When a couple becomes engaged they are making the decision to take their relationship to the next level. This is serious and should not be taken lightly. Church members are required to participate in pre-marital counseling prior to saying “I DO” if they want their pastor, priest, or bishop to marry them. Troy and I engaged in marital counseling and I learned a lot about him, and myself. If you are not a member of a church you can sign up for pre-marital counseling with a licensed professional. Some people go through their insurance or employee assistance program for a reference. However, most churches require couples to participate in pre-marital counseling within the church prior to performing the wedding ceremony.
I scheduled group counseling sessions through our church, and with a licensed therapist. Both types are rewarding and I always say the more counseling the better. Marriage is a major step, and it’s important to go through the proper channels to understand what marriage entails. Every therapist and marriage counselor facilitator will have different opinions but it’s good to be open and hear from people with experience.
Tips for Marital Therapy
- Take notes
- Ask questions no matter how silly you think they sound
- Get involve with assignments
- Have fun
Find someone that works for you and your fiancé, a great connection with a therapist is important. If there is someone you feel is not a good match for you and your fiancé, search for another therapist. However, if they are giving you their best opinion about you and your fiancé it’s good to be open and hear what they have to say. Be prepared to talk to your fiancé outside group sessions. It’s good to review topics that were discussed in class and bring up scenarios for the future. Finances and communication are hot topics during counseling.
Finances and communication are hot topics during counseling. Divorces are caused by a lack of communication, loss of an income, or infidelity in a marriage. Be prepared to talk about this in counseling, and listen to strategies on how to keep your marriage engaging. Things in life happen and we can NEVER predict the future. EVERYTHING should be on the table when you go to counseling. While Troy and I attended counseling our
facilitator told our class that divorce is not an option.
Group therapy allows individuals to listen to stories from other couples. For pre-martial counseling, group therapy is typically
within a church. You will talk to each other about common issues couples face. You will learn about each other and create a bond that can last a lifetime. Some people build relationships with other couples in group therapy. It can be nice having another couple to talk to who is taking the same steps as you and your fiancé. Sessions can last 6-12 weeks. A lot will be taught within those weeks and you will know more about yourself than expected.
Individual therapy allows you to be personal with the therapist and your fiancé. Some people feel better talking to a therapist individually because they don’t want other people in their business. Licensed therapists are required to be confidential with whatever you tell them during the session. It’s common for couples to open up and bring up issues that are concerning to them. Individual counseling can get intended but the goal is to understand your fiancé and know what is required in a marriage.
Whichever counseling choice you decided, talk about what is concerning to you and your fiancé. There may be things your fiancé do that is annoying and they don’t
know about it. Express how you feel when they don’t do something you ask them to do. Be honest when you are in therapy and understand counseling doesn’t stop after you say I DO.
Holidays are a hot topic. As a married couple, you and your spouse will have to determine your plans for the holidays. If you always go home for the holidays and your fiancé goes with you, you may have to switch things up once you are married. When children come into the equation things can get complicated. You may want the baby to play with your nieces and nephews, while he wants to hang out with his uncles and have the baby spend time with his family. Sadly you and your spouse cannot be in two places at the same time.
If both of your parents want you to come over for Thanksgiving dinner you and your spouse will have to decide where to go. It’s common for couples to take turns for the holidays. If you or your spouse family live far away it can make things complicated. However, this is something you will have to comprise. It may sound silly now but it’s good to plan ahead for holiday events.Starting traditions with your spouse is a great alternative during the holidays. If you and your spouse don’t want to juggle seeing family, you can host a holiday event at your house and invite everyone over. This can be fun and everyone will be happy. It will allow the families to come together and keep you and your spouse happy at the same time.
Overall, marriage counseling can be fun, informative, and rewarding for any couple. While we attended group therapy our facilitator encouraged seriously dating couples to participate in pre-martial counseling. It’s good to know who you are dating and see if they’re who you want to spend the rest of your life with. The sooner you do pre-martial counseling, the better. Most group and individual counselors will give you workbooks to complete outside of group sessions. From my experience, Troy and I met with the facilitator one on one at some point before the 6 weeks was up and discussed what we learned from the class. We discuss what peeked our interest and it was good to meet with the facilitator one on one. They gave their opinion about us as individuals and informed us their thoughts about us as a couple.
If a facilitator does not feel comfortable with you being married, they will let you know. It’s important to take their advice. If there are things that need to be work on between you and your fiancé I’d advise you work on them together. No matter what the issue may be, it’s vital to work on anything that can hinder a marriage. As mentioned earlier, marriage is not to be taking lightly, but if you and your fiancé are willing to work on anything to keep a strong relationship, your marriage will be fine!