Relationship Counseling

Premarital Counseling – All You Need to Know

Premarital counseling encompasses professional sessions with a licensed counselor where an unmarried couple is prepared, advised, and guided in matters about marriage. Contrary to many people’s beliefs, a couple doesn’t have to go for counseling sessions only during bumpy times in the relationship, but should rather attend them to gain insights on how to understand each other and resolve issues that might arise in the future.

In essence, counseling clears out the path for young couples before marriage by eliminating most uncertainties and anxieties many young people are faced with. Considering the advantages served by premarital counseling, a young couple should go for it before settling down.

Benefits of Premarital Counseling

While some people don’t see the essence of going for premarital counseling when everything seems to be perfect, counseling isn’t only essential when there’s a problem between partners. Still, it is a vital tool that equips them with strategies of how to solve and even shun avoidable problems. It gives them a better chance to have a satisfying marriage

Let’s have a look at some of the key benefits associated with premarital counseling:

  • Helps build mutual respect and trust between partners;
  • Equips you with strategies on how to resolve marital problems in the future;
  • Facilitates better communication in your relationship and ultimately marriage;
  • Helps set realistic expectations for marriage;
  • Helps partners embrace common objectives towards building a future together.

Opening up to each other during sessions comes in handy in building mutual respect and trust, and these are critical to the success of any marriage. The willingness to drop the guard regarding exposing your weaknesses will facilitate a better understanding of each other in the relationship, and this will build respect, which will sustain your marriage once you’ve settled down.

Also, it is with premarital counseling that young partners learn of common marriage problems, and they are taught how to handle such situations while upholding virtues such as trust, understanding, and willingness to communicate. You and your partner will receive insights on how to identify a problem before it matures into an issue that jeopardizes your marriage. Attending premarital counseling builds and eases communication between the partners. The sessions will help you build a culture of easily opening up to one another and being honest with each other without any feeling of fear or intimidation.

Marriage is a new phase of life that many unmarried people are anxious about as it is uncharted waters for them. The anxiety might bring about tension even after marriage, and this is an unhealthy phenomenon for any marriage. Going through premarital counseling helps in easing things out, lowering the marital anxiety in a way that you’ll be at ease with your partner and work towards building a future together.

Premarital Counseling Approaches

Depending on a couple’s availability, preference, and sometimes the recommendation of the counselor, premarital counseling may be conducted in face-to-face communication when all parties are present physically.

Also, there are other equally efficient approaches when counseling is conducted online by a licensed counselor.

Depending on the preference of the young couple, each approach serves several benefits in terms of convenience, affordability, and effectiveness. For example, traditional counseling sessions might be somewhat costly in comparison to group sessions and discussions. However, the former might be more convenient in terms of discretion than the latter.

How to Get the Best Out of Premarital Counseling

Well, the truth is, counseling isn’t the most comfortable experience more so when two people are involved. You will have to be willing to let go of your fears, insecurities, answer questions honestly, and admit your weaknesses, among other things. All these might make you and your partner feel uncomfortable, but remember that both of you have the responsibility of being honest with each other so that the sessions are beneficial.

Here are some of the factors to take into consideration when attending premarital counseling sessions:

  • Keep in mind; it won’t feel comfortable; it’ll be challenging
  • Be as honest as you can, don’t downplay your thoughts
  • It’s not a competition between you and your partner

Building trust in a relationship is one of the most fundamental things that will contribute to a successful marriage. The best time to initiate trust is before settling down, and this starts during premarital counseling sessions. That’s why you need to be honest with your partner and the counselor, even if it feels uncomfortable. There are details you wouldn’t want to talk about, but are essential to share during counseling for the sake of your relationship.

Also, note that it is not some sort of competition between you and your partner. Remember, counseling can unveil your insecurities, and this might make you feel defenseless before your partner. But keep it in mind that it’s not a competition to make each other feel vulnerable in light of their weaknesses or past. Instead, unveiling these underlying factors can help you strengthen your relationship by knowing how to communicate with each other, how to respond appropriately at different times, and also how to understand your partner better. The bottom line is to embrace a positive attitude during sessions, and you’ll be able to benefit from it.

FAQ Section

You might have some uncertainties regarding the whole premarital counseling. Let’s check out some of the questions you might want to get answers to.

What Is Premarital Counseling?

