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by Chris Norman
| Marriage, Couples, Adults, Relationships

Moving towards getting engaged? Engaged and preparing for marriage?

Take the time to build a strong foundation!

Couple bicycling sm

We are entering fall, also known as the official start of Engagement Season! With so many holidays and time with family and friends, this time of year just might be the perfect time to pop the question for a late spring or summer wedding. After spending all the time and attention to craft the perfect proposal, what’s next? For most couples, planning a similarly elaborate wedding follows.

But what happens after spending all that time and resources on the special day? All too often, couples are caught off guard and say, “We’re married, now what?” There are changes when a couple moves from dating to a committed relationship to engagement to marriage. Now comes the challenge of merging two lives, two families, and often, two very different ways of looking at the world. This is where the investment of premarital counseling can pay real dividends.

Why Premarital Counseling?

Even couples who are infinitely compatible still have differences. Often, one partner is more of a saver than a spender, or more outgoing than a homebody. In the early days of a relationship, these opposites may attract. However, years later, these differences may turn into the reason for conflict and disconnection. One benefit of premarital counseling is the ability to identify these differences sooner than later; and then to develop skills to navigate those differences while remaining connected as a couple. Here is where premarital counseling can help prepare a couple for a lifetime together.

The Purpose

The key purpose for premarital counseling is to prepare couples for marriage. This may sound overly simplistic; however, most couples spend many more hours and thousands of dollars preparing for a wedding than preparing for the marriage. By investing in premarital counseling, couples gain a partner in a seasoned premarital counselor who also has experience working with couples later in marriage when problems often arise. The counselor knows what to look out for and how to help the couple navigate difficult conversations prior to trying the knot.

The Process

Most premarital counseling starts with the couple filling out a questionnaire prior to their first session. Rather than measuring compatibility, most assessments produce a report that reveals the current state of the relationship in several key areas. In collaboration with the counselor, the couple chooses the topics to focus on during the premarital counseling sessions. Most often, couples want to learn more about communication, finances, sexual intimacy, spirituality, and relationship roles. The premarital counselor guides the couple through conversations around these topics, giving room to exchange thoughts and ideas which can draw the couple closer together. The couple often leaves each session with homework in the form of conversations to have as a couple prior to the next session. Premarital counseling usually includes the couple building important relationship skills such as assertive communicating, active listening, setting financial goals, and defining conflict resolution.

Who is Premarital Counseling For?

Most often, premarital counseling is for couples who are recently engaged and moving towards marriage. However, couples who are seriously considering marriage may benefit from premarital counseling. Through the sessions and conversations, a couple can identify points of difference and determine if they desire to fully commit to the relationship.

How long is Marriage Prep?

While typical couples counseling is open ended without a predetermined length, premarital counseling has a specified number of sessions. Premarital counseling programs vary by length. The Center offers six Marriage Prep sessions per couple.

Imagine returning home from the wedding or honeymoon with full confidence about the marriage! Couples who have completed premarital counseling routinely share that they feel more confident tackling important conversations in the future because they are often topics discussed in premarital counseling with the support and coaching of a licensed counselor. The hope of premarital counseling is for each couple to remain close and navigate whatever may come their way!

CLICK for more information on premarital counseling at The Center, or call our office at 214-526-4525.

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