I’m guessing your either getting married or thinking about it. And in that case, premarital counselling can be the most important wedding gift a couple can receive.
Why is that?
Because it simply prepares you better.
Research by the legendary relationship researchers Dr John Gottman found that many couples wait on average 6 years before seeking marriage counselling.
Think about that for a moment.
6 years of unresolved issues and growing frustration.
And it usually after so much time has passed that it becomes very difficult for couples to turn things around and save their marriage.
So, with premarital counselling, you can start the right way and make instant improvements in your relationship by building a foundation for a long and happy marriage BEFORE you get married.
But, maybe you’re wondering …
What Are the Major Benefits of Premarital Counselling?
Decide if you’re ready to get married.
Go into counselling with an open mind. Even if you discover that you and your partner may need to delay the wedding while you work on some issues, it’s much better to move ahead strategically than to stick to an arbitrary schedule.
Set realistic expectations.
It’s easy to get caught up in Hollywood notions of romance and fairy tale endings. An in-depth discussion with your partner with input from a trained and objective expert can do a world of good in helping you to separate fact from fantasy. It helps you prepare for the daily realities of sharing your lives.
Skilful communication keeps a promising relationship on track. By understanding the basic principles, you’ll avoid common pitfalls. With practice, you’ll discover how to give each other the support and validation you seek from one another.
Learn constructive conflict resolution skills.
Disagreements are bound to arise as you manage the pressures of balancing careers, kids, and in-laws. By focusing on win-win solutions rather than getting your own way, you’ll grow closer instead of drifting apart.
Understand the stages of marriage.
Between the honeymoon and sharing your golden years, most marriages move through predictable stages. The rocky times will be easier to endure if you know that many couples work through temporary disillusionments and setbacks.
Become a better role model for your kids.
When you feel stable and resilient, you give your children an environment where they feel loved and secure. Your children are likely to imitate your good habits as they grow up and find their own life partners.
How Can You Make the Most of Premarital Counselling?
Examine your attitude about therapy.
Society has come a long way in recent decades but there’s still some stigma attached to psychological counselling. Try looking at premarital preparation the same way you need to take a driving test before you can get a license.
Find the right counsellor for you.
Many people receive premarital counselling as part of the preparations offered by their religious tradition. Whether you prefer a religious or secular approach, you can ask family and friends for referrals. The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy may also be a starting point for finding a therapist you feel compatible with.
Get an early start.
Studies show that the year before your wedding is a prime time to start working on your relationship – while you’re still highly motivated and before bad habits set in. The first six months of marriage are also a productive window of opportunity.
Take an inventory.
Most therapists will start out by asking you to take an inventory. This will give you a road map to identify your areas of strength and weakness and see where you need to focus your efforts.
Supplement with marriage education classes.
Targeted classes and workshops can be helpful on their own or as a complement to counselling. You’ll learn the fundamental ingredients for a healthy marriage and how to develop key skills.
Practice what you learn.
For counselling to make a lasting difference, you need to apply what you learn. You and your spouse can write out your goals and monitor your progress together.
According to some studies, premarital counselling can improve your chances of staying together by 30% or more.
Where to From Here?
If premarital counselling is something you would be interested in, please reach out to me for a chat.
You probably would have noticed that I used the terms “counselling” and “coaching” interchangeably, and might wonder why that is.
As a trained professional counsellor, I completely understand that counselling and coaching are not the same things in essence.
However, as these fields are revolving, certain modalities and ways of working with clients are starting to overlap.
My focus, however, is to provide relationship and marriage coaching through sound counsel.
So, if you want to enjoy many years of wedded bliss by getting your marriage off to a healthy start, please contact me here.
Other resources to help you get started:
- Save your marriage with one simple strategy
- 10 Things happy couples do differently from unhappy couples