Relationships are not cakewalks – anyone can tell you that. Making a commitment to have and hold your significant other for all time is not a decision that you should take lightly – anyone can tell you that as well. However, when the subject of couples counseling or therapy is broached, there are bound to be some opinions, and some objections, from friends and family.
Some pontifical venues (churches, etc.) require premarital counseling per the religion, but even those couples opting to forgo customary clerical practices might find themselves considering a few pre-vow sessions. Opinions of your loved ones aside, you and your future spouse need to make a decision that works for the both of you. To assist in that process, we’ve complied a list of some of the pros and cons of attending premarital counseling.
- You’ll have the chance to reflect on what’s important. We’ve often said that it is easy to lose site of your relationship with your partner during the wedding-planning process – and this may be a way to ensure that doesn’t happen. Getting scheduled opportunities to talk about your impending marriage outside of the context of your nuptials can be incredibly healthy. Plus, you have a moderator to make sure that you and your beloved stay on subject and don’t stray off into “color scheme” territory.
- You can get an expert’s opinion and guidance. If you haven’t been married before, then chances are, there are a few things about this new journey for which you may be ill-prepared. Joint bank accounts, child rearing, and religion are just some of the topics that you and your sweetie may not even realize need to be discussed. In a session, you can speak to a professional who can guide you through the logistics – and the emotions.
- The experience can further bond the two of you together. No matter how deeply in love you may be, every couple is sure to experience problem-solving differences. Counseling can help you to understand and appreciate your partner’s communication style, and vice versa. You’ll be able to deal with issues in a more effective manner, which will strengthen your marriage down the road.
- You may receive negative comments about your choice. There will nearly always be those who adamantly oppose therapy in general. Depending on your cultural background, attending sessions may even be seen as weakness. The “easy” fix would be to keep this information between the two of you; however, that isn’t always feasible for those individuals with close friendships and familial ties.
- Unforeseen problems may arise and persist. There is a chance that conflicts will come up – and we aren’t just referencing relationship squabbles. Finding the time in your day – that coincides with a free period in your sweetheart’s day, nonetheless – can be stressful: even next to impossible. Adding additional stress could escalate irritations and backfire, causing unnecessary disagreements on top of wedding planning. Counseling may help with these arguments, but if one or both partners cannot make it in, it is rendered ineffective.
- There is no guarantee that the counselor will be helpful. Despite what we may hope, there are plenty of unhelpful therapists in the world. Variances are expected, however, some licensed professionals are just not the most skilled. There is a chance you’ll be saddled with one of these people and not even realize it. To avoid this, it is smart to get recommendations and test out a few different therapists to see who might be a good fit.
Opening photo by Michael Falco for Christian Oth Studio