7 Benefits to Premarital Counseling

It’s generally accepted that premarital education programs help clients learn skills that are beneficial and contribute to the overall health of relationships. There is also some research that suggests premarital counseling helps prevent divorce as well.

Premarital counseling is frequently conducted through programs affiliated with a particular faith or religion. Often religious leaders will require the couples attend some counseling before they officiate their wedding. However, this requirement doesn’t exist for couples that aren’t affiliated with any religious institution and are choosing to get married. Research shows that premarital counseling can be beneficial even when not conducted in a faith-based setting.

What follows are the benefits of premarital counseling:

Benefit #1:  Truly Ready

Counseling can ensure that both partners are truly ready for marriage. If, during counseling, a couple chooses to postpone getting married, consider that a success. Why? Because it means both partners are making sure they are on the same page before making such a huge commitment.  

As a therapist, I would never tell a couple whether to get married. Alternatively, I can “hold up the mirror” to their relationship issues and help the couple explore key aspects of their relationship that have the potential to be troublesome.  This helps couples make better life decisions.

Benefit #2:  Practicing Communication

Another benefit of counseling? It teaches and models healthy communication for couples. Many couples take years to learn effective communication skills and others never learn them at all. Why not practice effective communicating before choosing a lifelong commitment to another person, instead of learning on the fly?

Benefit #3:  Addressing Underlying Issues

Most couples have some form of ongoing issues in their relationship. John Gottman refers to them as perpetual problems. While never completely resolved, the healthiest couples learn to finesse or “massage” these problems. Thus, they are workable in the relationship. However, for some couples, those issues may simmer for years or cause significant resentment to develop in the relationship. Premarital counseling can help couples get a handle on these problems before they marry.

Benefit #4:  Know Thy Mate

Counseling is an opportunity for partners to get to know each  thoroughly. If for some reason they uncover some significant incompatibility issues, it’s far better to learn about them ahead of marriage. However, it’s more likely that premarital counseling can simply help couples better understand each other’s perspectives and establish a compromise on their preferences with certain issues. Here are some big ones:

  • Children:  Does each partner want children?  It’s a common topic for therapy.
  • Where do we want to live?  In the city, suburbs, or country?

Benefit # 5:  Reduce Chances of Divorce

Couples who participate in counseling greatly reduce the possibility of divorce. Marital satisfaction increases as well. Of course, there is no 100% guarantee of anything in life, but couples can tip the odds in their favor for a happier and sustainable marriage by participating in premarital counseling.

Benefit #6:  Have a Plan for Your Marital Future

Premarital counseling helps couples to reflect on their vision for their married lives together. By ensuring that they are on the same page together, couples can better handle “roadblocks” that come up during their marriage.

Benefit #7:  Premarital Counseling Should Include Individual Counseling

Why have individual counseling when we are talking about couples counseling?  Of us are often working on a personal issue that can be better explored in individual counseling. It helps us better understand who we are as individuals and allows us to be at our best in our most important relationship.

Premarital counseling is not simply for couples who have opposing viewpoints or disagreements.  It’s also for those couples without any obvious problems at all. Therapy can help couples identify these potential problems and address them effectively. This can help ensure that they can have a healthy and happy relationship that will last for many years to come.

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