Pre Marriage Counseling
Pre marriage counseling is a good idea for couples who are engaged or plan to get married in the near future. Although these relationships are generally strong and happy, pre marriage counseling can help to work out any initial issues and make sure that the couple is solid enough for marriage. Wouldn’t it be better to seek pre marriage counseling to iron out problems and seek guidance, than to seek marriage counseling years down the line when you feel the marriage is on the rocks?
Why Seek Pre Marriage Counseling?
Here are some good reasons to seek pre marriage counseling:
- You are young, and have never been married before
- You or your partner has a fear of commitment
- You have a hard time resolving difficult conflicts together
- You or your partner had a previously failed marriage, and you want to avoid a recurrence
- You have a need for conflict resolution skills
- You or your partner has a history of childhood or sexual abuse
- You will be blending families
What is Pre Marriage Counseling?
A professional marriage or family therapist, or sometimes a member of the clergy depending on your religious beliefs and choices, facilitates pre marriage counseling. Pre marriage counseling is designed to address two main areas of interest: guiding you in developing skills to successfully journey through your marriage and future, and resolving any existing problems that could interrupt the benefits of your relationship and marriage. Your pre marriage counselor will most likely use an assessment tool such as the PreMarital Inventory (PMI) that serves as a list-style questionnaire to address similarities you share and areas that might need more communication between you and your partner.
What Does the PreMarital Inventory Assess?
The PMI asks several questions which both partners answer. It is in list form, and asks simple questions such as “Are you able to trust your partner?” and “How will you divide the household chores?” It covers important areas like interests, what roles each partner will fulfill, communication, religion, children, sexuality, finances and more. It is a simple yet effective way to see where each partner stands, and what beliefs are shared. It can be eye opening to see that your partner expects you to do all of the housework or prepare all of the meals when you never expected it, for example. As a couple who is about to encounter a great life journey of marriage together, it’s important to be realistic and know that there will be challenges to work out together.
What Should You Do?
If you are engaged, it’s a great idea to seek pre marriage counseling. It doesn’t mean that you are already having problems or that you are unsure of your marriage, or are too weak to deal with problems on your own, so beware any preconceived stigmas about it. It can help to strengthen and put your relationship into a positive perspective for all of the future adventures you will be sharing together.
- Family-Marriage-Counseling.com – Information for pre marriage counseling, how important it can be and the areas in can help to improve.
- Marriage.About.com – An About.com article listing a pre marriage questionnaire that is helpful for engaged couples.
- IDoVows.com – Another list-style questionnaire for pre marriage, divided into different categories.
- Suite101.com – Great information on the benefits of premarital counseling.