Lisa Brookes Kift explains how premarital counseling helps your marriage start on the right foot
The amount of money spent on weddings is incredible, and why not? it's an unforgettable and, hopefully, life-lasting union between two people who love and are committed to each other. It's interesting then, how few people choose to invest in premarital education while planning their wedding budget. Relationships require work to remain vibrant and healthy. I suspect that the reason premarital counseling is overlooked by couples is that they are caught up in the honeymoon bliss of their romance that they don't stop to think of what obstacles may come appear down the line and how they will deal with them together. Life will throw you a curve ball at some point, premarital counseling will help you have as many tools in your marriage toolbox as possible to assist you in your relationship when this happens.
As a couple’s therapist, I’ve seen my fair share of married couples hanging at the “end of their ropes,” emotionally disconnected and often times really angry at each other! I’ve wondered if things would have been different for them if they’d done premarital work. This was the inspiration for me to write The Premarital Counseling Workbook for Couples.
If you’re unfamiliar with the elements of premarital education, here are just a few of the potential benefits of doing this kind of work:
- Learn to communicate effectively. This is probably the single most important skill to have as a couple. Learning the importance of keeping the dialogue channels open and how to argue without doing damage are two elements of this.
- Discuss role expectations and marriage logistics. Have you talked about who will do what in the marriage and how things will run in the home? What about job, kids, no kids, where to live, how to handle finances, chores, parenting, religion, no religion etc?
- Explore family of origin wounds and lessons learned. We learn a lot about how to “be” in relationship from our parents. If the messages are positive and affirming that’s great but if there’s been trauma, violence, conflict, absent parents, etc – then one or both partners may be wounded from this and still carrying some of it into the marriage. Premarital counseling helps couples talk about this with empathy and support.
- Develop personal, marriage and family goals. Where do you see yourselves in five years? What do you each expect to be happening? Are you on the same page or could you benefit from more discussion?
The great news is that there are a lot of ways to get the necessary marriage tools for your toolbox. There is a range in cost between all of them. If you’re interested in making a marriage investment in relationship strengthening, here are some options:
- licensed relationship therapist like a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT)
- self-help book or workbook
Whichever way resonates with you, the important thing is to just do it for the longevity and health of your marriage. It’s an investment that could potentially continue to pay dividends for years to come.
Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT, is a couples therapist, author of The Premarital Counseling Workbook for Couples and creator of The Love and Life Toolbox by Lisa Kift Therapy, with tools for emotional and relationship health by Lisa and other therapy/coaching professionals.
Make an appointment at Estes Therapy for premarital counseling
About Jennine Estes, MFT
Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653