(Closed) Has anyone gone to counseling before they even got engaged? (+ advice needed)

posted 8 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
501 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

I don’t think counseling is ever a bad idea! what do you have to lose. . .i say if you’re thinking you might get something out of it, then you probably will. 🙂

Post # 4
1909 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Dear MissHoneyBun – first off, you are incredibly brave for putting yourself out there and acknowledging that things could be better.  You are right to want to “get your ducks in a row” as you say.

Two words, DO IT!  You won’t regret it, especially if he is willing to go.

My Fiance and I had communication differences similar to you describe.  After dating a year with many standoffs and meltdowns (from seemingly “little” things), I asked that we try couples counseling and it was the best decision we have made for our relationship.  We went to weekly sessions for about a year.  It was painful at first, but we learned a lot about ourselves and each other, and now quote our Dr’s words when we see trouble on the horizon.

Just today I was telling him how happy I am that we have a harmonious relationship!  Our therapist broke down the barriers that prevented openness and honesty.  We are trusting and emotionally intimate and we “get” each other.  This is not to say that we don’t have our disagreements every so often.  Now they are fewer and last minutes instead of days.

Therapy can help you decide if you can overcome your differing points of view or if it’s time to move forward as individuals.  Marriage will not magically fix any challenges and I encourage you to sort it out before you head to the altar.

Best of luck!

Post # 5
175 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I would highly recommend doing counseling before getting engaged for any couple.  I did it with my fiance and I learned so much about myself and him. Overall, I learned how to communicate much more effectively with him.  The same the other way around. 

Women and men think so differently! 

Post # 7
3601 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 1992

Mr. Dear and I  read relationship/ marriage books when we were “pre-engaged.” My favorite was the Seven Principles to Making Marriage Work. That one isn’t religion based, either.

Post # 8
7519 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

I think that given your reasoning, it is a good idea.  Not saying that any of your issues are insurmountable, but I think it would be a good idea to work on them and like you said- get your ducks in a row.

Post # 9
2161 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I think it’s a great idea and shows how responsible you both are.  You both are doing it to make it work better instead of just plain making it work.

Have you read the book “The Five Love Languages”?  I’m one that feels loved with physicial touch, where my finance shows his love by “acts of service.”   So, his way of showing me that he loves me is by doing things for me.   I feel most loved when I get a cuddle, arm around me, etc…    Since we’ve read the book, we make a point to do something that we both appreciate.  Something to think about, I think my library even had a copy.


Post # 10
3011 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I think counseling is a great idea for the two of you.  Especially if he’s willing to participate.

I can complete relate to the LDR thing.  J and I were in a LDR relationship for over a year.  I felt single during the week.  He was very distant.  He rarely talked to me.  I was always told he was tired, doing something, etc.  But when we were together – we were inseparable.  I was completely confused.  I hated it.  I was absolutely miserable during the weeks.  Then he’d get on my case on how I was always miserable because I wasn’t with him 24/7.  It’d make me feel like shit.  I became distant.  He simply didn’t understand how he was different during the week until I gave him a dose of his own medicine at times.

Sorry, don’t mean to thread-jack.  But what I’m saying is that if something along those lines would’ve continued, counseling would be in the picture as we speak.

Good luck to the both of you.

Post # 11
941 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I may be a bit bias in my opinion, but I think everyone should be in counseling.  I think having a neutral observer to help navigate a thought process–good/bad/neutral/whatever–can be extremely valuable.  

And I don’t think therapy needs to be reserved for any specific time (when you’re married, before you’re married, when you’re on the verge of disaster, whatever).  It sounds like you’ve expressed some very valid concerns that I think would be great and important to address in therapy.  And communication is one of those super tricky issues that is really necessary, in my mind, for a fully comfortable relationship.  (Sure, it can be not ideal, thoguh I think that leads to a relationship that isn’t as satisfying as it could be).

So, yeah basically I agree with everyone else who says go for it.  And it’s great that you’re realizing what you need to do for support, and finding ways to get that support.  It’s not easy to do, and it’s awesome that you are.  🙂 

Post # 12
2825 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

I say try it!  It won’t HURT anything.  My Fiance and I were thinking about going to counselling before we got engaged…  We might even go before we get married.  We don’t actually feel like we need to, but like you said we want our “ducks in a row”.  We both have a lot of baggage (he was married and I was engaged) and our relationship moved quickly.  For a while we were having some communication issues and I was thinking it was time for counselling but then I realized the only communication problem was me not telling him how I felt…  And when I did he was very open and receptive!  Though we haven’t needed it yet, we both know that counselling is always on the table.

I think counselling would only make things better or make you realize that you need/deserve more.  Best of luck!

Post # 13
9824 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

Like the other night he went up to bed and I said “I love you” and his response was “It’s hard for me right now.”

That would drive me INSANE. Sorry.

I’m kind of in the camp of therapy when things get dire and it sounds like maybe it’s reached that point for you. Therapy can be a great way to help examine and heal cracks in a broken relationship. It can also make you realize that maybe the problem is that you’re with the wrong person. You have to mentally prepare yourself for the possibility that it can be very painful, and that you’re going to hear things you don’t want to. Good luck with your decision.

Post # 14
43 posts
  • Wedding: February 2011

Pre-marriage counseling is hard when you are engaged because you start working on all these issues.  It’s really hard because there’s TONS of pressure to get through everything and not call it off even though you are discovering so much negative about each other (and yourself!).  I think that once you get to the point of “we are going to get marriage” you should start pre-marriage counseling, engaged or not.  Because I think you already start to feel that pressure of the M word and start to want to run, etc.  And things get blown up because it’s a scary time.  If nothing else, start to read books that are recommended for pre-marriage counseling.  Many do have a Christian slant, but some not as much as others.  Try Men are Waffles and Women are Spaghetti for a basic book on communicating.  It’s pretty basic and I didn’t find the Christiany stuff too off-putting or over-the-top.

Post # 15
923 posts
Busy bee

The stigma in this country of what it means to see a professional really pisses me off. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you if you see a professional. Who knows how to be married? We aren’t born knowing how to make this work. If you were going to work at a job that you were going to have for the rest of your life and you would never quit even when it got bad, would you go into that job with NO TRAINING?? With no skills of what to do, how to do, problem solving, ect.???? Of course not. Marriage is work, it is a job. And there is no reason why you both shouldn’t get down to a counselor and talk things out. They are a professional who can give you the steps and tools to know how to handle all these things you’re talking about. You will get so many varied opinions on weddingbee about how to handle a specific issue or fight, but it really is a private matter that you and your husband need to figure out how to handle and do what works for you. Different things work for different couples. There’s nothing wrong with fighting, but when you feel the way you are it says to me that you know it would be best if both of you went to a counselor together, but you’re just worried about what it says about you as a couple. don’t worry about that. What’s more important: what people might think of you if you go to counseling or being in a fufilling loving relationship where both of your needs are met the the fullest extent because you have been taught how to do that for each other?

Who cares what that little voice in the back of your head says! Tell it to shut the hell up and get your asses down to a great counselor who teach you both some tools. It’s more fun then you think! My husband and I love it, and wouldn’t be where we are today without it!!

Good luck!

Post # 16
348 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

@NYshoppingirl: i could not agree more. the stigma of “therapy” really pisses me off.

life is hard. sometimes we need help. i say, go for it. in my opinion, fighting in relationships is inevitable. it sounds like maybe you guys just need some help communicating your needs. an unbiased listener/advice giver would be able to help you with this, to be sure.

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