Premarital counseling is a type of therapy that helps couples prepare for marriage. It is provided by a licensed marriage and family therapist. The sessions are conducted to help the couple understand their relationship better, to know what works and what doesn’t, and to help both partners get a realistic outlook on the nature and dynamics of the relationship.

Why Should You Consider Premarital Counseling?

If you want to get it right from the start, then premarital counseling is largely essential. The sessions help partners understand each other by getting deeper insights regarding their personalities and life goals. They also learn ways to communicate better to maintain healthy relationships. Essentially, premarital counseling helps partners understand each other, learn each other’s differences and ways in which they can be harmoniously settled for a healthy marriage.

How Much Does Premarital Counseling Cost?

Premarital counseling costs vary based on several factors, such as your location and the service provider. Though some premarital counseling services are costly, there are free and inexpensive counseling services offered by faith-based and community service organizations.

What’s the Best Time to Start Premarital Counseling?

The best time to go for premarital counseling is when you feel your partner is the right person you want to settle down with, looking forward to marriage and growing old together. The advantages that come with attending premarital counseling sessions are numerous, and going for the sessions as soon as possible helps you improve your relationship and have a healthy marriage.

How Long Is Premarital Counseling?

There is no standard duration for which premarital counseling should last before marriage. However, it is important to consider the pressing issues that would jeopardize your marriage, and these should be addressed in good time before settling down. Learning to handle your differences and solve common problems many families are faced with before settling down with your partner will foster the success of your marriage.

What Kind of Questions Do Therapists Ask During Sessions?

A counselor will ask questions that help the couple understand each other better for the sake of their relationship. Some questions will be asked to enable the couple to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, insecurities, and even relationship history. Knowing these details will give your relationship a solid ground, and this is essential for a successful marriage.

Does Premarital Counseling Minimize the Chances of Divorce?

Numerous studies show that premarital counseling helps minimize the chances of a divorce. Counseling helps address common marital problems beforehand. Also, it enables couples to harmonize their differences, and therefore these do not become a problem in the future.

Is Premarital Counseling Covered by Insurance?

Health insurance does not cover premarital counseling. Most insurance companies will only cover counseling expenses if there is a medical-related condition that needs to be treated by a licensed therapist. In this case, premarital counseling does not involve a medical condition that needs to be treated.

How Do I Know If I Have a Healthy Marriage?

If you find your partner the person you’ve always spent your life with, and your relationship is generally harmonious, then there are good chances your marriage will work. The truth is, only you know the qualities and character traits you would want to characterize your partner. Once you’ve found someone who you feel matches most of your expectations, premarital counseling can help you find ways to harmonize your differences.

Is Counseling Suitable for Unmarried Couples?

Yes. Premarital counseling helps partners figure out problems that are likely to arise in marriage, and therefore effective solutions are developed beforehand. Counseling sessions give you the privilege to understand your partner better in regards to their strengths and weaknesses, likes, and dislikes. The insights will help you know how to resolve issues and improve relationships during the marriage.

The Bottom Line

Whether you are currently experiencing problems in your relationship or not, an unmarried couple needs to understand that challenges are inevitable in marriage. Learning how to solve them or better still avoid them is priceless. The best way to be prepared beforehand is by going for premarital counseling sessions that will help you learn how to manage your differences and build a solid foundation for your relationship. You will get a better understanding of how to communicate with each other, how to be tolerant, and also how to set common life goals.

Always keep in mind:

  • Attending sessions will help you develop mutual respect in your relationship and, ultimately, marriage.
  • Counseling sessions will help you understand each other concerning weaknesses, strengths, passions, as that is vital for a successful marriage.
  • Counseling isn’t designed to expose your weaknesses or past but is intended to help you and your partner harmonize your personalities for a healthy marriage.

The tension and anxiety as young people approach marriage is, at times, inevitable, and therefore this perfectly normal. If you find yourself in such a situation, you can use mental health services to help you get over the tension, feel calm and confident. Contact us to discuss the best premarital counseling approaches for you and your partner ahead of your marriage.

Kate Skurat

Kate Skurat

Licensed Mental Health Counselor | Washington, United States

Kate has a B.S. in Psychology and M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University and has worked in healthcare since 2017. She primarily treated depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, and grief, as well as identity, relationship and adjustment issues. Her clinical experience has focused on individual and group counseling, emergency counseling and outreach. Read more