You and your partner have decided to spend the rest of your lives together, for richer or poorer, and in sickness and in health. Together you’ve already discussed all the big events and decisions that factor into combining your two lives into one.
Now that you’ve checked all your other to-do’s, it’s time to schedule an important one: premarital counseling. But what is this kind of counseling, and why is it important? Read on for four different skills you’ll learn in premarital counseling and how they will strengthen your relationship and your marriage.
What is Premarital Counseling?
Premarital counseling is a type of couples counseling for partners to prepare for marriage. Having a counselor as an objective third party allows you to transparently talk about challenging topics and define the expectations each of you have for your future lives together.
Getting On the Same Page
Depending on how long you’ve known each other, you might feel like you know each and every little quirk. Yeah, you’ve discussed starting a family. But do you have the same expectations as your partner about the specifics?
When might you expand your family? Will you have biological children or adopt? How many children do you see in your future? There is a difference between thinking about wanting the same things and actually being on the same page.
Having the Hard Talks
Continuing with the same example from above, what happens when you discover that your partner was thinking about having one child, but you always pictured a family of five?
Or what if you never saw the rest of your life living in the same place you are now, but your partner refuses to move outside your current 25-mile radius? Having hard conversations about differing expectations isn’t always easy. But it’s better to communicate them clearly to see where compromise is possible and where the make-or-break boundaries stand.
Why is Premarital Counseling Important?
There are endless benefits to premarital counseling with your soon-to-be spouse. A few of these are improving communication, building conflict resolution skills, exploring how your individual family histories can impact your current relationship, and practicing active listening.
In any relationship, romantic or otherwise, communication is key. Even if you’ve been with your partner for a long time, you each may hold feelings, values, and needs you might just assume they know.
Crush Conflict Resolution
Marriage isn’t just about the titles that come along with a legally binding union. It’s about developing and using conflict resolution skills to work together as a team. These skills in your marriage will help you learn to agree to disagree and compromise when you can.
Explore Family Dynamics
Accepting each other and all the ‘family baggage’ that comes with you is a given. While neither you nor your partner is defined by your past relationships or family dynamics, they do play a role in your views and attitudes toward upcoming marriage. Did your parents raise you to be openly affectionate, or was affection withheld and only given when you ‘earned’ it?
Did one parent stay home and take care of children and chores while the other worked outside the home? Diving deeper into the reasons behind why you do what you do or what you say and feel in your relationship will help you replace the habits and values you want to change and strengthen the foundation of your marriage.
Practice Active Listening
There is a difference between half-heartedly listening to your partner and actively listening to your partner. When you practice active listening, you’re able to ask questions and reaffirm statements they’ve made to reflect that you’re engaged in the conversation. Nothing makes for miscommunication and hurt feelings more than you or your partner having to repeat themselves multiple times.
Our therapists here at Let’s Talk Psychological Wellness are committed to helping you strengthen your relationships and navigate marriage challenges. Feel confident and secure in your relationships. Call, text, or email us.