I remember hearing a story once of a couple who went to one scheduled premarital counseling session before their marriage. When the session turned to the topic of intimacy, the counselor just chuckled and said "Oh, you'll figure that out!" and moved onto the next topic.
Many of us enter into marriage with a "we'll just figure it out" mentality. Marriage has been occurring for thousands of years, so it can't be that hard, right? Unfortunately, our current divorce rate tells us otherwise.
What's Your Priority?
Hours upon hours are spent preparing every last detail for the wedding day. What if that same amount of time, or even just ten percent, was spent preparing for the marriage?
I have heard so many times from couples, "We just don't have the time for premarital counseling" or "We just don't have the money". My immediate thought is always, "What is your priority then- the wedding that lasts for one whole day, or the marriage that is supposed to last a lifetime?"
A Solid Foundation
I like to think of premarital counseling as putting a foundation underneath your marriage. This foundation is just like the foundation of a house-it exists to keep the structure strong, keeps it from sinking, and keeps dangerous things out. If you start your marriage off with cracks in your foundation, you're going to have an uphill battle to repair it.
When you're engaged and planning a wedding, it may be difficult to prepare for what issues you may face as a married couple. This is why it's good to have the perspective of a professional, who can help to bring up topics that you may have never discussed.
Topics range from finances, intimacy, views on roles in the marriage, expectations, communication styles, how to fight fair, addressing family of origin issues, planning for a family, and much, much more.
Putting Out Fires
If you and your future spouse find yourselves already disagreeing on aspects of your relationship, premarital counseling can help to address these problems. Some of the most common issues I see are regarding communication and prioritizing.
If you struggle to talk to one another now as an unmarried couple, imagine how much more difficult it may become when you are married and your lives are combined. How will you make difficult decisions if you don't/can't communicate?
The same is true with making your spouse a priority and vice versa. If you already feel neglected by your spouse's work habits, hobbies, and the way they choose to spend their time, it's probably not going to change once you get married. Premarital counseling would be a way to address these issues with a non-biased third party who can help you both communicate and come to some compromise or understanding.
Happily Ever After?
We would all love to think that even after putting a solid foundation under our marriage with premarital counseling, that we will experience bliss.However, marriage is a constant work in progress. Life stressors can come along that we may not foresee, and little cracks may start to appear in the foundation.
With the tools you learn in premarital counseling, you may be able to repair these cracks before they become a giant sinkhole. No marriage is perfect, but premarital counseling can help you to put safeguards in place and start your marriage on solid ground. Isn't it worth the investment?