Planning a wedding can be filled with excitement as well as stress. From the flowers to the food to the vows.
But one of the things we can often miss in the midst of wedding planning is planning for what comes after the wedding. We forget to plan for the marriage to follow.
That is where premarital counseling can come in!
While premarital counseling has many benefits, here are seven of my favorite:
- Build a relationship that is fulfilling and meaningful.
- Instill honeymoon habits that last for decades.
- Get to know yourself and your relationship better.
- Set realistic expectations for your marriage.
- Improve your communication and conflict management skills.
- Reduce your risk of divorce by 31%.
- Establish a positive foundation for seeking help in the future.
1. Build a relationship that is fulfilling and meaningful.
When you and your partner engage in premarital counseling, you are showing that you both prioritize your relationship. In premarital counseling, you and your partner can have conversations that help you prepare for the future. When you both understand the hopes and dreams your partner has, you can work together to create a life that is fulfilling and meaningful for both of you. You can both have your ideals met in your relationship, and premarital counseling makes it easier to figure out how.
2. Instill Honeymoon habits that last for decades.
When you are in the honeymoon phase, you both engage in behaviors and activities that keep you growing closer together. But eventually, we lose steam. Premarital counseling can help you both find ways of creating connection and intimacy beyond the honeymoon phase. Especially when it comes to sex! You can become that couple everyone sees and gets jealous of, because you know they are madly in love.
3. Get to know yourself and your relationship better.
When you go through premarital counseling, your counselor will be asking you lots of questions. Many questions you might not have ever thought of asking yourself or your partner. As you answer these questions with your counselor, you will grow as an individual and as a couple. Finding comfort in your openness and understanding with each other. This will lead to you both being able to find comfort in your relationship when you hit hard seasons.
4. Set realistic expectations for your marriage.
To quote one of my favorite relationship experts, Dr. Les Parrott, “Expectations are just predetermined disappointments.” When you engage in premarital counseling, your counselor can help both of you figure out what expectations you have. Then you can decide as a couple which ones are realistic and which ones you may have to let go of. That is not to say you can’t have high standards for your relationship, you absolutely should have them! I have a high standard that my husband and I work as a team. But it is unrealistic to expect my partner to consult with me on each and every decision he makes before he makes it throughout the day. A counselor can help you recognize what standards you have versus what expectations are setting yourself up for disappointment.
5. Improve your communication and conflict management skills.
In premarital counseling, you and your partner can work with your counselor to better understand each other. A professional can help you each recognize patterns in your communication styles that could cause gridlock conflict in the future. By understanding your styles, you can use conflict to your advantage and bring you both closer together.
6. Reduce your risk of divorce by 31%.
There was a study in the Journal of Family Psychology that showed how couples who engaged in premarital counseling were able to reduce the risk of divorce by 31%, which is HUGE when you realize that the divorce rate is more than 50% of married couples. Premarital counseling helps you beat the 50%. The couples who engaged in premarital counseling also reported a higher rate of marital satisfaction.
7. Establish a positive foundation for seeking help in the future.
All relationships go through seasons. Some are fantastic and filled with joy, some are hard and difficult to manage. According to research conducted by leading relationship experts at the Gottman Institute, most couples wait an average of 6 years of marital discord before they seek professional services. By participating in premarital counseling, you both become comfortable with the counseling process and develop a strong relationship with a counselor who can help you when you do hit those rough patches.
Premarital counseling can help both you and your partner prepare for what comes after the wedding, the marriage you want to last a lifetime.
Take care, friends!
Alisha Sweyd, LMFT
Alisha Sweyd is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California. She is also the Director and Co-Founder of Code 3 Counseling. Alisha specializes in working with first responder couples. You can contact her through our website.
*This does NOT apply to people in domestic violence relationships. If you or your spouse are being put in physical/emotional danger, you need to seek crisis support services, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
If you find that this exercise or these conversations brought up some stuff you are struggling with, either individually or in your relationship, please do not hesitate to reach out to us for help. We are here to support you, and we understand that this can be a challenging issue to face.
Remember, it may be your battle, but you don’t have to fight it alone.