Getting married is a wonderful experience. All of us plan for the most important day in our life – our wedding day to make it special and memorable. But does it ever occur to you that wedding is a different thing, and marriage is different? You can say that wedding is one-day event and marriage is a whole life institution. Once the wedding day is over, you get into marriage. It is fun to get married but along with that comes ample of responsibilities on both the partners. Now that when we are talking about the responsibilities, these can be individual or mutual responsibilities that you and your partner need to fulfill to make your marriage work. Here comes the role of premarital counseling -which helps the couples to get ready for the marriage and in some cases it even helps the couples to realize that it may not be the right time for them to tie the knot.
Importance of premarital counseling
Why ‘s it done? Premarital counseling is a kind of therapy that allows the couple to find out whether their relationship is strong enough to handle the pressures once you are married. Premarital counseling helps the couples to discuss the various aspects of married life which they may not have thought before – finances, maintenance of family relationships, communication, decision making of the partners, love and sex relationship among themselves, their values and beliefs, how to handle parenting and raise children, their individual roles in marriage as well as how to deal with anger when in marriage. These are the important things that many couples do ignore, and thus premarital counseling helps them to discuss these. During premarital counseling, partners can improve their communication ability and can also set the realistic expectations for their marriage. Thus, this will help them to develop a positive attitude towards their marriage and develop the methods to resolve the conflicts. While you are doing premarital counseling, make sure that you put forwards your goals, desires, history of your relationship as well as what you are expecting from the marriage truthfully in front of your partner. This is because as you are looking for fulfilment of your social, emotional and sexual needs, so does your partner and thus he or she has every right to know what you are expecting and what they are expecting to do. Setting the realistic approach is the focus point of the successful marriage as in any marriage the divorce rate is highest during the initial period.
Preparation for premarital counseling
How you prepare for premarital counseling? It is not very difficult to prepare yourself for the premarital counseling. You just have to do two things. Firstly, convince yourself that you need the premarital counseling for your good and then find a good therapist who can fulfill your’s and your partner’s needs. You can take the help of your family and friends who can guide you to the good counseling therapist. Before you finalize any therapist, do the research on your end. You can check the experience as well as the degree that the therapists hold, the type of sessions that therapists hold and how long does each session run and how many sessions do you require. Next you would also need to know about the fees the therapist is charging for the premarital counseling.
What you can expect from the premarital counseling
When you at the therapists, you can face different questionnaires that you and your partner have to answer either separately or together. Then your therapist will analyze the answers given by both of you and will ask you two to discuss the answers to yourself. This will help you to identify your areas of weakness and strong points. This will give you the opportunity to discuss the reasons for disagreement and to find out a common thought process for such things. Apart from questionnaires, you can also have to deal with different types of tools like Couples Resource Map in which you and your partner have to create a map with the individual resources provided to you keeping in mind the social and cultural surroundings which surrounds you two. Then the therapist will make you analyse the maps together and check where you two differ on our decisions. Then the couple has to create a map together with the same resources with the understanding of the needs of both of them. You should also prepare yourself for the questions like what do you expect from your marriage at different stages of life and how you can build a positive attitude towards your marriage.
Marriage counseling tips
While you are doing the premarital counseling, there are several things that may come up in your mind regarding the commitment that you are going to make to your partner. Apart from your own thoughts , there will be hundreds of things that your therapist will make you aware of and will give you tips to tackle the different situations that you are about to face in your married life at one or some point of time.
- Being in love : Is one thing but if you are the case of the opposite attract then you two as a couple is bound to hold different opinions of the things. Once you are married, this can lead to conflict between you and your partner as you two may not agree on the same thing. The different backgrounds will lead to different opinions. These differences can act as a solid foundation to make your marriage a beautiful affair when you two learn to respect the differences that you have in your thinking rather than putting pressure on your better half to change him or herself.
