- Are you in a relationship that is “serious” and you are possibly considering marriage?
- Are you feeling a bit scared or apprehensive with being in such a serious relationship?
- Do you have certain concerns, worries, or conflicts in your relationship that you want to deal with before ever considering the “I do’s”?
- Are you having doubts or second-guessing as to whether you want to marry or not?
- Are you unsure about whether you want children or how you might parent as a step-parent (if applicable)?
- Do either of you have concerns related to each other’s’ previous relationships (either by dating, or previous marriage/s)?
- What are your parenting styles and how do they work in harmony (or not) with each other?
- Do you have concerns about potential in-law issues that exist now or may become a problem later in your married life?
- Is it difficult for either of you to set boundaries with any of these in-laws or your own family?
- Do you have stress, worries or uncertainty due to faith-based issues?
- Are either of you having concerns about how your past relationships impact or affect your current relationship?
- Are you anxious or worried that you will “not make it” if you get married?
As counselors, we have seen many times the difficulty, stress, tension and yet excitement about a couple looking into getting married. The questions, the concerns, doubts, fears, stress, and worries are very common among those looking to get married. There are many times a couple can see the problems that already exist or ones that may come later long before they start seeing solutions. It’s in this relational pain, anxiety, stress, and uncertainty that leads people to seek counseling in order to sort these things out. They love each other and want what’s best for the other one but they realize they are having some problems that they need to work through.
We here at Pathways Counseling Services are passionate about what we do in bringing a non-judgmental, empathetic, caring attitude and talent to work for you during this time in your life. We look to develop trust and rapport as we help you work through your current concerns and possibly shedding light onto other things not initially seen, identified or understood. We exist to be of service to those who are in relational distress, those who need and want counseling help or are wanting a better relationship. If you are stuck, not sure or want to get better insight or understanding in your relationship, we can help. We want you to feel and understand you are not alone and that there is hope in having a steady, long-lasting and improved relationship with each other. Together with many of our couples we have helped them work through their differences, mistrust, past pain, and struggles in communicating with each other for a better and happier life.
So the question may have come up about someday getting married. The two of you have spent so much time, money, and energy together that you really want to know if he/she is “the one” for you. So, let’s take a look at what premarital counseling is, how it may be of help for you in your relationship, as well as questions you may have about it.
What premarital counseling is
This is the counseling before you get to the “altar” and at times before any proposal is made. This is to help each of you see if this relationship is meant to be or not. Also, premarital counseling is a way to sit down with a counselor and address your relationship difficulties or concerns. This does not mean you are necessarily ready for marriage per se but are wanting to get a relationship check-up or need to explore things at a little deeper level.
However, when you are at that point of getting ready for marriage, and the proposal has been made, then you have accepted that you want to continue to be together in the future and are looking to prepare for marriage. You may be at a place where you are preparing for the “perfect” or ideal wedding with all those dreams, but have you reflected on what it takes to build a solid foundation for your life together? It can be difficult balancing your values, beliefs, goals, and expectations in this relationship. This is also a very good time to sort these things out ahead of time in a non-judgmental, caring, objective environment to reduce pointing fingers, blaming each other, embrace your differences in how you approach various situations or other people (including each other’s family and friends).
In our experience, those who participate in premarital counseling gain a much greater understanding of each other (than those who have not) which helps them to better prepare for marriage. With the help of one of our counselors, you and your partner will be able to explore your strengths, challenges, trust, and communication skills of your relationship, better preparing you to enter further into a fulfilling and long-lasting life together.
Help for your relationship now and in the future ahead
Significant goals of premarital counseling are to embrace your love story, confirm what you have in common, determine how you help complete each other, recognize your differences, spot and discuss any potential roadblocks or areas of struggle in your relationship before they become serious concerns, and learning to develop solutions together. In this process of working on these goals, it creates a pathway for you as a couple to communicate and at times grapple effectively in resolving differences, negotiating opposing opinions, and averting potential “battles”. Couples who are at that point of getting more serious about their relationships, will more likely face challenges, tough turns, and obstacles in their relationships and this is where premarital counseling helps you as a couple face these things with an objective, non-judgmental, professional, and competent counselor helping you to navigate many unknowns in relationship building. We look together on a plan of action, a “map” as it were tailored to fit and meet your counseling goals while introducing (and at times instructing) you both to what it means to be “us” and “we” in your relationship. This invites you and your partner to learn more about each other, your relationship, and each of you as individuals and how you complement one another. Further, we’ll need to address any areas of meaning in your relationship including Christian, faith-based or other religious or spiritual values, any blended family issues, cultural, or any other unique circumstances you may be facing.
Questions you may have about premarital counseling
So, how does premarital counseling work?
When it becomes clear that you are more ready to get married, premarital counseling adds to your experience an educational component assessing your strengths and growth areas and incorporating important relationships skills such as problem-solving, effectively communicating about various topics or situations in your relationship, the importance of bonding, trust, love, respect, and commitment with each other. Also, in premarital counseling, you will learn more about one another, explore and sort out expectations, wants and needs you have of each other. You will engage in “homework” like exercises that will put into action what you are learning in the counseling sessions. When you finish premarital counseling, it is our hope and desire that you are much better prepared and equipped to enter into a marriage that will last a lifetime and you will leave with a clear vision about your relationship and will be able to enjoy the final weeks or months ahead before you both say, “I Do”.
We already know each other really well. How is premarital counseling going to help us?
Well, it is not just for those who are experiencing conflicts, mistrust or even uncertainty about their relationship. It can also be supportive and assuring for couples who feel they know “everything” there is to know about one another. Premarital counseling also confirms the closeness, love and compassion you have for each other. Couples benefit from being intentional in getting ready for a lifetime of love and daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly decisions together. When you go through the engaging exercises, you will underscore your strengths and gain reassurance of the things that are going well in your relationship. Further, premarital counseling offers tips and tools you can use now and in the future when problems do occur (and they will happen). As time progresses in a relationship, obstacles are faced that challenge the strength of the bond such as having children, intimacy, daily routines, job changes, in-law relationships, where to live, financial changes, and the list goes on. Couples who have tools to utilize during those difficult times are much better equipped to handle and overcome some of the most difficult situations.
We think this would be helpful, but isn’t counseling expensive?
Everything in life has a price. Ignoring a broken arm or the check engine light in the car, not planning for winter, hearing thunder and seeing lightning and not preparing for rain also have prices. By engaging in premarital counseling, you are making an investment in your relationship that looks to address needs of healing or hidden hurts, help to better prepare you for the ever-changing times, and courage to weather the storms of life. You will gain new insight and tools that you can use throughout your married life together. As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
Our faith is important to us, will this be part of our counseling?
We have counselors available to address Christian, faith-based preferences as well as respect for your particular situation. Your desire for a particular faith-based approach can be discussed before you start counseling so the counselor can also be prepared to help.
Be confident: prepare to have a strong, healthy and happy marriage with one another!
Statistics show that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. That means the other half are staying together. Remember: you have choices to be the together kind of couple. Working with an experienced counselor and using strength-based therapeutic tools, is a great way to get your marriage off to the best start possible!
We are here for you. Please give us a call at 520-292-9750 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment with a couple’s counselor.