Pre-Marital Counselling

Why is premarital counselling so important?

Premarital counselling is very important. Imagine this: It's six months after your wedding. Little things that you used to think were "cute" are starting to really bug you. Your spouse isn't quite as attentive as when you were first married. Your husband says that money is "tight" and is starting to be a bit overbearing about how much you are spending on fixing up the house. Or your wife is already talking about wanting to start a family and you are just not ready to think about being a father. Your fairytale image of marriage is crumbling in the face of the many problems that your relationship is facing. Maybe you made a big mistake getting married. After all, you were really young; you didn't realize what you were getting into. You feel trapped. What now?

Marriage, with or without premarital counselling, is a challenging adventure that can be both rewarding and fulfilling if it is characterized by unconditional commitment and sacrificial love. But marriage is also a union of two individuals who have come together from different families, each with a different set of expectations concerning marriage. Both spouses have been shaped by positive and negative experiences within their own childhood homes. Because of this, each has a predetermined idea about how conflict should be handled, the value of money management, religion, having children, and what it means to love someone.

Currently, a little over half of all first marriages end in divorce. Sadly, couples that marry without having premarital counselling are at much higher risk of divorce. Those who have prepared for marriage by getting some premarital counselling are better off than those who have had no preparation for marriage at all. So why is premarital counselling so important?

Premarital counselling has glue - Many forms of premarital counselling will give instruction in dealing with basics, such as finances, child rearing, and even basic communication skills. Premarital counselling prepares a couple seeking marriage to enter into a relationship based upon sacrificial love for one another, and to place the needs of others before the needs of self. As divorce rates continue to rise, more and more couples are approaching marriage with increasing caution. While Americans are still opting for marriage, many are looking for opportunities to damage-proof their relationships before they say I do. Pre-marital counselling is just one approach couples are taking.

What is Pre-Marital Counselling?

Pre-marital counselling, like any couples counselling, is usually facilitated by a skilled family therapist, (and sometimes members of the clergy). The function of pre-marital counselling is two-fold:

  1. To assist couples in developing skills to navigate their way through marriage successfully
  2. To identify (and if possible resolve) areas of difference between couples that may become a source of conflict later

Many professionals performing pre-marital counselling will use assessment tools to help identify these potential difficulties and address the following areas, which are all common discussion grounds in pre-marital counselling:

  • Interests and Activities
  • Role Expectations
  • Personal Adjustment
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Religion and Philosophy
  • Marriage Expectations
  • Family Issues
  • Finances
  • Children (and Parenting)
  • Sexuality