“Couples wait for an average of six years of being unhappy with their relationship before getting help.”
John Gottman, a famous American psychologist, was certainly not wrong when he said this. Seeing the constant spiking trend in divorce rates, one can suspect that many couples are not even reaching the stage of asking for help to sort their marriages. It is a lot before the couples end up getting divorced.
But why would they not? Who would want to stay in a bad marriage? Nobody! It is not just depressing, but one can even succumb to the pressure of an unhappy marriage and the toxic environment that comes along with it.
However, time has advanced, and people are now becoming more aware of their mental and emotional health. Thus, almost every adult on the marriage list wants to be in a relationship that helps them and their partner grow together in every aspect of life. And here is where the pre-marriage counselling comes to the rescue.
The therapy sessions helps couple sort the differences, have acceptance for one another, etc. Further, in this article, let us walk you through some related and significant topics about pre-marriage counselling that you must know about.
What is Pre-marriage counselling?
Before the wedding, couples engage in pre-marriage counselling to better their chances of a long and happy marriage. During pre-marriage counselling, these two individuals learn to recognise and deal with concerns that might later lead to marital difficulties.
According to the concept behind pre-marital therapy, couples who are better prepared to deal with challenges that may arise in the future will have a better chance of avoiding them altogether once they do occur.
We all enter a marriage with our baggage and perspective about family, relationships, and communication. Even the most compatible partners can have conflicting views on what marriage and family should be like. And, if those differences aren’t spoken about, they can cause a rift between the two individuals involved.
It is believed that stronger and better relationships can be built only when couples work through their differences with the assistance of a trained marital and family therapist.
Types of Pre-marriage counselling
As per experts, you will come across many pre-marriage counselling therapies that can be applied to couples at different stages of their relationships. Many psychotherapists may take an integrated and holistic approach to couples counselling and draw from various approaches, depending on the specific requirements of their clients.
Below are some of the various types of pre-marriage therapies that the experts can use:
1. Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
Emotionally focused couples therapy is a brief and organized psychotherapy that typically lasts around 10 to 20 sessions and focuses on improving emotional connections between partners.
Its purpose is to facilitate the development of a more stable and secure emotional relationship between two people. EFT helps couples with PTSD, depression, frequent disputes, adultery, and chronic health concerns.
2. Gottman Method
In the 1980s, Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman founded a new type of pre-marriage therapy known as the Gottman Method. It’s a research-based strategy for couples counselling that aims to help them gain a deeper knowledge, understanding, compassion, and feeling of belonging in their relationships.
This therapy helps married people understand and prioritize the natural defenses that can get in the way of effective conversation and companionship. It does this by combining therapeutic strategies with exercises specifically designed for couples.
3. Psychodynamic Couples Therapy
Psychodynamic counselling emphasises that every one of us is vulnerable to various unconscious thoughts, the effects of which may make our actions and feelings seem incomprehensible to our conscious selves. There are instances when we find ourselves making decisions that are not beneficial to ourselves.
Having the time and space in therapy to talk about our thoughts with someone who can hear our subconscious signals might help us uncover some of our most buried memories. It helps us understand our emotions and reduces their influence over our decisions.
The psychodynamic approach focuses on the present. You’ll learn how your previous experiences shape your present-day behaviour and emotions.
Importance of Pre-marriage counseling
The entire pre-marriage counseling process addresses many unsolved issues and challenges that a couple will probably face.
You get help in having better conversations.
In the pre-marriage counseling sessions, the couples get to talk to a counselor who is well-versed in the process of encouraging their clients to communicate their fears and weaknesses openly in front of each other.
Couples who have been through this form of therapy undoubtedly develop good conversation skills since they have an unbiased third party present to assist them in better understanding one other. Pre-marital counseling has a significant impact on you and your partner.
Aside from improving their communication skills, couples learn how to reach a common agreement independently. They develop empathy and communication abilities that will aid them in adverse situations.
You will find new things about your partner
When counseling couples, marriage counselors often ask a tonne of questions. On the way, you will learn a lot about your partner by paying close attention to the answers that they give to the asked questions.
