Why Every Couple Should Attend Premarital Counseling
I’ve now had several friends tell me that they loved going to premarital counseling. Well, let me edit that: they loved how much stronger they felt in their relationships after going through the sometimes grueling work they had to do in premarital counseling. The actual counseling part is no walk in the park, and it makes you face issues that you may have otherwise preferred to ignore. But counselors seek to bring up matters that you will, inevitably, face. And isn’t it so much better to discuss them now, when they aren’t actually happening and you aren’t overly emotional? The couples that I know who attended counseling, by the way, were always strong couples as far as I know. They didn’t go to fix problems; they went to prevent problems. Here is why every couple should attend premarital counseling.
You’ll discuss money
You’ll talk about money in several circumstances. You’ll discuss things like, how much you’d want to spend on a child’s high school or college. Would you be paying for college? Would you apply for a loan for your child? Would you be paying that back, or the child? This is just one of hundreds of money talks that will come up.
You’ll discuss parenting
You’ll talk about parenting and come up with rules, now, when you don’t have a child in your face challenging you. How old should your child be before she dates? Will she have a curfew? Will you push her into extracurricular activities, or are those up to her? Will you make her attend your religious place of worship? Or is that also up to her?
You’ll discuss in-laws
You probably both already have a few things you’d like to say (or change) about how you interact with one another’s families. It’s better to set boundaries and address these now, before major things like raising teenagers and refinancing homes come into play.
You’ll discuss infidelity
Nobody wants to talk about this topic when they’re young and in love. But life is long. Life can be hard. All sorts of things can make a couple temporarily lose their connection, and seek a connection elsewhere. It’s just good to hear each other’s thoughts on this. What counts as cheating? What would you do if your partner cheated? What if you had children, and he cheated? Does it matter if it was a one-time thing versus a full affair?
You’ll discuss children with disabilities
Even though it is unlikely, having a child with a disability—physical or mental—is a possibility. And children with disabilities require extra attention and care. Would one of you stay home with the child? Would you hire a nurse? Would you put him in a special school with other kids like him? Or try to integrate him into a traditional school environment?
You’ll discuss your own potential disabilities
It is very possible that, in your lifetime, one of you will become temporarily or permanently disabled. Some setback could make it impossible or very difficult for one partner to continue to work, or even help out with things around the home. How would you handle this?
You’ll be aware of potholes
Your counselor will give you an advanced look at what’s to come. Life has a lot of potholes and too many couples drive right into them. Your counselor has seen easily avoidable mistakes that have ruined relationships. She’ll share these with you.
You’ll learn how the other likes to communicate
You’ll talk about how you like to talk. You and your partner can tell each other, in a calm environment, how you like to be spoken to and what sorts of mediums are the best for sending you a message.
Big issues won’t take you by surprise
While it’s never easy when your marriage faces a bump in the road, discussing those bumps in counseling will make them less of a surprise when they do occur. It’s comforting to know that many of the things you’ll experience are perfectly normal.
You can make game plans for complicated matters
While you are calm, now, you can make game plans for complicated matters. For example, what if one person goes bankrupt? What if one person winds up in the hospital for weeks?
You’ll be around other couples, and can compare
If you do group counseling, you’ll get a look at many other couples and see how they communicate. While in most areas of life, comparing isn’t great, it can be very interesting to see where your relationship stands in relation to several others.
You’ll learn from older couples
You’ll also likely be in a group with older couples, or your counselor(s) will be a part of an older couple. The years bring wisdom and you can learn so much from these older pairs.
You’ll define what a partner means to you
You can discuss your expectations from your partner, and learn his expectations from you. You’ll learn what it really means—to each other—to be lifetime partners. You’ll see if that’s something you can live up to.
You’ll talk about your past and future
You’ll discuss how your past may have affected your future—however difficult that may be. Do you come from a broken home? Did you suffer abuse as a child? This will affect the type of partner and parent you are. It’s important to be aware of any issues your past may have caused, that you need to treat in therapy.
You’ll discuss sex in the long run
Hey, life is long. You won’t always want to have sex. You won’t always have a sex drive, or find sex with one another exciting anymore. How do you feel about that? What would you do to spice things up? What would you both be comfortable doing?