Premarital counseling is recommended for all couples considering committing to a shared life for the long-term. ‘Premarital’ may not be the best term, as not all couples define their commitment in terms of marriage, but the concept is the same: To receive support from an experienced third party in exploring issues that can affect the trajectory of your lives together. Good premarital counseling assesses any areas that could create stress going forward, helps you develop the skills to prevent those problems from happening, and helps you in discussing matters that are likely to be important to your partnership. Premarital work helps couples develop greater awareness of their strengths and weaknesses, and provides guidance and resources to keep a relationship as strong and fun-loving as possible.
Although premarital counseling is often offered in churches or by a pastor if you choose one to marry you, this kind of premarital counseling may not be as in-depth or as comprehensive as what a counseling setting may offer. Most pastors are not relationship specialists, and may not have the training or experience to fully assess and support the full complexity of couples issues. Another benefit of doing your premarital counseling in a therapy setting is the familiarity with and connection to a resource you can use if life gets more stressful and you need extra support.
Couples are encouraged to sign up for three separate, 50 or 80 min. counseling sessions to cover the foundational components of long-term relationship as well as any issues unique to your partnership. At that point, a counselor can discuss with you areas in which he/she feels the relationship is strong as well as areas that as a couple you might want to keep an eye on. Improving skill in certain areas may be recommended to avoid future problems and support good habits from the beginning of a life partnership. We love doing premarital counseling and helping couples build healthy habits from the outset of their relationship. This type of counseling is especially important for young couples engaging in their first life-long relationship commitment.