Premarital Counseling: How It Can Help
So, you’ve recently gotten engaged, congratulations! Marriage is a wonderful stepping stone in your life. Premarital counseling is a great decision to make to help your marriage start off well, as guidance from a counselor can help you and your fiancé work to create a firm foundation. Premarital counseling can help you and your fiancé cover issues that may or may not be on your radar yet.
As you work through premarital counseling, you will boost your ability to address normal challenges in the first few years of your marriage. Couples who do not receive counseling have a greater chance of failing to get through these big challenges with success. All of the time that you invest in premarital counseling is designed to help you and your fiancé become more loving and intentional via your thoughts, words, and actions toward one another.
You, together with your Christian counselor, will strengthen your relationship in many ways in premarital counseling. In the counselor’s office, you will have help identifying your strengths, weaknesses, and any blind spots you may have. This will better prepare you for the long-term commitment of marriage.
You will also get a preview of common challenges married couples tend to face over time and make a plan for how to work through those problems as a team of husband and wife. By doing this, you and your fiancé can start developing positive habits of communication for your marriage.
The Uniqueness of Your Relationship
At the beginning of your relationship together, it’s likely you can list many things that you find attractive about your future spouse. However, the storms of life will inevitably affect your relationship. That’s when it’s easy to lose sight of how unique your relationship is and how much it is worth preserving. The time you invest now in becoming clear about the unique ways your future spouse blesses you will pay off when those storms of life hit your marriage.
During premarital counseling, your counselor will help you look at every aspect of the unique dynamics of your relationship. You will get to see how each of you contributes to the relationship as individuals as well as learn how you can work better together as a team. Your counselor can help you see how both your strengths and weaknesses can affect future decisions and conflicts.
You have probably heard it said that love is blind. Romantic love is wonderful, but it does tend to focus only on the good aspects of our partner. By working with a counselor before you get married, you can have a clearer picture of what to expect in your marriage through the eyes of an objective third party who can see any potential warning flags.
Romance doesn’t last, but instead ebbs and flows across the years of any relationship. With premarital counseling, you can gain tools to strengthen your marriage for times when the blind romance is non-existent to help you through the trials.
In a perfect world, both partners enter a marriage with full emotional health. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Premarital counseling gives you the opportunity to build up emotional health in some weak areas so you can head off future problems. You will do both yourself and your spouse a favor by healing any hurt areas before you get married.
How Premarital Counseling Can Help
A common trial for couples is communicating and processing pain or conflict with one another. Often times your fiancé’s upbringing and life experiences will dictate a very different approach to difficult situations.
This difference, whether it be a huge disparity in emotional health or simply a very different way of coping causes a divide in couples that can become very difficult to navigate. By laying a foundation of skills as well as talking through these topics prior to marriage, couples can gain a sense of how to navigate this without furthering the divide.
Your counselor may employ personality tests or other tools to help you both discover unique aspects of your relationship. The tools are designed to show you in which areas you are most compatible and which areas could use greater improvement or understanding.
You and your fiancé will work to gain greater self-awareness and awareness of one another’s needs. This increased awareness can help you love one another with more sensitivity and an eye toward eliminating unnecessary conflicts.
Most adults did not grow up learning how to handle conflict in healthy ways. Many families never operated with a healthy anger management style. But conflict is certain between two imperfect people in a lifetime commitment such as marriage.
You could have many difficult fights with your future spouse if you do not know how to handle conflict in a productive and respectful way. But you can learn how to address your unique dynamics early in your relationship with a qualified counselor’s help.
Premarital counseling is an excellent tool for helping you and your future spouse learn how to handle conflict in a healthy way. Whether you bottle your feelings inside or tend to vent your feelings in anger, your counselor can help you handle your feelings in a more productive manner. The skills you will gain in counseling sessions will help not only in your marriage but all other relationships.
Though conflict in marriage is certain, it isn’t always bad. If you handle conflict the right way, it can help you understand one another more, learn more about one another, and gain mutual respect.
In premarital counseling sessions, your counselor can role-play situations with you so you learn how to assertively handle conflict without disrespecting your spouse. Since over half of marriage issues don’t have a right or wrong solution, you can learn to disagree and still respect one another.
Conflicts often arise simply due to personality clashes. By studying your personality differences in counseling sessions, you can avoid painful clashes at a later date. You will have your eyes wide open to one another’s differences and will be much better equipped to handle them throughout your marriage.
Preserving Your Commitment
No newly engaged couple thinks their commitment is in danger. However, with a world that supports divorce as a viable choice while hiding any to all disadvantages/consequences of it, even a Christian marriage can fall into danger of divorce. But when you attend premarital counseling, you can reduce that risk by developing skills to use in the decades ahead.
Working together as a team is essential for preserving your commitment. You become advocates for each other when you get married. You need to feel that your partner has your back when the tough times arrive, so being advocates for each other is essential. Your counselor can help you see the areas where you may need to serve as advocates for one another.
It’s common for couples to slowly drift apart as the years pass. Other priorities can often get in the way of nurturing the marriage, and this will slowly erode your commitment to one another. But in premarital counseling, you can form plans to strengthen your commitment to one another daily, so your marriage retains the right priority status in your lives.
Satan will also try to destroy the commitment you have to one another. In counseling sessions, you will learn about common traps he lays so you can sidestep them in the future. Your counselor can also teach you how to use God’s Word to shield you from spiritual attacks and equip you to fight back as you work to preserve your commitment.
You may think that you are on the same page with your future spouse on most things before the wedding. However, the chance of disappointment increases if you don’t discuss your goals ahead of time. A Christian counselor will assist you in discussing both individual and team goals and the ways that you can work toward these goals as a couple.
Unrealistic expectations are common with new love. It can be hard to see how you could possibly disagree with your future spouse on the goals you seem to share. You can gain clarity and wisdom in meetings with your counselor, where you will discuss goals for careers, children, finances, family life, and other important areas.
Sex is a very important part of marriage, but it is not the only way to cultivate intimacy in your relationship. You also need to make non-sexual intimacy a priority so you can keep the good feelings in play between you and your spouse.
In counseling sessions, your counselor will talk about what you both expect regarding sexual intimacy and non-sexual intimacy. If there are past hurts in these areas, the counselor can help you heal before your marriage.
Sex isn’t always an easy topic to discuss, but your counselor will make future discussions between you and your spouse easier by getting things out in the open. You will gain practical help for resisting temptation and honoring your spouse as you build intimacy.
In-law relationships can often create problems for newly married couples. You may have already noticed drama in either of your families before the wedding ever occurs. But the Bible clearly teaches married couples to leave their families and cleave to one another (Genesis 2:24), and your premarital counseling sessions will cover how you can do this well—regardless of the zip code you use.
Your counselor will role-play scenarios with you so you can learn to set healthy boundaries in your marriage. You will gain practical help, whether your in-laws are distant or overbearing. It’s helpful to speak about in-law issues with your counselor before the wedding so you can protect your marriage from problems in the future.
Premarital Counseling for You
If you’re ready to start premarital counseling, we would love to help you get started. Set up your first appointment with a Christian counselor today. We look forward to helping you prepare for many blessings to come.
“Bible and Rings”, Courtesy of StockSnap, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Talking”, Courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Heart Hands”, Courtesy of Kristina Litvjak, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Holding Hands”, Courtesy of Imam Muhaimin, Unsplash.com, CC0 License