Where Can I Find Premarital Counseling Near Me?
By: Stephanie Kirby
Updated November 23, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Kristen Hardin
There is a long and exciting list of things to do when you're preparing to get married. You have to find a dress, book a venue, hire the DJ, and test out wedding cakes. However, there is one important thing that probably should be added to your list. And, it's something that many couples don't think about in the mix of the wedding day excitement. It's premarital counseling. And, if you want to make sure your marriage is as successful as your wedding, then you can add "find premarital counseling near me" to that list of things to do before the big day. Keep reading for an overview of the benefits of premarital counseling and how to find a counselor near you.
What Is Premarital Counseling?
When you think of couples counseling, you probably think about a couple that's struggling. But, that's not what premarital counseling is about. In fact, it's the exact opposite. The purpose of premarital counseling is to help a couple discuss the important parts of their relationship and upcoming marriage. It's used to help couples avoid unmet expectations, conflicts, and arguments in their marriage because they're able to work through them before getting married. It also helps couples to get on the same page about the expectations that they have for their marriage and the role of their spouse and themselves in marriage.
Couples can discuss these things on their own, but they might find these conversations to be vague or generic or under the glow of the upcoming marriage, not thinking of things that could be an issue. Or, they believe that things will naturally just work out when the wedding is over.
Why Is Premarital Counseling Important?
As you are growing up, you are forming opinions about how a marriage should work, healthy or unhealthy. You form these opinions from what you see modeled from your parents and other couples in your life. You may not even realize that you are forming these opinions and expectations. This creates a potential problem in your future marriage because the chance that your soon-to-be spouse has grown up with the same examples is unlikely.
So, when you come into marriage with different beliefs about what to expect and don't talk about it because you think the other person has the same ideas, you potentially risk a rocky start to your marriage.
That's where premarital counseling comes into play. A licensed therapist knows the areas where potential problems arise within a marriage. They help couples to discuss their expectations in these areas so they can work out any potential problems before their wedding day arrives.
What Is Discussed in Premarital Counseling?
There is no limit as to what can be discussed during premarital counseling. Some key areas are usually discussed, but an experienced therapist will be able to spot areas in the couple's lives that could lead to potential problems. Many couples come in with goals they hope to accomplish in the sessions, too. Some of the commonly addressed areas include:
During premarital counseling, your therapist should discuss finances. Many marital fights are about finances and the way that the couple handles them. It's a natural problem that arises because some people are savers and others are spenders. Money is also very personal to some people, and they have strong opinions about how it should be handled.
Therapists help couples work through what could be potential problems with finances. This includes talking about how the bank accounts will be set up and who will handle paying the bills. Therapists will often discuss the importance of creating a budget to help the couple enter marriage on the same page about money.
The conversation can also turn toward the couple’s jobs and topics like what will happen when/if children enter the picture. Will one of you stop working to stay home with the baby or will you hire a nanny or find a daycare center? These topics are easier to deal with before you both find yourselves in the midst of the situation.
While our pasts don't have to determine our future, they do play a role in it. Your therapist will help you look into your past to see if any areas could lead to potential problems in your marriage. You don't want to bring old problems to a new relationship. This is one of the reasons why it's important to discuss these things in advance of your marriage. This is an important part of premarital counseling because it is a safe place to talk about a potentially difficult topic with a professional there for guidance. If there is an issue in the couple's past, the couple might find it difficult or overwhelming to talk about it on their own.
Your therapist is going to want to make sure that you both are on the same page with your long-term plans. If one of your dreams is living in the country with a houseful of children and the other dreams of living in a skyrise condo and doesn't want to have kids, then you're going to want to discuss this before you are married to make sure you can arrive at a compromise on which you can both agree.
Roles Within the Marriage
Society has long since moved away from the sexist marital roles of the past where the husband went to work, and the wife stayed home, kept house, and raised the children. Some people still prefer these roles and others don't. There are plenty of couples who both work and there are also plenty of households where the wife is the breadwinner, and the husband stays home with the children.
Regardless of marrying someone of the same gender or not, there is no right or wrong in how you establish the roles within your marriage. But it needs to be something you both agree on. If you want to go to work and your spouse wants you to stay home and manage the majority of the home duties, then it needs to be addressed. It will be difficult to have a successful marriage if you have different expectations on who is going to handle what, especially when children are involved.
This is a very personal topic, but extremely important. It can be another cause for problems within a marriage. It's an area that some people have strong expectations about, while others don't. It's important to learn how to handle these conflicts before you are married. Learning what the other person thinks about sex and how to discuss it as a couple can make a big difference in your marriage.
Being able to have good communication is critical in a marriage. During premarital counseling, your therapist will help you learn the skill of listening and communicating your thoughts. You are not a mind reader, and neither is your significant other. That's why you need to learn how to communicate what you want and need instead of expecting them to read your mind or look at every situation the same way you do.
This is an area that's important to agree on before you get married. If you disagree in this area, it will most likely cause problems throughout your marriage. Do you want to have kids? How many children do you want to have? Who will stay home from work when the time comes, or will you find childcare? A couple who gets married in their early 20s may change their minds as time goes on. So even if one partner says two children and the other partner says three before marriage, it doesn't mean the marriage is destined for conflict. Even if you aren't on the exact same page, if you are pretty close, it is probably something that can be sorted out over time. If the couple is nearing the end of their childbearing years, this is especially important to discuss because they don’t have the same kind of time to sort out how many children they will have as a younger couple does.
It's important to know where your boundaries will lay within your marriage. What's acceptable and what's not when it comes to friendships and time spent with others? What boundaries need to be set with your parents to help you and your spouse establish your new family? Are there boundaries that need to be set with each other, with friends, with coworkers? Now is the time to discuss these things so you can both enter a marriage that you'll be comfortable with.
How to Find Premarital Counseling Near Me
When you look for a premarital counselor, you want to find someone who will be a fit for you and your partner and who can meet on your and your partner’s schedule. Both you and your significant other will need to be able to get to counseling appointments, so you want someone who's conveniently located for the both of you. Again, you need their schedule to align with yours. This is a busy time in your life, and it can be hard to squeeze in time for counseling.
If you are connected with a church or other religious group, then you may be able to find someone who performs premarital counseling within the organization. Or, you can search online for a therapist in your area who does couples counseling.
If you’re curious about the effectiveness of online therapy for couples counseling, know that, in some cases, it can be more effective than face-to-face therapy. A study done on videoconferencing for couples seeking relationship counseling found that the effects of meeting with an online therapist exceeded the participants’ expectations. Participants reported feeling more “safe and comfortable” via videoconferencing versus face-to-face therapy and were able to establish a working alliance with the therapist. This study also suggested that videoconferencing can reach those individuals who might be otherwise too shy to seek professional help using traditional modes of therapy.
How BetterHelp Can Support You and Your Significant Other
BetterHelp has licensed professionals trained to provide premarital counseling. A therapist can help you and your soon-to-be spouse understand, on a deeper level, expectations you have of each other after you’re married. Meeting with an online therapist is a great option if you and your significant other are living in different areas or states before your marriage or have really different schedules. It allows you to access counseling from anywhere that you have an internet connection and at a time that’s convenient for the both of you. Below are some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar issues.
“She is a skilled counselor. Would recommend to anyone looking for couples therapy....”
“Karen is very patient and attentive. She really listens and offers constructive feedback. She even shared great articles that are helpful to me and my fiancé.”
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