When Dave and I were planning our wedding, we went back and forth a lot on whether we would do premarital counseling. I had spoken with other women who really enjoyed it and felt they got a lot out of it, so I suggested to Dave that we give it a shot. Dave wasn’t quite as excited at the prospect and felt it might be a waste of time. Not that he’s opposed to working out improving our relationship. He just wasn’t convinced that a stranger would be the best person to advise us on it.
In the end, we chose a pastor to officiate our wedding who required a few premarital counseling sessions in order to officiate our wedding. And I know I speak for both Dave and myself when I say that I’m so glad that’s how it worked out! First of all, we loved our pastor. We aren’t a member of a church, so we hadn’t met the pastor until we found him for our wedding. His personality was the perfect fit to work with Dave and I. He wasn’t much older than Dave and I and shared many of our views on religion, community, marriage, and life in general.
Before our first session, the pastor sent us a link to an online questionnaire that we were each to take separately. Then we discussed the results in our first session. The questionnaire had questions on everything ranging from family background, children, religion, money, etc. Anything we might encounter in our marriage. Not to brag, but our pastor told us our scores made us basically the most compatible couple he had worked with. No big deal.
The sessions afterward had us focusing on a myriad of different topics dealing with communication, family, religion, sex, etc. In one session we did an exercise to help us improve the way we communicate. This was one of the biggest benefits for me personally because I’ve always struggled with clear communication.
If you’re getting married and are considering doing premarital counseling with your future spouse, I definitely recommend it! There’s nothing to lose from it, and have no idea what you might gain.
If you’re planning to do counseling, make sure to find someone you and your future spouse are both comfortable with. Working with a pastor who Dave and I both really liked made the experience infinitely better. I think both of us were more willing to be open and honest during the sessions with him because we felt comfortable with him, and it also made the sessions more fun!
Make sure to go into it with an open mind. Some of the exercises might seem silly or pointless, but they’re done for a reason. Even an exercise that causes you to roll your eyes at first could end up being really beneficial. Dave and I felt silly doing some of the communication exercises, but I genuinely believe they have improved the way we communication, especially during an argument.
One criticism I hear from couples about why they don’t want to do premarital counseling is that they don’t feel they need counseling because they don’t have any major issues in their relationship. It might be true that you don’t have any major issues, but that certainly doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from premarital counseling. One of the great parts of it is that while it’s meant to help you work on your relationship now, it is even more pointed at preparing your relationship for marriage and for the future. It brings up difficult issues that might come up months of years down the road and helps you prepare for them as a team. It’s great if your relationship doesn’t have any major issues. Premarital counseling and the tools you gain as a couple can help ensure you avoid major issues in the future!
If you’re getting married, I hope you’ll consider premarital counseling. It was infinitely more beneficial than I thought it would be! Premarital counseling isn’t just for people who are religious. While ours had a religious component to it, not all of them do!
Did you participate in premarital counseling before your wedding? Do you feel it helped improve your relationship or better prepare you for marriage?
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