‘When Harry Met Sally’ is an all-time classic which brought to light the fact that it takes a lifetime to realize true love. However, it is most unlikely that real life will offer you multiple chances to find love. Luck might favor you in many ways. There are a few lucky people who found their soulmate while still in kindergarten and then there are the others who spend an entire lifetime in vain. The basic aspect of the relationship is not to find ‘the one’, but to be able to ‘stick to the one’. There have also been cases when the couple was a perfect one, it took a flimsy little problem to create an unrepairable rift.
When God created Adam, he could not understand his sadness. Adam would roam through the beautiful garden of Eden, searching for his lost piece of soul. This is when Eve was born and they lived happily ever after. However, like any other love story, there had to be a villain. This is when Satan struck them with his evil plan and all was doom. The couple was banished from the haven and thrown on to the earth, to realize the bliss that they had foolishly lost. Meanwhile, Satan danced across the universe in victory, as he was able to cause trouble in paradise. After all, why should they have all the fun? This is how every single couple functions in a relationship. We throw away a beautiful life only to satisfy a momentary whim. This is where the Premarital Counselling comes to picture.
What is Premarital Counseling?
This is a specialized therapy session provided by various institutions to ‘prepare’ the to-be-weds. This specialized session is conducted by a licensed therapist who has a graduate or a postgraduate degree in counseling. The sessions are conducted in institutes, clinics, and community centers where the couple visits the therapist for a set of sessions or a session. The main aim of premarital counseling is to be able to address the various areas of distress that might arise and cause a long-term problem in a perfectly healthy relationship. While most of the time, it is recommended for couples who are yet to be married, however, the newlyweds can also benefit from the session.
The main aspect of premarital counseling is to be able to address or confront an issue in a ‘controlled’ environment. This helps counter-control any clashes that might otherwise erupt to destructive levels. Also, with an experienced therapist available, the sessions are all about finding solutions rather than ‘making a song and dance’ out of a situation. The sessions are also designed to help you understand your choices in life. Is the person I am going to marry good for me? Will we be able to resolve our differences in the future? Are we made for each other?
These are a few questions that come in the mind of every new couple. There are times when one or both might be having second thoughts about the marriage issue. To help such people come to terms with their reality, premarital counseling is the perfect solution. The therapy session is going to help the new couple build a solid base for their future relationship with each other. Considering the complexities of modern life, this is a much-recommended exercise one must consider seriously.
Common issues Addressed in Premarital Counseling
Premarital Counselling is a great way to get hold of reality and what to expect shortly. As your lives are going to be changed for good, it is necessary to address a few must-talk concerns. This goes a long way in ensuring you have a smooth sail through the troubled waters of marriage.
Let us explore basic issues that are commonly addressed through Premarital counseling:
The Expectation V/S Reality
Marriage is anything but a walk in the park. It requires conviction, dedication, and a lot of hard work. After all, you are going to be sharing your life with an entirely new being. This calls for some perspective and reality check. Through the premarital counseling sessions, the various expectations are bought to clarity. Here, both the participating adults are asked to carefully spell out their expectations. This includes what they expect from each other and themselves as well. Most of the time, the reality is quite different from expectation and this is where the therapist in a well-exercised manner shows you the clear picture.
Past, Present And Future
We all have a certain past. We all arrive through a set of experiences that makes us who we are. However, there can be cases when your spouse is not ready to deal with your past. Also, there are times when a person is not able to let go of their past. Here, premarital counseling plays a vital role in enabling people to learn to accept their present, forget their past and look forward to a new future. This is especially essential if you have a new life to build along with your partner.
Silence is golden, but not always. There are times when not speaking up can be as toxic as speaking too much. This often leads to people bottling up their worries, which in turn leads to them erupting out of proportions at the wrong time. A good therapist ensures that the to-be-weds develop a channel of communication that can allow them to be able to talk about their differences. While simply talking might not be enough, it is also necessary to be able to come to a certain resolution. Here it is required to communicate constructively and solve issues like sensible adults. The psychotherapist takes to note that a positive and constructive outcome is reached out of the session in this case.
Show Me The Money
Finance is one of the leading issues among the must do’s before you tie the knot. Especially today, when a large part of the female population is also financially independent, it is a major point of discussion. At the therapists’, you can finally shed the shame and get on to the point. What are your financial investments and where do you see your future? How do you plan to split the bills, if at all? And what is your financial history like? These need to be dealt with clarity to avoid any future conflicts. In a way, a good therapist works as a catalyst in making sure that both the parties benefit from the alliance, financially. Also, there are times when the breadwinner simply does not see the need to offer an allowance to the dependent partner, this too is a major concern. A therapy session is recommended to analyze the issue and to come up with a proper plan.
The Sex Talk
Intimacy is one of the major bonding aspects of blissful marriage. Compatibility in bed translates to compatibility in life with your spouse. While this is a private matter, not too many couples are comfortable talking about sex. However, in a premarital therapy session, the sex talk is a major aspect. This allows you to express your fears, desires, or phobias. The therapist, on the other hand, conducts a joint session which allows the couples to know what to expect and how sex means different things to men and women. Also, many a time, early on marriage various couples encounter problems in intimacy. These can also be resolved at the therapist’s table and a smooth life with lots of love can be resumed.
Yes, it is just as important to be able to be comfortable when talking with each other. This includes how you talk, what you talk about, and how you express yourself. The counseling session is essential here, to help ‘translate’ the modes of communication between the partners. This is necessary to avoid any form of miscommunication, as most of the time this is what causes conflicts. As they say ‘Men are from Mars and the Women are from Venus’ it is necessary to finally get the habitats of the two planets to form a common ground of communication. What is she thinking when she goes silent? Does he mean a yes when he says so? Why isn’t she smiling when she says she is happy? What does he mean when he says ‘you mean the world to me? Well, these are a few aspects that can be easily understood, if you could simply ‘translate’ clearly.
