Premarital Counseling:  The one item that should be on everyone’s checklist!

“Why should we do premarital counseling?  We get along great and we love each other.  What more do we need to know before we get married?”

If you are one of the many couples wondering if premarital counseling is really necessary for you, then stop and consider this fact:Marital research has shown lower rates of divorce in couples who have participated in premarital counseling and a strong marriage positively affects a person’s level of happiness, physical health and emotional well-being.”

Unfortunately, most couples spend more time and money planning their weddings than preparing for their marriages.  Instead of developing a strong foundation on which to build a lifetime of happiness together, they often are more concerned about what color the bridesmaid dresses should be or how much they should spend on wedding photographs.

What if you are one of those couples who rarely fights and seems to be on the same page about most things?  Do you really need to get some premarital counseling? YES! Even those couples tell me that they gained an even better understanding of each other and that it served as a wonderfully reassuring confirmation that they have chosen the right person to marry.  In fact, when you feel blissfully in love with each other can be the best time to iron out some areas of potential conflict.  

When a couple calls to inquire about premarital counseling–and let’s be honest, 90% of the time it is the bride-to-be who is calling–they want to know what exactly is going to be covered during these sessions.  I believe it is important that when you are looking for someone to do premarital counseling with, you seek out a therapist who will tailor your sessions specifically to your needs. Some couples are struggling with specific issues such as trust, money management, or wedding planning, while others might report difficulty resolving conflict or communicating feelings.  Be honest and let the therapist know your concerns.  Be open to doing homework and exercises that will help you both develop the tools needed to enhance emotional intimacy, reduce conflict, and create the marriage of your dreams.

Sometimes couples will decide to do premarital counseling to help them determine whether or not they should be getting married.  While it isn’t the therapist’s job to tell a couple to marry or split up, unless there is physical violence going on, they will help the couple look at goodness of fit.  It is a time to share your needs, desires and expectations of each other in marriage. Of course, it is sad to call off an engagement, but isn’t it better to learn that there are deal breakers in your relationship that you simply are not going to be able to accept?

Many years ago, a former supervisor of mine told me that when each of her sons got engaged, she gifted them with a referral and a check for a series of premarital counseling sessions.  I truly believe it was the best gift they could have received. Doesn’t your marriage also deserve a healthy start?

Dianne Gottlieb Nicolls, M.S., LMFT, of Scottsdale Therapy, specializes in Premarital Counseling.  Check out her 4 session Premarital Counseling Package at www.premaritalcounselingscottsdale.com.

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