It's on the date you chose. You have now acquired the wedding bands. The tuxedos have been reserved thanks to your efforts. You have reserved the theatre (and maybe even squabbled over where to put Aunt Gertrude on the seating chart). You two have invested a lot of time, money, and energy into planning your dream wedding, but how much time and effort are you putting into planning your dream marriage?
It's easy to let the seemingly endless list of things to do before getting married take your focus off of what really matters: laying a solid groundwork for the life you're about to start with the person you love the most. The day you get married will come and go. If you put in the effort, however, your union can last a lifetime. You and your future spouse can benefit greatly from engaging in premarital counselling as you both prepare for the challenges and joys of married life.
Scientific research confirms that premarital counselling is helpful for couples before they tie the knot. Having better communication and conflict resolution skills has been shown to improve the quality of your relationships and your satisfaction with them. Premarital counselling helps couples prepare for the realities of marriage and strengthens their commitment to one another. Couples who went through premarital counselling said they had an easier time adjusting to married life.
The purpose of premarital counseling is to help you and your partner have the conversations and develop the skills you need before entering a lifelong commitment to one another, and this is true regardless of the modality of the counsellor, marriage and family therapist, educator, or religious leader providing the service. Some of the many benefits of premarital counselling include the following:
Counseling for engaged couples is called premarital therapy. The guidance provided is an essential part of this groundwork. It's offered so people can improve their chances of having a stable, happy marriage by strengthening their relationships with one another.
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Table of Contents
Why Marital Counseling is Provided
Couples who participate in premarital counselling report significant improvements in their communication and ability to set reasonable expectations for one another prior to entering into a marriage. It's also a great way to learn to deal with disagreements peacefully.
Always keep in mind that when two people enter a relationship, they bring their own set of beliefs, values, and experiences, and these may or may not mesh well with those of their partner. Many people enter into marriage with the optimistic expectation that it will provide for all their needs, including those of an emotional, financial, social, and sexual nature.
It's beneficial for the couple to talk about their differences and expectations before getting married so that they can find ways to understand and support one another after the wedding. When it comes to marital dissolution, prevention is key, and early intervention is essential.
Improved communication and conflict management skills
One of the most common causes of couples seeking marriage counselling is communication problems. We can do more harm than good by relying on our tried-and-true methods of getting our points across in heated debates and calming down arguments. Some of the difficulties you and your spouse may face later in your marriage can be avoided if you seek premarital counselling to learn the tools you'll need to have more fruitful conversations and handle conflict more effectively.
Couples therapy entails communicating with one another under the guidance of an impartial third party (usually a trained counsellor or religious leader) who can help them gain a deeper understanding of one another. With a third party there to help them communicate, couples who go through this type of counselling are sure to improve their ability to understand and be understood by one another. This is undeniably one of the most significant gains from premarital therapy. Couples not only improve their ability to understand one another but also their ability to express and fulfil their own needs and desires. Having developed empathy and the ability to effectively communicate, they are better equipped to deal with adversity.
A better understanding of core values and differences
If you and your partner have different ideals for your future, such as you wanting the peace and quiet of the country and them wanting the excitement of the city, how do you decide which path to take? Differences can feel dangerous or insurmountable if you let them build up over time. But they need not be: If we can learn to embrace our differences with transparency and honesty, our relationships will flourish. You and your future spouse can learn to work together and compromise through premarital counselling.
A better understanding of communication styles and needs
She requires isolation when anxiety levels rise. It helps him to vent his emotions when he's feeling overwhelmed. He may become resentful and lonely if she gives him space when he's stressed out because she thinks that's what she needs. Married life can feel like having two families under one roof where everyone speaks a different language. Learn more about your future spouse's communication preferences and needs in areas like love giving and receiving, stress management, and conflict resolution during premarital counselling.
Experience working together as a team
The ability to function as a team is crucial to the success of any marriage. Seeking assistance as a couple at the outset of their lives together sets a powerful example for how future challenges will be dealt with. The two of you are working towards a common goal by participating in premarital counselling; this process can help you learn the tools and have the discussions necessary to create a solid base for the team you are building.
