Do you have questions about premarital counseling? Are you or someone you love looking for a therapist to help get started off on the right foot? Health Research Fund estimates that couples who underwent premarital counseling before their wedding had a 30% higher marital satisfaction rate to those who did not attend counseling before their wedding. And if a couple goes to counseling for 6-8 sessions somewhere around 4-6 months before their wedding day, they may only be looking at 1-5% of their total wedding budget. Premarital counseling is a GREAT investment that is statistically supported to improve the quality and longevity of your marriage.
Licensed Marriage and family therapist of San Diego, Lindsay Wilson, says this:
“I always tell my couples that I have no business giving them the stamp of approval to get married or not. I want them to bring their whole selves into the therapy room without fear that I will tell them something definitive about the success of their marriage. I tell them: therapy is the place to bring your ‘dirty laundry’, don’t bring the already put-together parts of your relationship, bring the stuff that needs to be cleaned out and worked through.”
3 Common Questions
So, here are three quick questions that you may be asking about Christian premarital counseling:
1. What will we talk about?
Many therapists encourage couples to complete a relationship compatibility test that highlights a couples strengths and areas that need growth such as SYMBIS or Prepare and Enrich (you can research these assessments online). They are low cost and produce helpful statistics to help uniquely design the focus and topics most important for the couple. Premarital counseling is not “one size fits all.” Some couples excel in the area of finances, where another may need to spend more time discussing budgeting and saving strategies. Some couples score high on mutual understanding about sex and sexually-related issues, where other couples may have never shared their thoughts or expectations about this. So, you can expect to be affirmed and validated regarding topics that you thrive in currently, and you can anticipate a prediction and exploration of possible areas of needed growth.
2. Will we fight?
Hopefully! Learning to “fight fair” is a great use of your premarital counseling time. Conflict is not only inevitable, it is healthy and can be very helpful. In therapy, you will learn to see from the perspective of your soon-to-be spouse; you will learn how to connect more deeply and intentionally, and how to have conflict in a way that grows you as individuals and as a couple. It is possible to have “productive” disagreements that will ultimately edify and benefit you and those around you. Going into these sessions with the expectation that conflict will arise and choosing to remain open (verses defensive) will create meaningful learning and development in your relationship.
3. Are there any recommended books for engaged couples?
Books can be a great resource and avenue for addressing current and potential challenges. There are five that we love here at Cornerstone and recommend to our premarital couples (but are actually very helpful for marriage enrichment as well).
- Hold Me Tight – Sue Johnson
- The Meaning of Marriage – Timothy Keller
- Love and War – John and Stasi Eldredge
- The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work – John Gottman
- 5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman
Premarital counseling helps begin dialogue about common topics that are important for a successful marriage and builds a solid, biblical foundation. We desire for your marriage to be more beautiful than your wedding day! Give us a call at 720-594-4469 or email us at [email protected] to set up an appointment.
What other questions do you have? Are there are other books that you have read or resources that you have come across that you have found helpful? Please share with us. Comment below!