- Keeping your life personal : Is the next thing that you should be focussing on as a couple. Though, you will say that your in-laws do matter to you, but this does not mean that you can give them the right to dictate your married life. The friends, family, colleagues are important to you, but they should not interfere with your married life unless you discuss the problems that you may be facing with them.
- Surprises in the life : Here we are not talking about the happy surprises that you wish to get. Life means changes and some of these changes can be unexpected and even unpleasant. Though you may not have ever imagined that they can occur in your life but some situations, you do not have any control. The best way to deal with such situations is to make strong bonding. So that it can handle the quakes that life may give. In the premarital counseling, couples are given the time to make their bonding strong enough to survive the ups and downs together that life has to offer. The positive attitude that you can get the counseling will help you get the confidence of handling the hard situations of life together without letting any misunderstanding to creep in your life.
- Commitment towards marriage: The next marriage counseling tip relates to the commitment that you make to the marriage. Commitment as a word holds no importance unless you have the determination to follow it. Commitment to marriage means that you will always try to make your marriage work until the love between you two has not ended. Always give your marriage a preference over other things and whenever require you can take the professional help if you have turbulent times in your marriage.
- Role models in marriage: Here we do not mean that you should pick a celebrity role model for your marriage. These role models can be anyone – your parents, relatives or even your friend who is handling the marriage well. The idea is to keep them in mind in different situations and when you face the difficulty in the life, you can take the help from the experiences of the model couple as how they had handled the same situation together without having a dent in their married life.
- Evaluation of the marriage: Like your every investment needs evaluation, your marriage also needs evaluation from time to time. Evaluation of the marriage will help you determine whether you two are moving forward as a couple, or you are growing apart in your marriage. During the premarital counseling, you will be given the advice to evaluate your wedding like – Are there missing links like long misunderstandings in your marriage that’s needs to be addressed? There are can be many other small things that you may have noticed now but would like to discuss with your partner.
Does couples counseling work?
We can say yes, in most of the cases. However, there can be cases where the premarital counseling can also lead to more problems in your relationship, right before the marriage. It may happen that sometimes, discussing of things can lead to arguments, and you get the feeling that the argument is unnecessary as your life was running smoothly even without discussing the things. Though this may seem a negative effect of the premarital counseling but them having the argument before marriage is always better than having it later.
Sometimes, In premarital counseling the couples may realize that they are not – “Made for each other” or this may not be the right time for them to get married. This realization can come hard on you, but then this is also the truth that you are saved from entering into the marriage at the wrong time or with the wrong person.
Premarital counseling also raises some serious issues with which you have to deal after you get married. These issues range from household to the office like how many shares of work would you have in household work and how would you deal with the office commitments with the workload of household works. Issues such as maintaining the finance, savings, investments, expenses are important to discuss particularly if both the partners are working. Next comes the questions of children – once you are married, you may or may not want to have children in your life. Sometimes, one of the partners is not ready for the responsibility of the child. So, it is beneficial to decide beforehand about when you would like to become parents. There are several other questions about how many children would you like to have, how will you raise them and what are the responsibilities that you will be sharing once you become parents.
During the premarital counseling, you will also be discussing the intimate life that you will be going to share. There can be the difference in desires and habits as far as the sexual relationship is concerned. During the premarital counseling, you will be discussing the differences that you two shares and how you will make the bride in the gap to enjoy your married life to the maximum. Apart from these, the conflict management part is the best thing that you will deal with during the premarital counseling. During this session you will be dealing with the methods of how to resolve the conflict, ways to deal with the heated arguments that couple often have and how you will tackle these situations that you will face in your marriage. Parent’s involvement is also discussed during the premarital sessions to set the limit of parent’s interference in the personal matters of the marriage as no partner like the interference of the in-laws in the marriage. Also, you would also like to discuss the time that each of you would like to spend with your parents once you get married. This will prevent the future misunderstandings that may take place.
Thus, premarital counseling is like a mirror that allows the couple to see the true essence of their marriage and design a pathway to deal with the different situations that will come up in your marriage. In short, it’s can be your key to a happy marriage.