Premarital counseling helps partners improve their ability to communicate, set realistic expectations for marriage and develop conflict-resolution skills. In addition, premarital counseling can help couples establish a positive attitude about seeking help down the road.
Keep in mind that you bring your own values, opinions and history into a relationship, and they might not always match your partner’s. For example, family systems and religious beliefs vary greatly. Many couples have experienced very different upbringings with different role models for relationship and marriage. Many people go into marriage believing it will fulfill their social, financial, sexual and emotional needs — and that’s not always the case. By discussing differences and expectations before marriage, you and your partner can better understand and support each other during marriage.
Usually, each of you will be asked to separately answer a written questionnaire to determine how you feel about each another and the relationship. These forms can also help identify any strengths, weaknesses and potential problem areas. Together, you and your counselor will interpret your results and discuss areas of common unhappiness or disagreement. You’ll set goals with your partner to help overcome challenges.
In addition, your counselor might ask you and your partner questions to find out your unique visions for your marriage and clarify your expectations and desires for your marriage.
Remember, preparing for marriage involves more than throwing a party to celebrate an engagement. Take the time to build a solid foundation for your relationship.