion is a topic often left unattended during the dating phase. However, it is imperative to understand your partners stance on spirituality and/or religion. This is important because it guides how your marriage will operate, especially when conflict arises. Couples should establish the spiritual orientation for their marriage and if they are unsure, that is a journey they should tackle together.
Household finances are another major source of conflict in marriage. Understanding the background of each mate, concerning how they think about money, will provide clarity on how they will think about money in the marriage. Defining financial responsibilities, how bank accounts will be managed, and future goals will alleviate undue pressure in the union.
Marriage is not something to be entered into lightly. Divorce rates are high and that is in part due to things not being addressed during the courtship. Premarital counseling provides couples with an opportunity to address topics that either can’t be resolved within the unit or that one person is hesitant to address. Counselors that provide premarital services will dig into the areas that are uncomfortable in order to bring cohesiveness to the union. Relationships are all fun and games, until they’re not and premarital counseling equips you with tools to keep your relationship healthy and thriving after the wedding. Couples are often focused on the wedding day, which is a very small portion of their life together. It is important to put as much, if not more effort into making sure your marriage can last!
Candice N. Crowley, LPC