Sarah M. Farrell
Part 1 of a 2-Part Premarital Counseling – Considering Your Options Series
Things are going great. You’re happy. You’re in love. You feel the butterflies, sparks are flying, and you are ready to make a huge commitment – one of the biggest of your life! You’ve decided where you want to live, know that you want kids, and have seen enough marriages to know how to get this right.
What’s the Point of Premarital Counseling?
So why would you consider premarital counseling? Isn’t marriage counseling for people who have problems?
I get it. Counseling can seem like an odd idea when there isn’t a current, ongoing problem. Throw in the fact that many couples have to spend money on premarital counseling, and the idea is thrown completely into the dusty closets at the back of your mind. So, what is the point? Why is it worth your hard-earned cash that you could put towards locally-sourced seafood instead of chicken? Or a Vera Wang gown vs. a department store option? I would argue that the most important aspect of your wedding is the marriage that follows it. And this marriage requires investment, arguably much, much more than a wedding.
Investing in Your Marriage
Premarital counseling can be a crucial investment in the long-term health of your marriage – and ultimately of your family. Some studies indicate significant decreases in divorce among couples who receive counseling (WebMD Health News, 2003). This counseling can come from a counselor, your pastor or clergyman, or possibly even a family friend, although all these options have their pros and cons.
Who Can Help You Prepare for Marriage?
Many people argue that they have a lot of support and don’t need an outsider’s opinion and this may very well be true. Some couples are blessed with the mentorship and guidance of couples who have made their marriage work and understand how to counsel and aid others in this undertaking. These helpful individuals or couples may include family friends, parents of either couple (or both), pastors, or other church leaders. This may be a great plan for you and your future spouse as there are some pros to working with someone who is familiar with one or both of you.
A familiar figure may better understand your background, where each of you come from, and your families. They may already have an in-depth understanding of how you came to be as a couple and of the sort of atmosphere in which your relationship has bloomed. However, if this outside individual only knows one of you this can somewhat complicate matters. Seeing a Christian counselor can offer a different set of insights, including knowledge of attachment patterns and of different formats of family therapy. Whatever you choose, premarital counseling can be an important step in creating a foundation upon which you can build your family.
Christian Counseling to Prepare for Marriage
As a Christian counselor, I have been privileged to accompany many couples as they prepare for marriage. In my next article, I will further cover the importance of premarital counseling, with a more specific focus on premarital counseling with a counselor. If you are planning your wedding and have not yet made arrangements for premarital counseling, I would advise you to give this serious consideration.
“Before the Wedding,” courtesy of Scott Webb, unsplash.com, Public Domain License CC0; “Wedding Ready,” courtesy of Scott Webb, unsplash.com, Public Domain License CC0