Sarah M. Farrell
Part 2 of a 2-part series Premarital Counseling – Considering Your Options Series
In my previous article, I began to lay the groundwork for explaining the importance of premarital counseling. In this article, I delve more deeply and I look specifically at why you should move forward in considering this as a crucial investment in your marriage and your future.
Here are some of the reasons why premarital couples counseling is a good choice.
1. You May Have Overlooked Something
There are many you might not consider discussing, but marriage counselors are able to see the types of things that regularly trip up couples. These are things that most people would probably not consider when thinking of the causes of marital struggles and, ultimately, divorce.
2. Focus on Your Marriage, Not Just Your Wedding
During what will be some of the most exciting and precious moments of your life, much of your attention will be focused on planning the perfect starting point to your marriage—your wedding and vows. However, this attention to the wedding can take your attention away from the focus on your marriage, and on working towards the type of marriage you want. Receiving premarital counseling offers a space to focus on just that, even amidst the chaos of wedding planning.
3. Communication Styles in Your Marriage
People can have very different styles of communication, and each couple grows their own patterns of communication. How you each communicate, and how similar or different your communication styles are, can have considerable bearing on how you interact on a day-to-day basis. A counselor can help you to begin to understand the patterns you each have, and how they may impact your ongoing communication and your ability to discuss important matters.
4. Important Topics in Marriage Preparation
There are many topics that should be discussed prior to marriage. These can include money, religion, expectations of marital intimacy and sex, whether or not you would like children (and how many), etc. Many couples don’t discuss many important topics or don’t discuss them thoroughly. Premarital counselors can assist couples in deciding which topics to discuss, how to discuss them, and how to do so in a way that will be conducive to fairness and reasonable compromise.
5. What Family Structure Do You Expect in Your Marriage?
The family structures that the two individuals who are choosing to enter into the sacred bonds of marriage have experienced are likely to have varied greatly. For example, were the bride’s parents divorced and remarried? Was the groom’s father clearly the head of the household? What will both spouses’ expectations be of who will lead, or will decisions be made jointly? When people from two diverse backgrounds come together to make a new home and a new family, these types of questions may create conflict in your new marriage if they are not dealt with.
6. Dealing with and Surviving Conflict
You may have very different ideas of how to resolve conflict that are based on your own backgrounds. Many families can be very volatile, but are resolute about the fact that things need to be discussed—and now! Other families may be more of the “sweep it under the rug” mentality. Bringing up topics that are difficult for both of you may be a taxing process. A counselor can help you to begin to understand how to discuss topics, how to survive potential conflict, and how to recognize negative patterns in your discussions.
7. Attachment Patterns and Your Marriage
Every individual has an attachment style that develops from a young age. How you attach to other people, including your romantic partner, may be very closely linked to your early childhood attachments. Your premarital counselor can assess these styles and patterns, and aid you in understanding how these may impact your marriage and how you interact with one another.
8. Setting Boundaries in Marriage
Setting boundaries in marriage is extremely crucial. Understanding where you end and where your spouse begins is a necessary step in building a strong foundation. Knowing that we cannot control our partner is something most of us understand cognitively, but we don’t understand it deep down until many years into marriage. Knowing what you will and will not choose to accept can be another important part of setting boundaries, both individually and as a couple.
9. Marriage Counseling Can be Truly Useful—and Fun!
Some studies have shown that marital counseling can decrease divorce rates amongst couples who attend it, and can also result in stronger marriages (WebMD Health News, 2003). What’s more, it can be a fun avenue for getting to know more about each other. It is much more enjoyable to learn about one another before the tough situations arise that make this knowledge necessary.
Christian Counseling to Prepare for Marriage
If you have decided that you would like to seek marital counseling, please reach out to one of the many counselors with Seattle Christian Counseling who does premarital counseling. We understand that the transition into married life is one of the biggest changes of your life. As Christian counselors, we would be pleased to help you begin the journey with a strong foundation so that you are prepared for the challenges and blessings to come.
“Side by Side,” courtesy of Drew Coffman, unsplash.com, CC0 Public Domain License; “Side by Side on a Boardwalk,” courtesy of Josh Felise, unsplash.com CC0 Public Domain License