In my Colorado based practice, I have heard clients say they were nervous about going to pre-marital counseling. Although reasons for why varied, there are some common themes worth mentioning. And I want to reassure you, reader, that if you’re considering pre-marital therapy, there are numerous benefits which you may not yet be aware of. In this blog, I aim to demystify what pre-marital counseling is all about.
What and Who is Pre-Marital Counseling For?
Pre-Marital therapy is essentially couples therapy, but typically occurs closer to the beginning of a relationship. This is a time in a couples’ relationship when they may be still getting to know one another, building trust and intimacy, and exploring commitment. Because the relationship is new(ish), there are many exciting things to discover about one another. There is also the potential for the first indication of struggles the couple may encounter. As a result, it can be an ideal time to go to couples therapy to really examine the relationship itself. Additionally, you’ll learn some helpful tools to successfully support the partnership.
There are common struggles most couples will face at one time or another. This means pre-marital counseling can benefit any couple finding themselves stuck or unsure of how to proceed when issues arise.
What Happens in Pre-Marital Counseling?
If you and your partner determine you want to begin pre-marital counseling, you’ve most likely identified something you want to work on. Therefore, therapy starts with you and your partner setting goals for your work together. What is it you want to accomplish? And if you’re unsure, that’s okay! Therapy is a safe space to explore your feelings, thoughts, and desires for your relationship so that we can crystallize your goals.
Generally speaking, the focus in your pre-marital counseling sessions will be on your relationship. Yes, each partner will be encouraged to express their own experience. However, the emphasis is on the relationship itself. We have the potential to learn much about ourselves and each other while we’re in relationship. That process will be highlighted in pre-marital counseling.
What do Couples in Pre-Marital Counseling Talk About?
Now, you might be wondering what are some common topics, concerns, or struggles couples have that bring them into pre-marital counseling? There’s no topic that can’t be discussed in your sessions. There are some emotionally charged topics that have the potential to trip up a couple. Some of these include finances, differing values, family of origin issues, to have kids or not, sex and intimacy, religion and spirituality, conflict management, and healthy communication.
Myths about Pre-Marital Counseling
- Pre-Marital Counseling is religious based.
This is not always true. Some couples choose to go to a religious leader for guidance regarding their relationship or will seek out a therapist with a religious orientation for couples therapy. At Vitality Therapeutic Services, pre-marital counseling is not religiously or spiritually based. However, your unique experiences and histories are a part of your therapy. We honor all religious and spiritual practices, and you are welcome to bring your beliefs and practices into the therapeutic work you do, and we will incorporate them in whatever ways feel best for you.
- If we talk about our issues, it will make them worse.
Actually, the opposite is true. When we manage our issues in healthy ways as they arise, we build a sense of confidence, trust in one another, and a deeper knowing of ourselves and each other over time. This often leads to happier and healthier relationships because we take the time to understand problems as they occur, find effective strategies to deal with them, and feel stronger as a result.
- If we’re not on the same page, pre-marital counseling may result in us breaking up.
This myth is somewhat related to #2 in that you may be fearful of being vulnerable if it doesn’t result in only positive outcomes. Yes, it can be uncomfortable and upsetting and scary to not be on the same page with your partner. However, there are skills you can learn to navigate the differences in your relationship without breaking up. In fact, therapy can be an ideal place to explore these differences safely and effectively.
Going to Pre-Marital Counseling is a Proactive Way to Support your Relationship
It’s understandable that starting pre-marital therapy may bring up some nerves. Hopefully, this blog has answered some of your questions and put your mind at greater ease. After all, pre-marital counseling is designed to help your relationship thrive by addressing common struggles couples face before they become unmanageable.
If you’re ready to take a deeper dive into your relationship and strengthen it, contact us today to get started. Our practice specializes in working with couples like you with common issues such as communication, connection, and life transitions. We also provide online therapy to couples in Colorado.
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels