Finding The Best Premarital Counseling 2020 And Why You Should Do It
By: Stephanie Kirby
Updated July 13, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Angel Faith
Getting married is one of the most important milestones in our lives. Congratulations on becoming engaged to the love of your life! As soon as you said "yes" or popped the question you were probably already envisioning the perfect life the two of you will share together.
Practice Makes (Almost) Perfect
The benefits of premarital counseling were probably one of the farthest things from your mind when you decided to get married. While there is no such thing as a "perfect union," therapy can help you and your partner address issues that married couples commonly struggle with.
Many people think therapists are only for people that are already in the midst of challenges, but engaging in therapy helps you and your spouse learn how to identify issues and handle conflict that will inevitably arise at some point in your relationship.
This provides a future husband and wife with conflict resolution strategies; for example, making sure you're on the same page in case emergencies happen (such as financial troubles).
The purpose of this proactive strategy is to prevent couples from engaging in negative behavior that often breaks marriages, should those issues ever come up.
Examples of some topics that are discussed during marriage preparation therapy sessions include:
- Individual and Joint Finances
- Parenting styles
- Communication styles
- Conflict resolution strategies
- Decision-making styles
- Gender roles in the marriage
- Family therapy
Keys to a Healthy Marriage
Statistics show that today's marrying couples don't plan on getting divorced. In fact, at least 93 percent of Americans think that a healthy marriage is one of the most important life goals. However, we probably know at least a few people who have gone through divorce. Although a majority of couples begin their relationship with the best intentions, the truth is, sometimes life presents unforeseen challenges.
Research shows that when couples attend private sessions, it increases their chance of having a successful marriage by 30 percent. Essentially, it helps you prepare for marriage.
Actively maintaining a healthy relationship is one of the best things you and your spouse can do to ensure your marriage will last, and to protect your individual mental health, too.
Depending on your religious background, your reasons for seeking support, and the personality of you and your partner, there are different types of pre-marriage therapy you can partake in. Choosing the right type of professional for you and your significant other can greatly increase its effectiveness and the benefit you get out of the experience.
Religious therapy - Faith-based sessions can be done in a combination of different styles, including group courses, one-on-one meetings with a religious advisor, and/or compatibility tests.
Online courses - When you participate in sessions online, you receive thoughtful information about how to anticipate and positively respond to conflicts in your marriage. You will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course as a reminder of your hard work and commitment to your marriage.
One-one-one professional therapy - This is the most traditional method. One-on-one sessions teach you how to tackle common issues related to long-term commitment struggles.
Compatibility tests or questionnaires - These assessments should be used as a resource to help facilitate your individual growth and ability to offer proper support to your partner during the course of your marriage.
Group courses and discussion - You and your partner will learn of new conflict-resolution strategies you may not have considered without the guidance of a licensed professional.
Benefits Therapy During Engagement
One of the many benefits of working with marriage and family therapists that couples often overlook is not only will it improve their ability to communicate and reduce conflict, it helps set the stage for both individuals to seek professional help later on if they run into relationship struggles. In a Journal of Family Psychology study, researchers determined that couples that worked with marriage and family therapists before they were married were more likely to request an appointment with mental health professionals or a marriage and family therapist if they had problems once the honeymoon phase wore off.
1. Create mutual goals and resolutions for your marriage - By discussing beforehand what you both hope to get out of your marriage, you can determine a few resolutions that combine what you both want. This gives you common goals to work toward that you both believe in.
2. Understand, adapt to, and improve communication styles - This helps you know how to adapt to them to ensure that you'll be able to successfully talk through potential problems instead of ignoring them or arguing about them.
3. Head off potential conflicts before they become a problem - Pre-marriage therapy will help you work through these issues now and help you understand that your differences don't need to lead to larger problems.
4. Dismiss marriage anxiety - During your sessions, you can confront possible causes for anxiety and work through them. Facing issues head-on helps you and your partner feel reassured that marriage is the next positive step for your relationship.
Strategies for Success
If you and your spouse decide that professional help is for you, there are ways you can help ensure you get the most benefit out of the experience. These include:
- Understand that it will be challenging. It will cause you to discuss and face some issues that you'd rather leave alone. But, this is how you and your partner will grow in your relationship!
- Don't try to "cheat" or downplay thoughts and opinions to make it seem like you and your significant other are completely compatible. The point is to face issues head-on.
- Let go of the idea of "winner" and "loser". Learn to embrace the idea that you're both on equal playing fields.
Respect that time with your therapist is a "safe zone" and that what you discuss with them can't be fuel for future arguments or "I told you so" moments.
You’ll certainly want to share the joy of your marriage with your extended family. Family systems are important to the health of your marriage. That said, it’s important to develop a healthy relationship with both sides of the family if possible. Family involvement is important as you build a solid foundation for your marriage. At the same time, it’s crucial to draw some healthy boundaries about just how involved they should be.
If you and your fiancé(e) have decided to embark on this journey, there are plenty of resources available to help find the professional counselor for your intimate relationship needs.
How BetterHelp Works With You
Today's busy couples may have trouble scheduling in-office appointments. Along with managing individual responsibilities like work and family, the time leading up to a wedding is busy. Online counseling sessions with BetterHelp is convenient for busy couples who are serious about strengthening their relationship.
When you attend sessions online, you gain access to a professional therapist and tools from anywhere you have a solid internet connection. Attending therapy online provides engaged couples with the convenience you need to maintain your busy life - while preparing for a new one. Read reviews of our BetterHelp therapists below, from people experiencing similar issues.
"Erin really helps me set goals for communication, and it's really crazy how much it's improved the communication in my marriage. She also asks me every week what I'd like to work on, so it's just really great to be able to decide and then to put it into action. Without her, I wouldn't even know where to start."
"Stephanie is a gem! She's very thoughtful, thorough, honest, insightful but most of all helpful. This is coming from a person that never wanted to do counseling and just "knew" I didn't need it. She's been key in helping my wife and I find our better place. She made us grow as a couple and individually. Thanks Steph!"
Preparing for Your Wedding Day
Pre-marriage therapy is something you and your future spouse should seriously consider as part of your strategy to build your marriage on a strong foundation.
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