The commitment to build a life together that is signified by a formal engagement is a very significant step up from dating. You may each have expectations for this new phase of your relationship that you haven’t shared with your partner or haven’t even acknowledged to yourself. Each partner may bring into this commitment not just his/her adult personality but also everything that was learned (consciously or subconsciously) in the family of origin.

Do we need premarital counseling?

Engaged couples are generally happy with their current relationship. However, it helps to identify any weaknesses that could grow into bigger problems in the future if they are not addressed.

Here are some examples of how premarital counseling can equip you for a lasting, successful partnership:

  • Identify current strength and growth areas in each of the partners
  • Strengthen communication skills so that you can talk to each other in the future without resorting to blaming, defensiveness, or stonewalling
  • Determine how you are different and alike as individuals and how this can work to your advantage as a couple
  • Facilitate a discussion of important issues such as finances and goals you each have as a couple and for yourselves as individuals.

My Approach to Premarital Counseling

In working with couples who are contemplating marriage, I may begin working with just one partner if that’s who comes in first. I find that this is often the case, as one partner may elect to “scout out” a suitable counselor. In this case, i begin by exploring with the individual his or her goals and aspirations for the relationship and the challenges that may already be present and noticeable. At some point, the counseling moves to involving both partners (usually after a coupe of sessions with the partner who came in first.) It is at this juncture that I utilize a frequently updated online assessments with which I am very familiar and that I have been using for years, the Prepare Enrich Assessment. It is a 250-question tool that helps analyze the couple’s attitudes and beliefs on an extensive range of topics, including communication styles, conflict resolution skills, and many more. The Prepare Enrich assessment results, which I share with the couple, help establish a baseline for the next five-six sessions in working through the issues and differences that need attention.

Need premarital counseling? Call Dr. Z for an appointment at (678) 554-5632 or fill out the online appointment request