What To Expect With Premarital Counseling
Premarital counseling is essential for couples who want to start their marriage on the right foot. Many couples overlook the essence of premarital counseling, thinking their love for each other will be enough to sustain their relationship.
However, the reality is that a successful marriage requires more than just love. It requires effective communication, trust, and understanding.
Why should you attend a premarital counseling session?
It is a valuable opportunity for couples planning to get married to learn more about each other and develop the skills they need to build a strong, healthy, and long-lasting relationship.
Here are some more reasons why:
- Develop effective communication skills
- Identify potential challenges
- Build trust and intimacy
- Strengthen your relationship
The ultimate goal of any couple is to build a successful marriage. But since that’s not always guaranteed, you should take time to glean guidance and insights from an experienced marriage counselor before the big day.
How to prepare for a premarital counseling session
Preparing for a premarital counseling session can help partners get the most out of their sessions and set the stage for a productive and fulfilling experience.
Here are some specific things that couples should be prepared to do and talk about during premarital counseling sessions:
- Discuss your expectations: Be prepared to talk about your goals, hopes, and dreams for your life together. You may also discuss your expectations around communication, finances, and intimacy.
- Share your values: Be prepared to share your values around religion, family, and lifestyle. This will help you and your partner understand each other’s perspectives and build a stronger foundation for your relationship.
- Participate in communication exercises: Communication is a crucial part of any successful relationship, and premarital counseling will likely include exercises to help you and your partner communicate more effectively. Be prepared to participate in active listening, conflict resolution, and empathy exercises.
- Complete personality assessments: Some premarital counseling programs may involve completing personality assessments, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or the Enneagram. These can help you and your partner understand each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and communication styles.
- Discuss family of origin: Your family of origin can significantly impact your relationship. Be prepared to discuss how your family background has shaped your expectations and values around marriage. You may also discuss how it has influenced your communication style and conflict-resolution skills.
A premarital counseling session can cover a wide range of topics, but the goal is always to help you to build a stronger foundation for your relationship.
Steps in a premarital counseling session
What are the steps involved in a counseling session? Well, the exact structure and content of a premarital counseling session can vary depending on the counselor or therapist and the couple’s needs.
However, here are some typical steps you can expect in a typical premarital counseling session:
Step 1: Introductions
During this step, the counselor or therapist will typically introduce themselves to the couple and explain the goals and structure of the premarital counseling sessions.
The counselor may start by sharing their background and qualifications, including their experience working with couples and their approach to premarital counseling.
They may also provide an overview of what the couple can expect during the counseling sessions, including the topics that will be covered, the duration and frequency of sessions, and any homework or exercises that will be assigned.
After the counselor introduces themselves, they may invite the couple to introduce themselves and share a little bit about their relationship. This can help the counselor better understand the couple’s background, values, and goals for the counseling sessions.
Step 2: Discussion of goals
The counselor will ask the couple to discuss their goals for the counseling sessions. It is an important opportunity for the couple to reflect on their relationship and identify areas where they could benefit from growth and development.
Here are some questions that the therapist may ask:
- How did you two meet, and what drew you to each other?
- What are some of the strengths of your relationship?
- What are some areas of your relationship that you’d like to improve?
- What are your expectations for premarital counseling?
- Do you have something else to share about your relationship or goals for these sessions?
These questions can help the couple feel comfortable and build rapport with the therapist. They are designed to allow the couple to share a bit about themselves and their relationship and their goals and expectations for the premarital counseling sessions.
Step 3: Assessment
The marriage counselor will then assess and gather information about the couple’s relationship and identify areas of strengths and weaknesses.
Here are some ways a therapist may go about it:
Use questionnaires or assessments: The therapist may have the couple complete questionnaires or assessments designed to assess different aspects of their relationship, such as communication style, conflict resolution skills, and values. These assessments can help the therapist better understand the couple’s relationship and identify areas where they may need additional support or guidance.
Conduct interviews: The therapist may conduct individual interviews with each partner to better understand their thoughts and feelings about the relationship and any particular concerns or issues. This can help the therapist tailor the counseling sessions to the couple’s specific needs and concerns.
Observe interactions: The therapist may observe the couple’s interactions during the counseling sessions to assess their communication style, conflict resolution skills, and overall dynamic. This can help the therapist identify areas where the couple may need additional support or guidance and areas of strength in their relationship.
Assess mental health: The therapist may also assess the mental health of each partner to identify any underlying issues that may be affecting the relationship. This can include evaluating for conditions such as depression, anxiety, or trauma and providing referrals for additional support if needed.
The assessment step can help the therapist tailor the counseling sessions to the couple’s specific needs and concerns and develop a plan for helping the couple achieve their goals for their relationship.
Step 4: Education and skill-building
This involves the therapist providing the couple with information and guidance on various topics related to building a healthy and successful marriage.
To build effective communication skills, the therapist may teach the couple how to listen to each other actively, use “I” statements when expressing feelings and needs, and avoid blame and criticism.
The couple may also learn the right ways to resolve conflicts, including compromising, negotiating, and problem-solving.
Step 5: Homework
The homework step in premarital counseling involves the therapist assigning various exercises and activities for the couple to complete outside of the counseling session.
These assignments are designed to help the couple practice and reinforce the skills they’ve learned during the counseling sessions and help them continue building a solid and healthy relationship.
Some common homework assignments may include:
- Conflict resolution exercises: These involve gaining skills to resolve a specific issue or conflict.
- Intimacy-building exercises: These exercises may involve sharing feelings and experiences.
- Financial management exercises: They involve setting up a budget or planning for future financial goals as a couple.
- Other exercises: The therapist may also assign other activities based on the couple’s specific needs and goals, such as journaling or practicing relaxation techniques.
The therapist may follow up on the premarital homework assignments in subsequent sessions to review progress and provide further guidance and support as needed.
What’s the cost of premarital counseling?
The cost of premarital counseling can vary depending on several factors. Some therapists may charge a flat rate per session, while others may offer discounted rates for a package of sessions.
Additionally, some therapists may offer sliding-scale fees based on income or financial need, making counseling more affordable for couples who cannot afford the total session cost.
Other factors that may affect the cost of premarital counseling include the type of therapy offered, the duration of each session, and the location of the therapist’s practice.
While the cost of premarital counseling may seem expensive upfront, remember that it may be the greatest investment in the future of your relationship.
Book a session
After reading this, you should now understand what to expect with premarital counseling. It can be an effective way to help couples build a strong and healthy foundation for their relationship.
But if you have any questions or are interested in premarital counseling, we encourage you to book a consultation with Jousline Savra in Roswell, GA today. She is a highly experienced and professional therapist willing to support you and your partner’s journey toward a happy and healthy marriage. Don’t wait, get started on a healthy marriage today.