It’s natural for anyone who’s getting married to be optimistic – to be confident that nothing can break them apart and nothing can go wrong. The truth is, a lot of things will change after marriage, and even the happiest of all relationships can fall apart without proper preparation, attention, and investment.
This is where premarital counseling comes in. As its name suggests, it is the type of couples therapy in preparation for marriage aiming to help your relationship grow stronger. However, this couples therapy is far from the sweet, romantic talk you might think of. You seek counselors not only to talk about the things you love about each other but the unattractive things you just prefer to keep under the rug.
Ahead are five major reasons why premarital counseling is crucial before tying a knot.
Perhaps you have been receiving a lot of marriage advice from the people you know, including your parents, grandparents and older relatives, and friends who are already married. They give you insights on what relationship problems to expect and how to resolve them. All of these are helpful, but you also need to have an outside opinion – from someone open-minded, completely unbiased, and who has the mastery of addressing relationship problems.
Some people find it uncomfortable to open up to a professional who knows nothing about you personally but this is exactly the point – you can have an objective conversation and ask about anything without the fear of being judged.
Mostly, people resist talking about the “what if” situations, believing that the pessimistic approach will rock the boat and will have a negative impact on their relationship.
The ugly truth about premarital counseling is it has the potential to give more problems for couples to think about – even the problems they haven’t had before they stepped into the therapist’s office. But let this be seen as a good thing. It’s better to force the discussion before marriage than after marriage.
The imperative function of premarital counseling is to establish healthy dynamics which will prevent divorce. Here, couples discuss potential drawbacks, including money issues, anger problems, gambling issues, and jealous tendencies. Before they arise and become bigger, they recognize these things and aim to find ways to overcome them.
It’s safe to say that communication is the most vital element in any relationship. Most arguments stem from not being able to express views, opinions, and expectations effectively. Some people refuse to talk. Some refuse to listen and understand.
You’ll talk about the worst ways to deal with conflicts, like withdrawing, getting defensive, contempt, and criticizing. Premarital counseling will ensure you don’t continue these patterns and will provide tips on how to communicate in an assertive and rational manner in order to refrain from petty verbal fights.
In addition to communication skills, your premarital counselor will also share some practical techniques on how to make your marriage work, including honest tips on how to keep the love burning.
While it’s okay to have certain differences in attitude and interests, married couples should be on the same page when it comes to values and goals in the future. They should have a shared vision of their life together.
Do you mutually agree on having kids? How many kids do you plan to have? What are your expectations when it comes to intimacy? How about finances? These are the things to be spoken out loud so both parties can reach an understanding and come up with a mutually beneficial solution.
Don’t be deceived by Shutterstock photos of premarital counseling sessions, with couples with big smiles on their faces. In premarital counseling, you and your partner dig up any potential pitfalls that could prevent you from having a successful marriage, and in some cases, from getting married in the first place.
When you seek a therapist, major issues will be brought up, including individual flaws and weaknesses. While it’s not a very pleasant thing to happen, such discoveries can save you from tying a knot with the wrong person or to someone with completely incompatible values. It may hurt for now but it can save you from a bigger heartbreak of divorce eventually.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the writers for The Relationship Room, a couples psychology institution specializing in relationship counseling and therapies for couples and families. When she’s not using her pen in writing self-help articles focused on love, dating, and relationships, she spends her time creating poems and screenplays, painting, and making music.