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Premarital Relationships Part 3: Is Counselling Right for You?

Expressing your vows and saying the words “I do” to your partner is an incredible commitment. While your wedding day is something to cherish forever, the lifetime of experiences you’ll share moving forward are even more valuable. Taking each day as it comes, you and your partner will venture through all the realities of marriage — both the good and the bad.

Before entering into a marriage, it’s important to take the time to get on the same page as your partner. Premarital counselling sessions will facilitate conversation around key relationship topics. Some of these areas include:

  • Effective Communication
  • Managing Conflict
  • Friendship
  • Children
  • Aging Parents
  • Values
  • Expressing Emotions & Needs
  • Fondness, Admiration, & Appreciation
  • Trust & Commitment
  • Co-creating a Life Together
  • Finances & Difficult Conversations
  • Marriage Roles & Expectations
  • Intimacy, Romance, & Sex
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Blended Families
  • Goals & Dreams

What is Premarital Counselling?

Premarital counselling takes place before marriage and provides an opportunity to discuss a wide variety of topics that many individuals don’t normally consider in the early stages of a relationship or ever. While many people consider counselling to be the final opportunity to hold a relationship together, it is so much more than that. Instead, premarital counselling is an excellent opportunity for any couple who is planning a life together and want to best prepare themselves for future success.

Rather than waiting for something to go wrong such as a huge fight to break out, this premarital counselling gives you and your partner a chance to get ahead of problems and to create a stable and satisfying relationship over the long term. When it comes to building a fulfilling life together, the benefits are truly priceless.

How Premarital Counselling Benefits Your Relationship

1. Encourages healthier communication

Taking the opportunity to better understand each other, especially before marriage, can be the turning point in many relationships. While some couples may not consider their communication to be lacking in the premarital stage, it’s important to consider how it may change or affect your marriage down the road. Remember, there is always room to grow. 

Premarital counselling encourages open and direct communication between two people. It builds a bridge between your current style of communication to encourage more compromise, compassion, and teamwork.

Working through effective communication strategies will help you learn more about yourself and your partner in the efforts to maintain a healthy partnership. In fact, this 2016 study cites that the quality of communication within a marriage can actually predict overall marriage satisfaction.

2. Learn how to disagree from a place of love and respect

Let’s be honest, disagreements, arguments, and miscommunication are all a very normal part of every partnership. To think that two people will be able to avoid conflict throughout their marriage together is not realistic. However, there are various strategies you and your partner can learn now which help you both prepare for disagreements in the future.

Premarital counselling explores conflict as well as common problems married couples face. These sessions will give you the necessary tools for conflict resolution which you can carry with you into the days, months, and years ahead.

Some examples of productive conflict resolution include:

  • Being open and direct with your partner
  • Avoiding the terms always or never
  • Listening to learn, rather than to respond
  • Avoiding the need to blame your partner
  • Taking a different perspective (getting in their shoes)
  • Knowing when it’s time for a “time-out” from the conversation

3. Establish marriage roles and expectations

Marriage can bring about a lot of complexities that your current relationship may not have. One major difference is the topic of marriage roles and expectations. Although you may have an idea about what marriage looks like as a soon-to-be husband or wife, you’re likely unaware of what your partner's thoughts are.

Premarital counselling helps to deepen your understanding of your own marriage roles and expectations, as well as that of your partners. Times have changed — the days of women staying home to raise kids while the men go off to work are not a reality for most couples. Discussing a plan for each person’s role in the marriage can ensure greater satisfaction moving forward.

As life comes your way, these plans may change. Nonetheless, entering your marriage with a strong idea about where you both stand is an excellent starting point. In the case that you and your partner are not on the same page, having this conversation early can save you both from the surprise that will come later on. Not to mention, addressing this with a counsellor can help establish strategies you can take forward in your relationship.

4. Build intimacy, passion, and romance

Intimacy and showing love is personal and unique in every relationship. While sex and intimacy are often misrepresented as the same thing, sex is a way to express intimacy, while intimacy is comprised of an exchange of deep and personal feelings that can be expressed through countless ways. Regardless of how you express intimacy in a relationship, it’s common to run into some concerns throughout the relationship.

Premarital counselling is a great tool to understand how your partner expresses love. It allows you to discuss both your sexual and emotional preferences, barriers to connecting, desires, and expectations moving forward into your marriage. While it may feel a little uncomfortable at first, this kind of conversation can help you both confront any intimacy differences sooner, rather than later.

A 2015 study on intimacy in marriage finds that self-disclosure and empathic communication can help to increase intimacy in a relationship. The reason for this is that when two people trust each other and share their private thoughts and feelings, it strengthens their intimate bond. That being said, premarital counselling helps provide couples with the knowledge and opportunity to take steps towards deepening their connection. In other words, if you don’t share your thoughts and needs there is no way your partner can fulfill them for you.

Here are some commonly practiced skills to improve intimacy in your relationship:

  • Strengthening communication around intimacy
  • Enhancing problem-solving skills
  • Encouraging more self-disclosure
  • Practicing empathic response skills
  • Engaging in more sexual education

5. Tackle difficult topics such as money

We all know that money can be a difficult topic to talk about. Individuals enter into relationships with pre-existing values and ways of managing finances. Premarital counselling works to open up communication and ensure you and your partner are on the same page as you begin your life together. It is unrealistic to think that there will never be a disagreement, however, counselling can help ensure these disagreements are productive and lead to a constructive plan to carry forward.

Premarital counselling helps set you up for shared financial success. No matter if you decide to separate your funds entirely, create a joint account, or have a combination of the two, early communication is key. Counselling helps to guide this conversation openly and honestly to address past and present financial history, future goals, and long-term intentions.

What is important is to get it all out onto the table. At the end of the day, the goal is to have no secrets and to be accepted by your partner.

Final Thoughts

Premarital counselling helps you create a strong foundation for a happy and sustainable future. It’s an opportunity anyone can take advantage of, no matter what stage of your premarital relationship.

On Your Mind Counselling offers premarital programs in a variety of formats; from intensive weekend sessions, couple’s retreats, and regular ongoing sessions. Regardless of what you choose, investing in your relationship today will set you up for a rewarding and fulfilling life together.

Book a complimentary consultation to connect with one of our professional counsellors today. We look forward to hearing from you.

Written by Tori Mudie, BA, MA, RP, CCC

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