How Pre-Marriage Counseling Can Strengthen Bonds Before You Say, “I Do!”

wedding black couple

Did you know that according to USA Today, close to 50% of American couples in the 21st century are likely to divorce? It may also interest you to know that while the rates may vary from state to state, the probability of people divorcing again after remarrying is even higher. Interestingly, younger generations have more stable unions as compared to their parents and older counterparts. And, the one factor that could contribute to the higher success rates is pre-marriage counseling.

Pre-Marriage Counseling Prepares You to Enter into a Union

Entering into a marital relationship and building a life together comes with a set of challenges. While the love and romance are still new, you may not notice that your partner has various quirks that can later turn into unbearable annoyances. Like the expert counselors at Grace Church Houston recommend, getting couples counseling before saying, “I do!” prepares you for the harsh realities of life together. You’ll likely enter into the sanctity of marriage with a clear view of what to expect and how to handle hurdles and setbacks. By opting to prepare and understand one another, you could avoid the typical pitfalls that tear couples apart.

Find an Expert to Help You Resolve Conflicts Before They Come Up

Should you choose to check around with friends and family, you may learn that more couples are now consulting experts for pre-marriage counseling to help them build more stable relationships. You can talk to any trained person who you’re both comfortable around like, for instance, a community counselor or church elder. A marriage counselor who specializes in couples’ therapy and has the necessary credentials will use various methodologies and models to provide practical advice that you’ll find useful in married life together. Even as you set a date, it is advisable to explore areas where disagreements could emerge and talk about what each partner wants from the marriage just as this feature on the Mayo Clinic advises.

Understand that Every Individual has Baggage

No matter how much you may deny it, every person does have some baggage from their past that is not always connected to past romantic relationships. You and your emotions are a product of experiences that you have had all through life and they define who you are today. These experiences may have occurred during your growing years, and interactions with siblings, old and young family members, and friends. 

First crushes, the people you knew in school or idols you grew up adoring all have an impact on your psyche. Pre-marriage counseling helps you and your partner understand that baggage and why each one is who they are. When you have a disagreement, resolving the issue may be easier with the thought, “I know where this is coming from and I understand” in place of, “What am I doing wrong?”

Resolve Financial Issues

Should you check this article on Good Therapy, you’ll learn that managing finances and who gets to pay for what is one of the key areas where couples may have differing views. Pre-marriage counseling becomes especially helpful in cases where only one of the partners is working or if one is making substantially more money than the other. With the high divorce statistics, many people are concerned about safeguarding their interests in case the relationship fails. Discussing your concerns in a secure, healthy environment could build a strong foundation where you both agree on expenses, investments, and other financial issues.

Talk About Wanting Kids

Pew Research reports statistics revealing that more than a 37% of Americans are just not interested in having kids and are quite happy without taking on the responsibility. A good time to talk about wanting or not wanting kids is before you take your wedding vows. During pre-marriage counseling, both partners will have the opportunity to discuss the possibility of children in the family at a later date. Further, you may also want to define how to juggle roles, who gets to be the stay-at-home parent, and how to manage the expenses of child care. While your thought processes may change a few years into the marriage, opening lines of communication early on is always a positive.

Outline Spending Time with Family

Every individual has different relationships with his or her family members including siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, and others. While you could be particularly close with the people in your circle, your partner may not. Further, he or she may not appreciate being pressured into building connections with the in-laws. For this reason, it may be advisable to talk about how you want to spend holidays and if you would like to visit or have people over. Work out a common ground so that each one knows what life ahead will be about. And, respect the other person’s feelings.

Discuss Your Emotional and Physical Needs

Given that sex and intimacy is the foundation of a marriage, you could build a strong base by opening up about your needs. Are you reserved and prefer to shut down when you’re stressed or upset? Or, maybe, you would want your partner to hold your hand while you rant and rave? What are your ideas of intimacy and how do you feel about affection and public displays? Do you tend to have meltdowns at the smallest issues? Or, are you the only calm, staid person in the middle of chaos? Be open about who you are and the kind of partner you’ll need. You may find it much easier to fulfill the other’s needs in the marriage.

In recent times, pre-marriage counseling is actually a sign of couples being totally committed to each other and wanting to make the relationship work. Giving each other the space and opportunity to talk about feelings and expectations is a good way to lay the groundwork for a stable, long-lasting union that can withstand the worst of setbacks. Invest some time in a session and you may be surprised at how much it helps cement your bonds.

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