As a therapist, I am well aware of the stigma that comes along with seeking counseling or therapy. I think one reservation about premarital counseling is the fear that if you have to seek counseling before marriage, maybe your relationship is already in trouble. If you’re in love and getting married, shouldn’t it just work out? Shouldn’t you already know each other? I want to debunk some of those beliefs and talk about the positive affects of counseling.
Opinions about Premarital Counseling
I was curious to know the general public’s outlook on premarital counseling, so I conducted an informal survey on Facebook. I received the following answers regarding premarital counseling (identities of people responding are left off to protect identity):
“We didn’t and I really wish we would have! I wish it was more common and just expected.”
“We didn’t do any counseling before getting married. I think it would have helped our first few years of marriage. They were hard learning years.”
“We did not. However, I think it would have been beneficial to have more insight before we were married rather than having to figure it out over the first few years of marriage.”
“We were required to do so because we were getting married in Catholic Church. But I do strongly believe that its part of the commitment you are making to each other, and it definitely helps.”
“We did a premarital class at our church before we got married. I highly recommend it for anyone thinking of getting married.”
“We did it through our church and I really liked it. Just makes you discuss things you may not have previously thought to discuss. It made me more convinced that we were on the same page about some bigger topics.”
The reason I bring these quotes up is to show two things: 1. People who are married and didn’t do it wish they would have, and 2. People who did do it found it helpful.
Benefits of Seeking a Premarital Therapist
Premarital Counseling can:
Help you and your partner discuss each other’s expectations for marriage. As people, we tend to assume what we expect is what our partners expect. It’s not always the case.
Give you the opportunity to discuss family of origin beliefs about marriage and how they have affected you and your partner’s beliefs about marriage.
Provide you the opportunity to discuss what you find most important about marriage, whether it be passion, intimacy or commitment.
Allow you to discuss the possible future pitfalls that many marriages face down the line- hot button issues, such as sex, money, spirituality.
Help with communication.
Provide an avenue for self-discovery and deeper understanding of yourself and your partner.
Help you discover ways to work through conflict in healthy, productive ways.
Give you a safe place to discuss hard to tackle topics with an experienced counselor. There will most likely be topics and discussions that you never thought to have with your partner.
These are just a few of the benefits of premarital counseling.
How Can We Help?
Here at AWCC, we have therapists who are certified Prepare/Enrich premarital counseling facilitators – including myself! With facilitators serving thousands of communities and churches across the country, Prepare/Enrich is the gold standard in Premarital and Marriage Assessments. It is recognized by the state of Texas and accepted by most churches. The assessment can be faith-based or secular due to its customizable nature.
If you’re still on the fence about it, take a look at these numbers: Studies show that couples who attend counseling sessions are 30% less likely to entertain the notion of divorce than those who do not. Counseling will also help ensure an 80% success rate, which can give you an advantage over those who decide to go into marriage without help. With these statistics, I definitely encourage you to seek counseling before deciding to take that big step. Call us at 832-421-8741 for more information, and shatter the stigma of premarital counseling!