GETTING THE MOST OUT OF PRE-MARITAL COUNSELING

October 29, 2014

I remember my pre-marital counseling like it was yesterday. We had a total of 4 sessions in which we went through a work book and several passages of Scripture. We discussed our relationship, our hopes, and fears, but I will say (shamefully), we weren't completely honest about everything about our relationship. We didn't take full advantage of the resources and help we were given. If we had taken full advantage, we A. May not have gotten married (which would have prevented the divorce) or B. We would have really evaluated and looked at our relationship and worked on making it better.

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I want to offer some advice for you "to-be-marrieds" so you can take full advantage of pre-marital counseling. If you choose not to go through pre-marital counseling, I encourage you to change your mind. Even if you are already married, marriage counseling can do wonders as well! Is it the cure-all to all marriage problems, no, but you can rest assured knowing you did all you could do.

1. Be honest with your counselor. Whether your counselor is a licensed professional or a pastor, always be honest with him/her. Its important the counselor understand your relationship to its fullest. If there are underlying concerns or issues, counseling is the time to meet them head on. You certainly don't want to allow deception to creep into your relationship. Always get things out and on the table.

2. Share your fears. Being nervous or scared is normal when you're deciding to marry someone and spend your life with him/her. I was not honest about my fears about marriage and becoming a wife. I was scared about the future and leaving my parents, but I didn't voice it. Looking back now I should have been more up front about the normal fears that I experienced.

3. Religion is a factor. Whether you are Christian, Muslim, or Buddhist, there are elements of these religions that set a foundation for marriage. I have met several couples and been friends with couples that are either different religions, or one cared more about religion than the other. Marriage is not the way to convert your significant other, and your faith affects everything from raising kids, to celebrating life events, to dealing with life circumstances. Talk about your faith and do what you can to incorporate those beliefs into your marriage. It will be stronger for it.

4. Budget. Budget. Budget. Money was a hard thing for me to talk about. When we went to pre-marital counseling, we hardly talked about finances, and I think my marriage suffered. If you are spender or a saver, if you have no debt or $40,000 of debt, talk about this in pre-marital counseling. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard my friends talk about their finances and be shocked when their spouse divulged the amount of debt they were in. Talk about this way before you walk down the aisle.

5. Let's talk about sex. Sex is still a taboo subject for some people and sharing it with your counselor or pastor can be very difficult. Don't skate through this subject just because its uncomfortable. Aside from finances, sex is the second primary cause of divorce. Sex affects everything and everything affect sex. If you are in a hurry to get between the sheets with your significant other, you are not alone. Lots of couples who have waited are excited to embark on this new exciting journey, but everyone's expectations are different. If you and your partner are sexually involved, then be honest about it, and talk about it just as you have everything else.

If you went through pre-marital counseling and have any tips, comment below!


7 comments:

  1. As a premarital counselor, I could write a book! Most couples spend way more time and energy preparing for the wedding ceremony than they do preparing for the marriage. Before my husband and I counsel with the engaged couple, they each have to fill out a booklet that covers everything, starting with their parent's marriage and also covering sex, children, finances, etc. They are instructed to complete the questions by themselves. Before we meet with the couple, my husband and I go over the forms and get a feel of what they need to work on. Some couples are really honest and open and others skip over questions and act like it's not a big deal. I would like to say that we have a 100% success rate as far as couples divorcing, but it's not true. Great post!

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    1. Wow, I didn't realize you were a pre-marital counselor! That is awesome. I think booklets are very helpful, as long as both parties are up front and honest. I never thought about the impact of the parent's marriage, but that is a factor as well! Good comment! Thanks for reading.

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  2. Premarital Counseling is SO SO important! My daughter went to it before her wedding... TRUE STORY.... and she came home crying! She said .. the preacher refuses to marry us!!!! Ha Ha.. I can laugh now...She found another preacher that just wanted to get paid and 1 year later she was divorced!

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    1. Oh wow! That is awful, but just goes to show how important it really is!

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  3. I wish my husband and I could have gone to premarital counseling! I think it would have helped us so much!

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  4. I can definitely see this would have helped me and hubs - I don't know if I would have been honest though! Hehe Then again I was sooo young, if it were now I would probably be pretty straight up. Great tips!

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  5. Premarital counseling is a MUST! It's never too late to get counseling either...yes, even after marriage! It makes a big difference.

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