Pre-marital counseling is a preventive tool.
It is used to help establish a foundation early in the relationship, offer advice on ways to maintain a healthy connection and create a lasting commitment through effective communication. Relationships are an investment; the more you put into it, the more it will grow and mature. The more it grows and matures, the more you will get out of it. Statistics show that nearly 50% of marriages end in divorce (US Census Bureau, February 2002), pre-marital counseling can help couples avoid becoming part of that statistic.
What to expect in Pre-Marital Counseling:
Depending on the therapist, sessions will explore many aspects of the relationship. Some of the areas addressed include conflict resolution, communication styles, intimacy, family/family-in-law issues and dynamics, financial issues, and more. As a therapist, I help my client couples understand how they interact, ways to be more effective in their communications, and how to continue to grow throughout the relationship. Most of my pre-marital counseling sessions are short-term, lasting 2 to 4 sessions, but some couples may require a longer period of time depending on the issues.
Finding a Pre-marital Therapist:
- Interview the Therapist: Ask the therapist what their specialty is and the experience they have working with pre-marital counseling. This is your time to interview and weed out the therapists that you do not like. The internet is a popular place to look for therapists; take a look at their photos, review their websites, and learn other information about them.
- Contact Several Counselors Before Deciding: Contact two to three therapists and interview them. Take notes and keep track with the one you feel the most comfortable with. Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are specialized in relationships and communicating. I highly recommend using a therapist specifically trained in relationships.
- Feel Comfortable: While interviewing the therapist, the most important thing to keep in mind is your comfort level. Do you feel comfortable speaking with the therapist? Do you feel like the therapist understands you and can provide what you want?
- Address the Fees: Be honest with yourself and determine what you are willing — and able — to invest in the relationship. The relationship is the foundation, and everything else is positively or negatively impacted by it. If you can’t afford a therapist’s fee, ask if they have a sliding scale (which may include a lower fee slot) or whether they have any recommendations that might accommodate your situation.
Premarital counseling helps build the foundation to a strong and long lasting marriage. Book an appointment today or if check out other resources online, like this premarital workbook to get started at your own pace.
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