Being married involves more than just buying a house, putting money away for retirement, having 2.5 kids, and checking things off a list until you die. When a couple gets married, they commit to making each other better off than either of them would be on their own. Marrying someone means starting a new, unique family. Having a partner who loves you unconditionally despite having seen you at your worst is what marriage is all about. Premarital counselling can help couples clarify their goals for their marriage as they start their lives together.
It Provides an Opportunity to Address Issues
Couples who participate in premarital counselling have a fantastic chance to address potential divorce triggers before they become major problems in their relationships. Counseling can help couples work out issues like money and parenting plans, and it can also help them prepare for parenthood. The best way to lay a solid groundwork for your future together and prevent major fights after you tie the knot is to talk about any problems you have before you get married. Of course, honesty between the bride and groom is paramount during premarital counselling. This is the only way to gain the advantages of this long-standing custom.
It Helps Couples Plan the Future
It's not uncommon for premarital counsellors to offer additional services beyond helping couples work through their problems. They're also useful for future planning purposes. A therapist can assist a couple in establishing and working towards realistic and attainable financial and family planning goals. The premarital counselling session is a great place for a couple to discuss their hopes and dreams for their future together as well as their plans for the future individually. Marriage counsellors advise their clients to make positive changes to themselves and their relationships before getting married.
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It Lets Couples Absorb Wisdom
One of the many advantages of premarital counselling is the opportunity to talk to a couple who has been married for many years. The advice of a professional counsellor can be a guiding light in the sometimes murky waters of marital life. There's more to it than just a bookworm passing along their wisdom. It's a real-life lesson that someone wants to share with others. Trust, intimacy, and money problems are common in young couples, and many premarital counsellors have experienced them firsthand. Experienced guidance and crucial support are both within their reach.
It Allows Couples to Discover New Things About Themselves
While working with engaged couples, counsellors tend to ask a lot of questions. One of the best ways to get to know someone is to listen attentively as they answer your questions. The majority of married people believe that no one else can truly understand their partner. However, therapists can coax out details a reluctant partner might otherwise never reveal. Advantageous learning and development possibilities for both partners are provided by this. Partners can count on it as a safe haven in which to vent their fears and concerns. This can be especially helpful if one partner in the couple has experience with heartbreak in the past.
You will be better equipped for developing a healthy, happy relationship
As was mentioned up top, getting your licence requires first getting the necessary education and training. In fact, it's obligatory. If you're trying to decide between getting married and getting your driver's licence, you should know that the former is a much more significant and lifelong choice. It has much wider implications and effects on your life. If you want a happy, healthy marriage, premarital counselling is a must.
Counseling before getting married is not just for couples with "issues." When setting out on an uncharted journey, we could all benefit from a little bit of instruction and direction. I make it a point to address issues of communication, conflict resolution, finances, spirituality, family history, and shared interests and hobbies whenever I provide pre-engagement or pre-marital counselling, whether one-on-one or in a group setting. It's crucial that you and your significant other understand each other's perspectives on these issues. Additionally, the Speaker/Listener Technique is an essential skill that should be mastered for optimal performance. Many of us haven't given much thought to these issues, much less done so with marriage in mind. Perhaps we have not seen them modelled in a healthy way. Having a therapist's focused attention on how to do these things well is very helpful. The success of our "adventure" will be greatly aided by this!
You will get an objective evaluation of your preconceived ideas and expectations
In a second place, the adage "you don't know what you don't know" is absolutely accurate. You can't possibly know everything there is to know about marriage until you're actually married. You can't expect to be perfectly ready for marriage just because you and your partner share a deep connection and are deeply in love with each other. Unconscious expectations are carried into every marriage. Because that's how we were taught to do them as kids, and because it's how most people do them now, we're convinced that it's the best way.
The problem is that this line of thinking causes arguments with our partner because they also believe that their way is the best way to do things. For instance, if we've always celebrated Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa, we may consider it inconceivable to celebrate the holiday without them. However, it's possible that our significant other has their own set of expectations for the holiday, and that they're counting on spending it with only their immediate family because that's the "proper" way to celebrate Christmas and how they remember it from their own childhood.