Eventually, children will arrive. That is what marriage means in traditional terms. But are you ready for a third body between the two of you? While many partners are comfortable with involving children early on marriage, others are good together. Also, the major point of conflict arises when the two partners expect different things when it comes to planning a baby. A trip to the counselors is a must at this point. After all, it is a life you are dealing with. It is a matter of complete responsibility when it comes to talking about kids. In case the partners are not able to drive to a conclusion, a therapist will be able to ‘extract’ a common solution that will be able to make both the partners happy eventually.
What are the Goals and Objectives of Premarital Counseling?
It is perfectly all right to reach out for help, just before you say ‘I do’. The main aim is to lead a life with fewer troubles and more understanding. So, what are the major issues that are addressed during a premarital counseling session?
Let us explore:
The Relationship And Your Views
It is important to perceive each other in a positive light. One of the major goals of a good therapist is that he ensures that a positive outcome arises out of a joint session. The couple should walk out of the session with more love than they walked in with.
The Cultural Difference
Many times, people from two very different cultures get together to get married. While love conquers all, there are still a few minor battles that need to be avoided at best. The various cultural beliefs and traditional problems that arise out of belonging to a certain ‘background’ can lead to misunderstandings. Many times a perfectly harmless little ritual is misinterpreted as being imposing by the other spouse. There are also times, when due to differences in traditions, beliefs, and points of view, a nice healthy alliance is thrown out of the window. So, when under counseling, the issue of traditional differences are also addressed and put to a place of common grounds.
To Remove Dysfunctional Behavior:
There are times when couples have to deal with too much dominance, control, and bouts of anger bursts. This is when premarital therapy can help. These issues might sound harmless, but they go a long way in dictating the entire pattern of one’s lives. A person needs to report such behavior in their spouse during the session. These can be easily dealt with, treated, and controlled while still early on relationships.
Communication is the key. As mentioned plenty of times before, to be able to talk to each other is perhaps the greatest tool in a relationship. It is important to be able to be comfortable communicating with your significant other. If and when this does not happen, you must seek the assistance of a good therapist.
A Strong Bond
Like everything else in the universe, it is important to recognize your strengths. However, not all are blessed with the foresight. To be able to do so, a premarital counseling session is the call of the day. Here, the various positive aspects of the relationships are brought to light. This goes a long way in making you feel good about yourself and also to know what are your strengths as a couple.
Premarital Counseling Styles
Not all counseling styles are the same. Different needs require different approaches. Let us explore more:
Gottman Method: It is more of a stress conflict management instead of conflict resolution. Here, you learn about the world inside your partner’s This brings about respect, closeness, and admiration between the two
Narrative Therapy: This brings about the new angles to your problems and helps differentiate the person from the
Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy: This is one of the leading methods that has been chosen by many therapists for various issues. The success rate has also led to this method being introduced for ‘family counseling’ as well. It deals with expansion and recognizing the key responses between the partners.
Enhancement Of Intimacy To Increase Closeness: This goes a long way in enhancing the ties between the couples. By increasing the intimacy in a relationship, one can also improve communications, care, and of course love. This, however, needs to be done in a positive manner rather than just another exercise.
The Root Of All Problems
There have been times when the main reason for the conflict is altogether a far distant cause. A premarital therapy of this type can help map the issue and track them to childhood. This helps relieve the ‘relationship’ from bearing the burden of the conflict. The problem can now be addressed in a new manner.
Benefits of Premarital Counseling
The premarital counseling has many major benefits to a relationship:
- Better bonds between the partners
- Good communication to be able to express better
- Improved intimacies for more closeness and a happy life
- Pronounced boundaries to be able to stop the abuse of any kinds
- Removal of dysfunctional attributes to deal with behavioral problems
- More respect for each other for a better life ahead
- Being equipped better for dealing with future issues.
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Strategies For Premarital Counseling Success
As a couple, you both should aim for the same things in life, when it comes to marriage. There are times when you might be having second thoughts. So, this is the best time to visit a therapist and confront your fears. This must be done keeping in mind to save your relationship before anything else.
Just like many things, premarital couples therapy is also necessary to be allowed its own time to work out. This is essentially important to stay patient at this time and allow the effects to show. As a couple, you should be able to offer the treatment to show its effects.
Save The Marriage
While many people visit the therapist’s office to clarify their desires for a divorce, however, nothing can be more damaging than doing so. Your main aim should be to save your marriage and make it work rather than to go ‘splitsville’.
Do not dump everything on the sessions or your partner alone. There should be equal participation from your side as well. For this, it is important to be able to grasp the going-on at each session. Be sure to follow the instructions and keep up with the exercises given. It is necessary on your part to do your part well. This also brings to light the fact that you are a willing person who wants to make the relationship work just as much.
Not All Is Fair In Love And War
When undergoing the sessions, it is important to understand that the entire exercise is placed for a bigger picture of saving the relationship or having a good one in the future. For this, many times you might find yourself a little caught up with the activities, where you might be cornered or not favored. This should be taken in a positive light, as the therapist is simply doing their job. They too, want you to have a successful life and stay in love. If it causes you to ‘lose out on the ego factor’, well learn to be a good sport.
Honesty Is The Best Policy
This is a visit to an experienced psychotherapist who is an expert in his field. The reason why you chose them in the first place is that they have a certain amount of credibility. So, do not act smart and fool around. Be honest with your answers and you will be rewarded with appropriate results.