Below find frequently asked questions about premarital counseling, who it is for, and how it can help.
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General Questions About Premarital Counseling
What is premarital counseling?Premarital counseling is a term used to describe counseling sessions for couples who are not yet married, but intend to move toward marriage. This includes topics such as communication, expectation management and conflict resolution, as well as marriage-specific topics to help you prepare for the unique challenges of marriage.
Which states require premarital counseling?Most states do not require premarital counseling, but many strongly encourage counseling as a part of recommended premarital education programs.
Who can perform premarital counseling?Premarital counseling can be performed by a licensed marriage and family therapist or any licensed mental health professional as well as a member of religious clergy. Often, the decision is made based on the couple’s religious background or the nature of their ceremony, but this does not need to be the case. Couples can choose to receive counseling from their counselors or a clergy based on preference.
What is the point of premarital counseling?The point of premarital counseling is to provide a couple with the relationship skills they need to thrive as a couple, including the ability to support the other person fully, accommodate and anticipate each other’s needs, and manage conflict when it inevitably arises. An additional goal of premarital counseling is to help prepare the couple for marriage by providing insight into what they can expect from this unique relationship and how to continue to thrive as legal partners.
Is premarital counseling religious?Premarital counseling can be religious or non-religious. The type of therapy that couples may choose to pursue should be based on what they are looking to get out of the sessions. If they feel that they would like counseling to be directly aligned with their religious beliefs, then they should seek out a member of clergy or a counselor willing and able to provide that experience for them. If not, they can choose a counselor based on other factors, such as experience, methods of counseling and personality type.
Does premarital counseling reduce divorce rates?A variety of studies have illustrated that premarital counseling can decrease divorce rates by as much as 30-50%. This is due primarily to its focus on conflict resolution and anticipation of big decisions to come (including finances, children, etc.).Without a doubt, premarital counseling is a great resource for couples looking to build a strong foundation in their relationship.
Can you do premarital counseling online?Yes! We offer telehealth visits for a variety of counseling services, including premarital counseling. Sessions take place via video conference, and allow you to receive the same level of service you would expect to receive from in-person visits. In-person counseling is available for those who prefer it.
Who is Premarital Counseling for?
When to start premarital counseling?Couples can choose to begin premarital counseling as soon as they feel comfortable that their relationship is moving toward marriage. The timing of this can be different for each couple, but it may fall anywhere from a few months of dating to a few weeks before the wedding! The earlier the better. If you are not yet ready to commit to marriage, but are still looking for couples counseling that is not focused on topics of marriage, that is totally fine! All couples are eligible to begin couples counseling.
Can you do premarital counseling before engagement?Yes, couples can – and should when possible – receive premarital counseling before engagement. In fact, seeing a couple’s therapist earlier is encouraged! Because of the nature of counseling, you will be able to build a stronger relationship sooner by addressing many of the large decisions that will be made in the future.
When is premarital counseling a good idea?Premarital counseling is a great idea for any couple that is secure in their relationship and feels that it is moving toward marriage or lifelong partnership. Ideally, this would be prior to facing significant challenges, but it does not have to be. Whether the couple is looking to prevent an issue or address a specific one, premarital counseling can help.
Why go to premarital counseling?Couples should choose to go to premarital counseling to help strengthen their relationship now and for the future. It can help them assess where they currently are, and what they should expect for the future, while helping them develop important inter-relational skills and set expectations and needs from the start.
Questions About Premarital Counseling Sessions
What is involved in premarital counseling?Premarital counseling is primarily focused on talk therapy. Your counselor will meet with both members of the couple together in order to discuss their relationship now and in the future. Questions to consider might include your personal history and your anticipated life path. The couple should be prepared to address topics of marriage as well as many topics that may at first appear to be unrelated but will in fact have an impact on their relationship now and in the future.
What topics are discussed in premarital counseling?Topics discussed in premarital counseling may include:
- Communication skills
- Conflict resolution
- Anticipation of needs
- Expectations for the future
- Establishing a family