What can premarital counseling do for us?
I remember when my husband and I went to a couples therapist many years ago before we were married. Being a therapist, I had a good understanding of what types of things we would address, although my husband was a bit more skeptical. Premarital counseling was a really great way for us to not-only focus on the issues we were already having, but brought to light some issues we had not already though of, even though we had been together quite a long time already.
When working with couples contemplating getting married, or preparing for marriage, we can have a lot of different goals. Some couples are really just needing help with setting familial boundaries, especially with regards to wedding planning. Others are feeling anxiety about some of the pre-existing challenges in their relationship. Another couple may feel like they have a strong relationship, and just need support in continuing to lay a healthy foundation for their marriage and for years down the road.
Once in session, we will initially talk about relationship history and goals for therapy. Depending on whether you are looking to strengthen an already healthy relationship or want/need to address some anxieties one or both of you are having about your plans for a more serious commitment to one another, we will work together to determine best goals and our plan for getting there.
Frequently, whether your relationship feels incredibly healthy or incredibly challenging, most couples, if not all, tend to have areas where their communication can be strengthened and improved. As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I am trained in systemic therapy and have training experience with both Gottman and Emotionally Focused Therapies. What that means is that I will help you not only identify some cycles where you may be getting stuck, but will also help you to more deeply identify what it is you might be needing from your partner, and how to get your needs met in a way that feels healthier for both of you.
Ultimately, premarital counseling is an incredibly healthy way to give you and your partner tools for communicating in a more effective way, as well as identifying shared and individual expectations, goals and dreams for your future together.