Premarital counseling is a specialized form of therapy that has been proven beneficial for couples making long-term commitments to each other such as marriage. The main goal of premarital counseling is to recognize and address potential areas of conflict in the relationship and learn the tools necessary to cope with them in the future. While many couples are reluctant to come in for premarital counseling out of fear or anxiety, it has been shown to be very beneficial for many relationships. For example, a study published in the Journal of Family Psychology found that couples who participated in some sort of premarital counseling program were 31% less likely to get divorced. Thus, while it may not always seem necessary, it can still strengthen your relationship!
The Benefits of Premarital Counseling
While those in couples counseling address current relationship conflicts, those in premarital counseling are guided through the difficult topics before they arise. Some of these difficult topics include finances, household expectations, career goals, affection/sex, religion, child-rearing methods, and values. Discussing these topics in premarital counseling gives the couple the opportunity to communicate and use the proper strategies for addressing and resolving conflict. Throughout the therapeutic process, the couple will better understand each other’s expectations about marriage and have addressed any concerns or disagreements in an empathic, safe, and neutral environment. Below is a list of some of the main benefits of premarital counseling.
- Learn about each other
- Get the hard conversations out of the way
- Set realistic expectations
- Identify potential areas for growth
- Learn conflict resolution strategies
- Improve communication
- Strengthen the relationship
What to Expect in Therapy
The structure of the sessions differs depending on the therapist. While some therapists see the couple as a unit every session, other therapists do a few individual sessions first. Individual sessions with the therapist allow each partner the opportunity to express their concerns, strengths, and weaknesses of the relationship in private. In joint sessions, the couple can work on their weaknesses and communicate each other’s ideals, values, and goals. Below are a few common strategies and goals a premarital counselor may use throughout the sessions.
- Individual sessions
- Worksheets on goals, values, and expectations
- Learn effective conflict resolution strategies
- Learn communication tactics
- Discuss the difficult topics
- Create a plan of action for future conflicts
While seeking out therapy can be intimidating, it can be extremely beneficial for your relationship. To learn more about premarital counseling, contact Symmetry Counseling today!