What premarital counseling is not?
There is a common misconception about why couples need counseling before marriage. A lot of this has to do with a misunderstanding of the reason for premarital counseling. Unlike other commonly known counseling practices, it is not about correcting something that has gone wrong. It is not about changing something that isn’t right about a couple. It also does not suggest that something is wrong in the relationship.
Then what is it really?
It is more like an education or a training course that prepares the couple for the institution of marriage. It is an investment that the couple makes into their relationship so as to ensure that it grows and develops even more when they get formally married. It gives the couple communications skills that will go a long way in ensuring that their marriage survives the challenges that are bound to face them as a couple. It teaches the couple conflict resolution techniques and helps them learn more about each others’ communication styles and challenges.
What does it entail?
Premarital counseling primarily involves the clarification of expectations from each of the partners. What can they reasonable expect from their spouse and what can their spouse expect of them. It includes deep discussions about what each of the partners wants to get out of the marriage and also what they expect to bring into the marriage. It is a time to properly discuss what the goals of their relationship are and the mechanics of their marriage. Are they going to have a joint bank account? How many children would they like to have? How will their children be raised? The counseling does not provide complete detailed answer s to all of these questions but it starts the discussions on all these in an atmosphere that is friendly and non-judgmental.
Does it Involve religion?
It does not necessarily involve religion, though it could. It involves an honest and sincere discussion of what values each of the partners holds dear to them and how important they are to them and their partner. If they have a religious faith that they profess, this is the time to discuss it in an open and frank manner. It gives them an opportunity to find shared or common values that will hold them together and a set of values and ideals that they will try to live up to as a family. It presents an opportunity to discuss how any children in the relationship will be raised not only in terms of religion or faith but also education, upbringing and family life.
How does one benefit from it?
The benefits of premarital counseling are many and varied. It prevents a lot of the problems that a couple is likely to experience after the wedding day and equips them with the tools and skills to solve any differences they may have. It makes their relationship stronger and more matures and presents an ideal opportunity for the couple to learn a lot more about each other. It builds their communication skills and ensures that they do not fall into the type of relationship pitfalls that result in miscommunication and unnecessary misunderstandings. It prepares them for a commitment to making their marriage work.