You're engaged to be married, or thinking about getting engaged, and you want to make sure you are set up for success. That is when pre-marital counseling comes in handy.
Planning a wedding and the thought of finally getting to live with the love of your life can be very exciting, but marriage means living together permanently. In a world where we spend years going to school for a career, we get little education and help in how to have healthy relationships. We learn most of it from our family of origin and from the media (movies and shows). This leaves us often with lack of important knowledge regarding how to behave or treat our partners, what to expect from our partners, and what is normal in a relationship. This is why couples are encouraged to seek premarital counseling before embarking on marriage to increase satisfaction in the course of their union.
Premarital counseling is a type of counseling where a therapist will work with a couple in order to go deeper and revisit all the impressions they may have formulated regarding marriage, before getting married. Premarital therapy helps the partners prepare and get on the right frame of mind to have a happy and sound relationship, leading to a more solid and contented union. With this counseling's help, the couples can pinpoint the flaws that may give rise to difficult obstacles during their marriage.
Benefits of Premarital counseling
Research indicates that people who assist premarital counseling are 33% less likely to get divorced. Several benefits are derived from seeking marital counseling. Some of these include:
1. Building communication skills
When couples go for counseling, they will have a dialogue with a qualified counselor, who will help them appreciate each other. At the end of the therapy, the couple will have built better communication skills, since they had a non-partisan counselor helping them understand each other. Good communication skills are the tools that help protect many aspects of a relationship, both emotional and intimate.
2. Helps to create mutual goals and resolutions in your marriage
It is hard to find two different individuals that share the exact same perspective on any particular subject. The same applies to marriage. A couple may have conflicting notions of what they believe a successful marriage should look like, but, if discussed properly, the couple can agree on the resolutions they both want.
3. It helps couples to plan for the future
Premarital counselors go the extra mile to help couples actively plan for the future. Counselors will help the couples in setting family planning and financial goals. They will also assist them with ways to achieve those goals. During premarital counseling, a couple gets the ideal platform to discuss the assumptions they may have regarding married life and their future expectations.
4. Coping with marriage anxiety
Most people, regardless of their love for their partners, still fear a long life commitment with someone, and this anxiety only heightens the closer they get to their wedding. For couples who are anxious, premarital counseling can help them a great deal because, during the sessions, the lovers are encouraged to confront the root of their uneasiness and strive to deal with them head-on.
Types of Premarital Counseling
There are different types of premarital counseling from which couples can seek help before tying the knot.
1. Online Premarital Counseling
The online option applies to where a couple wishes for a top-secret experience. The partners may not feel confident enough to go for face-to-face sessions with a counselor. There are online courses available online whereby couples can easily take to help them achieve their marriage objectives.
2. Religious Premarital Counseling
Before officiating weddings, some religious leaders require couples to undergo some counseling. In situations where the couple plans to wed in a pastoral setting, they need to find out from their church what is necessary for them before the big day.
3. One-On-One Professional Counseling
This is the most conventional type of premarital counseling whereby a professional counselor arranges for a one-on-one meeting with the couple to guide and advise them on matters concerning their marriage. A couple will go through assessment tests, which assist in equipping your personal growth with the ability to help your spouse throughout the marriage.
4. Group Courses and Discussions
This is where several couples meet to discuss their experiences and challenges of the marriage. Interacting with other teams gives you a chance to learn new ideas on how to confront your problems. The couples can learn better ways of dealing with their conflicts by listening to how other partners deal with their problems.
I personally like very much “The Gottman Method Approach.” This framework is an approach of therapy that incorporates an in-depth evaluation of the couple’s relationship and combines research-based interventions established on the Sound Relationship House Theory. The objectives of the Gottman Method are to:
- Disable conflicting verbal communication.
- Get rid of barriers that bring stagnancy.
- Improve intimacy, affection, and respect.
- Build a sense of understanding and empathy within the relationship.
A couple willing to go through the Gottman method of Couples Therapy usually starts with an assessment procedure that will advise on the interventions and therapeutic support needed.
Joint sessions are followed by each being scrutinized separately. Couples are given questionnaires, fill, return them, and obtain feedback regarding their relationship.
(b) Therapeutic Interventions
These are established to help a couple in strengthening their union through:
- Dispute management
- An establishment of shared meaning
- Turn Towards instead of Away.
Here, a couple is taught ways of replacing disagreements or quarrels with constructive dialogue and how to amend for the past wrongs they may have done to each other.
Premarital counseling is a great tool for couples who are preparing to take the big step to get married. Love alone is not enough to guarantee that a couple will have a satisfying long term relationship. Premarital counseling is a guide to start on the right foot, as the partners will obtain a better understanding of themselves, and of their goals and expectations of a relationship, while gaining important tools for success.
Your therapy friend,
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SOFIA M. ROBIROSA
Sofia Robirosa is the owner of Infinite Therapeutic Services and is a Relationships & Parenting Expert. She offers individual, couples, and family counseling to individuals seeking to enhance their relationships. Her private practice is located in Plantation, FL. She attended Nova Southeastern University for both her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy and in Business Administration. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Leader in Active Parenting for children and teens, an evidenced based program. She is also a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). She is a passionately committed therapist, who thoroughly takes pride and joy from her job. She enjoys working with a culturally diverse population and is bilingual in Spanish and English. She is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and an active volunteer of the Broward Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves her family, which consists of her husband, daughter, and two dogs. Some of her interests outside of work include spending time outdoors, traveling, and dining.