Many people in relationships believe they are the only ones who understand their partner. However, pre-marital therapy has the potential to help bring out important details that the couple may have been unwilling to reveal before the wedding.
It is a great way for couples to learn more about each other and grow together. Additionally, it is a secure environment where people can discuss many things with their partners that make them uncomfortable or upset about the situation.
You'll receive trustworthy counsel based on research
That brings us to the fourth persuasive reason in favour of your participation in pre-marriage counselling. The information you get here isn’t simply a bunch of suggestions but is meant to help you for a lifetime.
The experts possess the real scientific data that informs us of what does and does not work in married relationships, what we should do and what not to do. The complete information therapists provide based on the research proves its trustworthiness and validity.
You can plan the future with your partner
There are many other things that premarital counsellors do besides helping couples work through their problems. They also assist them in planning the future. A pre-marriage counselling may assist couples in creating financial or family planning objectives and support them in finding means by which such objectives might be achieved.
Pre-marital therapy is a good place for couples to discuss their aspirations for marriage and future goals. Pre-marital counselling assists clients in concentrating on healthy objectives and relationship modifications.
You will gain an honest review of your intentions
The famous dialogue “you don’t know what you don’t know” is true. When it comes to marriages, there are several things you are unaware of, and then there are things that you can’t know until you get married.
When we get married, we all bring a set of assumptions and expectations that we aren’t even conscious of. We believe our method is correct because that’s how we did it growing older, and it’s normal. However, the issue is that this may one day lead to never-ending conflicts.
Receiving counseling can help you understand how to manage relationships with care by assessing your own problem areas.
Pre-marital therapy is an excellent approach to discussing pre-existing thoughts and expectations with an impartial third party who can help you create a new family way to do things. They’ll help you communicate and work through those areas, so they pull you closer together rather than cause difficulties and drive you away.
You can’t be fully ready for marriage, but all you can be is – better than before!
What are the topics discussed during counseling?
Below are some very important topics that should be discussed during pre-marriage counseling.
Finances and Money
Therapists aren’t financial planners, but they may help you open up the channels of discussion about your money.
Money may be a sensitive topic, particularly for couples planning to combine earnings. It would help if you talked about your wedding and honeymoon finances, as well as any outstanding debt and how you plan to manage your finances once you are married.
Before combining your money and assets, be honest about your financial status. It’s one of the most important pre-marital counseling questions to ask.
Overcoming Past Issues
Discussing how your previous experiences will impact your relationship in pre-marriage therapy is a good idea. A previous relationship in which your trust was broken might influence how you treat your going-to-be spouse.
It’s important to talk about your past together during the therapy to figure out how it will affect your future. When it comes to therapy, it’s important to ask your spouse about topics that are relevant to their life. Couples’ counseling may help them work through their uncomfortable experiences to make much better emotional choices in the future.
It is necessary for you both to be on the same page about having kids and pets. Surprisingly, only a few couples discuss family planning before marriage. Consider discussing whether and when you wish to start a family, how many kids you want, the proper parenting approaches, financial preparation, and more.
Not being ready for children may damage a marriage. Pre-marriage counseling may help you work through your disagreements regarding wanting children, how and where to raise them, and how to have a good love life while parenting.
Almost, everybody who is getting married or engages has certain preconfigured beliefs and assumptions about what a marriage would be like. Both of you must have already planned a few things in your own minds.
However, amidst all this, none of the couples realise that there are two people in a relationship with entirely different opinions and values. Men may not be loud about their feelings, but they have expectations.
Thus, discussing all of these before your marriage can help you understand and fulfill each other’s expectations.
Lastly, in a nutshell, we can conclude that with the help of pre-marriage counselling, a couple can spend a lifetime of happiness and compassion. They have the chance to talk about their objectives for their marriage and how they can work on developing the needed skills for a successful relationship.
Before getting hitched, couples may work out their problems and determine their differences during these therapy sessions. This can prevent many problems that might lead to future separation or divorce.
This counselling can be done in various ways and with tons of questionnaires. However, the main objective is always the same: to help newlyweds build their relationship so they can last a lifetime.