Marriage Preparation: Premarital Counseling

Psychologist and happy couple in the office

You’re finally engaged to your best friend and the love of your life. Congratulations!

It can definitely be an exciting time for you and your fiancé(e) because both of you are only one stage away from spending the rest of your lives together.

But with our culture’s obsession with weddings over marriage, it’s important to know that taking steps to prepare for the marriage takes priority over planning for the wedding day.

The best way to prep for the marriage during this wonderful season of engagement is to partake in pre-marital counseling with your future spouse.

It’s not mandatory but it’s highly recommended and for good reason! Before making a decision, take into consideration the following statements.

#1. It’s about learning how to resolve conflicts when they arise.

For couples who have a healthy and stable relationship with each other, pre-marital counseling is a great time to come up with ways to resolve conflict successfully in marriage.

Even if you and your fiancé(e) are aware of each other’s differences in conflict resolution and have learned how to solve problems together with them, premarital counseling will only make it better.

Since it’s not guaranteed that both you and your fiancé(e) has grown up to resolve conflict in identical ways, this is a very useful tool that will be needed in order for the marriage to be healthy.

#2. It’s optional but it’s not solely a religious practice.

Premarital counseling is usually linked with religion or spirituality, but that is not the case and it is open to all engaged couples, whether you’re religious or not.

Normally, marriage and family therapists are the most effective kind of professionals who offer premarital counseling and it is not drastically different from getting it done by a pastor or a religious leader.

Find a marriage and family therapist that you and your fiancé(e) agree on or if you’re religious, turn to your church’s pastor or priest, to go into premarital counseling.

#3. You will discuss each of your beliefs and how to properly handle any differences.

In my opinion, by the time you hit engagement, you and your fiancé(e) should have already talked about important aspects of marriage such as family, finances and gender roles amongst others. 

But in the case that you haven’t, premarital counseling is the perfect place to communicate and distinguish the differences in beliefs and values with each other, and learn how to resolve and handle them during the course of the marriage.

For those of you who have been having this discussion throughout your relationship, that’s great! But it doesn’t stop after the wedding and after vows are exchanged. Marriage is a lifelong conversation you have with each other so build on the strong communication that’s already there.

#4. Consider continuing counseling after marriage, even in the good times.

Yes, premarital counseling will be useful, depending on what and how you and your fiancé(e) make of it, but if all goes well, the two of you should consider continuing it after getting married.

“But what if we’re doing well and everything is stable? What’s the point of going to therapy?”

It’s fantastic that the marriage is going well, but counseling isn’t only for those on the brink of divorce. It’s also a way to be proactive in keeping the marriage healthy and stable.

Of course it’s not mandatory, but it’s one of those services and resources that is always good to take advantage of to make things better for the long-term.

#6. You can prep for the marriage and still enjoy being engaged.

Just because you’re prepping for the marriage doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and enjoy this season of engagement with your fiancé(e).

Enjoy dress shopping with your bridesmaids and loved ones! Have a fun and relaxing time with your fiancé(e) doing things that aren’t related to wedding planning.

Don’t hesitate to share pictures of your gorgeous engagement ring with friends and family on social media, or even to express your happiness of being engaged to the love of your life.

The engagement period should be exciting and be enjoyed! But remember that the wedding lasts for a day, while the marriage lasts for a lifetime, so be sure to keep things in perspective.

Featured Image: Bigstock

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