If you are preparing to tie the knot, it is wise to take some time considering both the strengths and potential weak points in your relationship. Engaging in pre-marital counseling is a proactive, preventative measure that you can take to safeguard your relationship during this stressful time of transition. It is not necessary for you to have any outstanding conflicts or concerns in your relationship in order to benefit from pre-marital counseling (although it is also okay if you do!) Pre-marital counseling is a form of future planning during which you and your partner will have open and honest dialogue about your concerns, hopes, and expectations for your future together.
At Artemis Counseling, we do not have a specific formula or timeline for pre-marital counseling. Instead, we tailor treatment goals that are specific to the needs of each individual couple. Some common topics for pre-marital counseling include:
- Family Planning: This can take the form of discussions about the desired timeline for having (or not having) one or more child. It may also mean navigating how to make a smooth transition when introducing a step-mother/father, or integrating a blended family.
- Finances: Getting legally married means that your finances will become joined. Creating a plan for managing money, budgeting, and having joint or separate accounts are important considerations. This can be particularly pertinent when there are large salary discrepancies, spending habits, or debts between you and your fiance.
- Division of Household Tasks: As a couples counselor, it a common phenomenon for seemingly simple disagreements about household tasks to flare into perpetual arguments over time. Setting expectations for the division of household labor and acceptable degrees of cleanliness can prevent this topic from becoming a future point of contention.
- Relationships with in-laws: Each family has its own unique culture, traditions, eccentricities, and dysfunctions. When entering your fiance’s family, you may be traversing some new and uncharted territory. In pre-marital counseling, you can address expectations about the amount of involvement that in-laws will play in your new family. This may include issues such as holidays, living arrangements, child care, and financial assistance.
To learn more about the benefits of pre-marital counseling, schedule an intake session with one of our professional counselors:
Written by Joanna Aslanian, LPC, ATR-P