Curious about premarital counseling? Our experts are here to dish everything you can expect to discuss if you sit down with a therapist before your big day.
1. You’ll define your marriage expectations and role beliefs.
You may have one idea of what marriage looks like and what it means to be a spouse — and be blissfully unaware your soon-to-be husband feels very differently. In marriage counseling, you’ll uncover what you each believe and have experienced about marriage, says Lesli Doares, marriage coach and author of Blueprint For A Lasting Marriage. “You’ll talk about what each person expects the other to do and be, as well as how each of you sees the structure of the marriage,” she says.
2. You’ll analyze how your past affects your future.
To some degree, we’re all products of our environments and experience. Premarital counseling will ask you to dig deep and see if you’ve formed any impressions about marriage based on what you saw growing up or went through with a past love. “It is important to talk through your backgrounds because of transference, which is a term that means we transfer qualities and recreate dynamics from old relationships onto new ones, and this is usually unconscious,” says Toni Coleman, psychotherapist and relationship coach. “Talking about them allows people to make more conscious healthy choices, and relate in healthier ways.”
3. You’ll come up with a plan for how you’ll resolve conflicts.
Warns Doares, “If a couple cannot freely discuss any subject, no matter how personal or difficult, the marriage is going to be a struggle.” In marriage counseling, you’ll work with a therapist to foster communication and conflict resolutions skills you can carry with you long after you leave. “Good communication skills aren’t enough to keep a marriage healthy, but without them the chance of success in any other area is diminished,” Doares says.
4. You’ll get real about money.
We all know that money has a way of ruining marriages. So to prevent future financial fights, you’ll lay out all your money thoughts in premarital counseling. “It is a very personal topic — and each partner is going to have a different relationship to money,” says Doares. “There should be no secrets or shame around money in a healthy marriage. Getting clear on each one’s money story, past and present financial history, and common future goals and intentions can help a couple avoid this common relationship pitfall.” Read more