Congratulations on your recent engagement! This is a big milestone for you as a couple, and it’s exciting to consider the great plans God has in store for you. To get your relationship off to a good start, premarital counseling is one of the best things you can do.
Couples who receive premarital counseling are better equipped to handle the transitions and challenges of married life than those who do not have premarital counseling sessions. The sessions are an investment in your marriage before you walk down the aisle. They can help you honor God and each other.
When you work with a Christian counselor for premarital counseling, you will discover the unique dynamics of your relationship as well as your strengths and weaknesses. Your counselor will help you think through how you might handle the common challenges of married life. You’ll also learn about what problems you can avoid by talking through them now.
Topics Covered in Premarital Counseling
These are the topics your counselor will cover with you in premarital counseling sessions.
You may find it easy right now to answer the question, “What attracted you to each other?” However, in the challenges you will face as a married couple, it will be essential to hold onto this answer so you can stay grounded.
Your counselor will take a close look at your relationship in counseling sessions, pointing out the strengths and weaknesses you both bring to the table. You may be blinded to your fiancé’s faults right now because you are in love, but premarital counseling will make things clearer so there are not as many unpleasant surprises later.
To have the healthiest marriage possible, you both need to be emotionally strong. Perfection isn’t possible, but counseling can help you address any potential problem areas that will erode the quality of your relationship. Your counselor will show you areas where you can improve your friendship and advocacy for one another, which will strengthen the foundation of your relationship.
Individual counseling may be needed in addition to premarital counseling to address deeper issues. For example, if a counselor learns that the woman has a deep father wound that has not yet been processed, several individual counseling sessions with the woman can prevent the father wound from causing collateral damage in the marriage.
Your counselor may use additional tools like personality tests to help you both discover what you bring to the relationship. You’ll learn how you are wired to both give and receive love, which will be also beneficial for your spouse-to-be.
Both of you will learn areas in which you can build up your partner and love them in ways they can understand. As you gain awareness in premarital counseling sessions, you’ll be able to demonstrate love more intentionally to your future spouse.
Common Marriage Challenges
God has plans of hope and a future for your marriage (Jer. 29:11). However, almost every married couple deals with these common challenges during their marriage. It’s wise to consider these problems before they begin so you can handle them with intention. Your counselor will discuss these issues with you in premarital counseling sessions.
Many people have not learned how to handle conflict in a healthy way. Their original families may have told them to vent all their feelings and clean up the damage later. Others have learned to sweep everything under the rug and never discuss problems. Still others learn to let anger seep out through passive aggression and sarcasm. None of these methods lead to a healthy marriage relationship.
In premarital counseling, your counselor will help you identify your ways of handling conflict based on your childhoods. You both have likely learned different ways of handling anger and disagreements. But with a counselor’s help, you can learn more positive ways of dealing with conflict when it arises.
Honoring Your Commitment
Sadly, around half of all marriages end in divorce, including Christian marriages. But premarital counseling can help you honor the covenant you made before God with one another and avoid the pitfalls that often lead to divorce.
It’s quite common for couples to drift apart due to different sets of priorities. For example, when a couple has children, the wife may put too much focus on raising the children while the husband shifts his top priority to work. This dynamic can lead to loneliness, conflicts, and temptations. But your counselor can help you create a game plan for staying committed to each other by aligning your priorities.
You can be assured that the devil will tempt you to break your commitment to each other. In counseling sessions, you’ll learn about the common traps he sets for husbands and wives so you can avoid them in the future. This will help you strengthen your commitment to one another in the years ahead.
Setting Future Goals
When you are engaged, it’s easy to think that you will both be on the same page forever with your goals. But new love can blind us to the truth that you are both individuals with unique hopes and dreams for the future. You can gain perspective on your own future goals and your fiancé’s goals when you engage in premarital counseling sessions.
Your counselor will lead you in a discussion about your individual goals for work, family, children, finances, church, and other important areas best discussed before the wedding. It’s okay if your goals differ from your partner’s goals because you both have unique ideas for how the future looks for you as a couple. Since your counselor offers an objective viewpoint, you can learn how to honor each other’s goals while forming new goals that benefit both of you.
Cultivating Sexual Intimacy
Sexual intimacy is an essential part of a marriage relationship. But it’s often not discussed enough before the wedding, and that can lead to problems later. Your counselor will help you form a plan for cultivating sexual intimacy both inside and outside of the bedroom.
Both of you have expectations for sexual intimacy that need to be addressed beforehand. In counseling sessions, you’ll learn how to overcome mismatches in desire, how to handle seasons where intimacy may be challenging (such as with a newborn baby), and how to foster emotional intimacy so sexual intimacy is more rewarding. Your counselor will also discuss practical ways to guard your hearts against sexual temptation to protect your union.
Handling In-Law Relationships
It’s rare for couples to have zero problems with in-law relationships on both sides of the family. Your counselor can help you identify hot spots in your extended family as you prepare for your wedding.
God designed you both to leave your families and cleave to each other as a new family unit (Gen. 2:24). Even if you both want to do this well, your families may make the leaving and cleaving process difficult. You can learn how to set boundaries where needed so the transition to married life is more peaceful.
It’s common for some in-laws to be critical and overbearing. Other in-laws are uncommunicative and distant. Your counselor will help you identify the problems with both dynamics and form practical strategies for dealing with these situations.
In counseling sessions, your counselor will engage in role-playing with you so you will be prepared to handle future in-law problems. You will also learn how to speak the truth in love to preserve the boundaries around your relationship as a couple.
If you’re ready to begin the premarital counseling process, we are here to help you. Reach out to us today to start your journey of preparation that will strengthen your marriage for years to come.
“Man and Wife”, Courtesy of Foto Pettine, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Engagement Ring”, Courtesy of Gift Habeshaw, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Just Married”, Courtesy of Jonathan Borba, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Just Married”, Courtesy of Vadim Paripa, Unsplash.com, CC0 License