How to Give Premarital Counseling

Many people see premarital counseling as one of the most important things a couple can do before getting married. In fact, some states even waive marriage license fees for people who take a state-approved premarital education course before getting married. However, premarital counseling does not always guarantee a happy marriage.
There are as many reasons to seek pre-marital counseling as there are engaged couples. Sometimes one party or the other might feel that there is a serious issue that needs to be worked through before it is too late. Others may have the counseling recommended to them by a friend. Or perhaps it is a second marriage for the bride or groom, and they just want to make sure that this time around the marriage will stick.

As a marriage progresses, a couple's individual interests and activities determine the kind of lifestyle that they could be facing. The couple needs common interests that they can share, and differences that they can spend some alone time doing.

Premarital counseling is a great way for engaged couples to focus on their relationship. From the minute that a couple announces an engagement, much of their lives is suddenly taken up with marriage planning and placating in-laws. Counseling before marriage provides a genuinely constructive forum for couples to discuss their lives together.

Counseling helps you analyze your goals, dreams and desires for the future in addition to the differences between you and your partner. Many partnerships fall short because couples lack the skills and the will necessary to resolve their differences, and many are not aware of the core differences about what they want to achieve in life.

Although premarital counseling is not cure-all for marriages it can greatly reduce the incidence of divorce and help the couple maintain a strong bond throughout their marriage. Most studies show a 30% reduction in divorce with those that have at least six sessions of pre-marriage counseling. Premarital counseling will help in unearthing false or unrealistic expectations and give couples a better view of what marriage is really like.

Premarital counseling is designed to offer a preventative, educational approach to marriage. Couples are frequently referred for premarital counseling by the clergy who will be officiating at their wedding. These couples usually enroll in a premarital counseling workshop or seminar offered through their church or synagogue. Others seek out public workshops to learn about marriage.

It aims to present to couples all the major issues involved in marriage which should guide them in finding the right ways to work out their relationship. Other important goals are to help couples develop various skills focusing on communication and to determine possible areas of conflict during married life.

We learn so much of how to "be" from our parents, primary caregivers and other early influences. If one of the partners experienced a high conflict or unloving household, it can be helpful to explore that in regards to how it might play out in the marriage. Couples who have an understanding of the existence of any problematic conditioning around how relationships work are usually better at disrupting repetition of these learned behaviors.