As with any relationship, expectations arise in marriage, and it is not until they are not met that we realise we even have them. The expectations you have and the potential trouble spots in your marriage can be better understood with the help of training from people who can provide the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully navigate marriage. Premarital counselling is a great way to talk about these ideas and expectations with a neutral third party who can offer guidance on how to work together and create a system that works for your new family. They will get you talking and working through those issues so that they strengthen your relationship instead of causing tension and distance. You can't be 100% ready for marriage, but you can improve your odds.
You will receive reliable counsel based on research
That's the third benefit of premarital counselling to consider. The assistance available is more than just a hodgepodge of nice notions that someone hopes will come in handy. What works in marriage, and what doesn't, and what we should and shouldn't do, are all things that can now be informed by actual scientific research. Since this data was gathered through scientific enquiry, we can feel confident in its accuracy and credibility.
Divorce is a strong predictor of responding with criticism, contempt, defensiveness, or stonewalling (emotional shutting down and complete unavailability). The negative impact of such responses is so significant, according to Gottman's research, that it takes five positive interactions to cancel out the effects of a single negative interaction. All of us understand the value of good manners in social interactions, but scientific enquiry can shed light on the specifics.
You will enter into marriage with a framework for building a healthy relationship
A fourth benefit of premarital counselling is that you will have some sort of map to follow in your marriage rather than just guessing. You'll feel more secure, confident, and focused after attending premarital counselling. It will give you more hope, purpose, and guidance while also reducing some of the potential fear associated with the decision. It will give you a road map to a more fulfilling relationship, as well as the skills you need to resolve conflicts and have deep discussions.
For instance, Gottman offers solutions to common communication problems like criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. Bringing up issues should be done with more tact and kindness rather than criticism. It is much more productive to describe how we are feeling and thinking about the offence, rather than being disrespectful about the offence and how our partner failed us. We no longer have to rely on our intuition to figure out what we should do because we know explicitly what we should not do. We'll be prepared.
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You will be equipped to change your unhealthy tendencies
A lot of people are afraid to get married because of what their parents went through. Perhaps their parents got a divorce or maybe they're just getting by as roommates. In light of this possibility, many people avoid getting married or even getting engaged. They may also grit their teeth, resolve to work hard, and avoid that fate by any means necessary. A simple statement like, "I'm never going to do that again in my marriage," is not enough. Willpower on its own is insufficient. We need to reflect on our own marriages and identify the patterns that may have contributed to their demise. To alter the ingrained habits and paradigms we have observed, we must seek assistance from without. A professional premarital counsellor can be that objective third party.
It's understandable if the idea of premarital counselling wasn't high on your list of priorities when you were deciding whether or not to tie the knot. As the big day approaches, you may be wondering if and how premarital counselling can benefit your relationship with your future spouse. Think about how helpful it would be to have a third party's opinion on issues that plague many married couples, such as parenting, faith, extended family dynamics, and how to deal with stress in a nonreligious relationship.
Get your house in order before you walk down the aisle. Take the initiative to better prepare yourself for marriage. Seeking the help of a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specialises in marriage counselling can be beneficial. Realize that, similar to obtaining a driver's licence, obtaining a marriage licence calls for training and preparation on your part. You'll be glad you did; the rewards will last a lifetime.
All engaged couples can benefit from premarital counselling. Premarital counselling is a great way to help people and gain new clients if you're a marriage and family therapist. Sharing the knowledge you've gained as a married couple is another great benefit.
FAQs About Premarital Counselling
Premarital counselling is a type of therapy that helps couples take the next step in their relationship, resolve issues before they commit to marriage, or set relationship goals.
Most therapists agree that anywhere from 8 – 10 weeks up to 3 – 6 months is sufficient when it comes to premarital therapy. That said, it's important to remember that how long it takes to complete premarital counselling depends on the issues you want or need to cover throughout your sessions.
Studies reveal that premarital counselling is an effective tool to use as you begin your married life. Researchers have discovered that it is a helpful way to improve your communication and conflict management skills while increasing your overall relationship quality and satisfaction.
Overall, attending couples therapy before marriage is highly beneficial for couples. Couples therapy helps both people in the relationship to improve individually and as a couple.
Types of Premarital Counseling
- Gottman Method.
- Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
- Psychodynamic Couples Therapy.
- Assessing You and Your Partner.
- Sharing Life Events and Experiences.
- Discussing Important Issues.