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5 Jan

Planning a Wedding? Here’s Why You Should Go to Premarital Counseling

Wanda Sevey, MDiv, LMFT helps individuals, couples, and families with communication and relationship skill building. She is trained in Emotionally Focused Therapy and highly skilled at coping with stress, anxiety, and depression.

You just announced your marriage engagement. Congratulations! As you prepare for your wedding, be sure to place premarital counseling near the top of your to-do list.

Premarital counseling may sound less glamourous than choosing your venue, the band or the menu. You may also think that going to premarital counseling will mean that there is something wrong with your relationship.

For most couples, premarital counseling provides a happy couple with a jump start into a stable and happier marital relationship. Researchers have discovered that the quality of your married relationship can be predicted from your relationship before marriage. So, making your current relationship even stronger is a good idea.

Here’s more about how premarital counseling can enrich your relationship:

  1. You can improve an already strong relationship. Premarital counseling is practical and focuses on helping you strengthen your communication skills.
  2. Premarital counseling is focused and brief. In only 4-6 hours you can improve your ability to communicate and problem solve!
  3. If there are sensitive topics you are concerned about discussing with each other, premarital counseling can provide the safety and support you need.
  4. Early marriage is a particularly challenging time for relationships. Premarital counseling can reduce your risk of divorce by 30%!

Here at Council for Relationships, many of our counselors are trained to use the Prepare and Enrich Program as part of premarital counseling. In this program, the couple takes an online relationship inventory and the results are sent to their relationship counselor. The inventory is not a test. It is like taking an aerial snap shot of your relationship. Meeting with your counselor to discuss the inventory will help you as a couple in several ways.

  • It is a strengths-based program designed to increase awareness of relationship strengths and provide skills to improve relationship growth areas.
  • It is widely used. Over 3 million couples have participated in the Prepare and Enrich Program.
  • It is a comprehensive inventory with opportunities to explore many relationship areas such as communication, finances, relationship roles and family dynamics.
  • Each couple receives a personalized report and workbook. You and your counselor collaborate to create a specialized coaching program based on your unique relationship.

Planning a wedding is a happy and stressful event. In the midst of all your planning, think of premarital counseling as a self-care strategy for you as a couple. It can be a gift you give yourselves that will keep on giving long after your wedding day.

 

References:

Murray, Christine and Murray, Thomas “Solution-focused premarital counseling: helping couples build a vision for their marriage”. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. July 2004: 389-358

Larson, Peter, Olson, David and Olson, Amy “PREPARE-ENRICH Program: overview and new discoveries about couples. Journal of Family and Community Ministries, 2012, 25: 30-44.

 

Wanda Sevey, MDiv, LMFT helps individuals, couples, and families with communication and relationship skill building. She is trained in Emotionally Focused Therapy and highly skilled at coping with stress, anxiety, and depression.

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