Post # 1
Hi Secular Bees,
Have any of you been through or have opinions on premarital counseling for us non-religious folks?
I can’t seem to find anyone that even offers this service. They all seem to be biblical based. While the bible has great morals and is a great foundation for some people, I would prefer to not have the bible shoved down my throat.
Just wondering what y’alls thoughts are or how you dealt with this in your own situations.
Post # 3
I think it’s a good idea to have pre-marital counseling of some kind regardless of religious beliefs….I think it may just be harder to find because a cleric performing the ceremony will offer it up (typically because most houses of worship offer it anyway, or the cleric does it him/herself) while a secular officiant probably won’t. Best bet to find it would be googling for marriage/family therapists. They are usually social workers or people with masters in psych. This will almost certainly be more expensive than a faith-based route because it is their main income source.
You could also look up various churches that do pre-marital counseling and just see how much of it is based on the bible–some places offer verrrrrrry secular seeming ones that are mostly just about getting the two of you to talk and make sure you’ve discussed issues like finances/child-rearing etc. I know my rabbi offers pre-marital counseling for free for couples he’s marrying (usually just one session since this isn’t a religious requirement or even very common in the Jewish community) where he has a list of things to discuss ahead of time between you…the only religious thing on it is essentially “are the 2 of you on the same page about how religiously observant you want to be?” and “are you 2 in agreement on how you plan to raise children in regards to religion?”
Post # 4
My sister and her new husband did secular pre-marital counseling and they LOVED it. From what I understand, each week was a unique topic like sex, finance, family etc and the counselor gave them an oppurtunity to think about things they might not have. They also had fun homework assignment each week. I don’t know much else but I know they adored it.
I would suggest looking for counselors who are Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT) and then contacting them direcetly to see if they have a program geared toward premarital counseling.
Post # 5
My husband and I are religious, but for our premarital conseling we went through the Prepare/Enrich program with our pastor, and there is actually nothing religous in this program itself. It was just good in terms of making us think about all aspects of our life together, making sure we were on the same page. You each take a long quiz which is sent out to be scored, and you get a report that highlights areas you might want to talk about with your counselor. They have a website (www.prepare-enrich.com) where you can find a facilitator by zip code, and while I’m sure a lot of pastors etc. are listed, there are probably secular facilitators too. Hope you find what you are looking for!
Post # 6
I’ve been looking for non-biblical pre-marital counselling myself! It doesn’t seem to be that common but I’ve looked into a few that are sort of like weekend retreats. I’m hoping we find something, though.
Post # 7
Thanks guys! Great places to start! 🙂
I love the idea of a weekend retreat! Let me know if you find anything along those lines. I’ll post here if I find anything.
Post # 8
- Wedding: June 2010 - New York Botanical Garden
Have you asked your officiant? He or she might be able to recommend or lead you in something similar as well.
Post # 9
We have asked the officent, and they don’t offer anything secular. Good suggestion tho!
Post # 10
@DisneyBrideCKB: whereabouts are you? We’re in Nowheresville, Northen Ontario which is partially why I’m looking at retreats, because there’s no way we can travel 3+ hours every time we have a counselling appointment. I’m looking around Ontario and the Winnipeg area.
Post # 11
We’ve signed up for a Marriage Prep course that is run by an Anglican minister but there seems to be nothing religious about it. He’s actually a family and marriage counselor which is why I like it. It’s also offered online!
@moosey: You may want to check this one out, it’s Friday/Saturday but it is all the way down here in the GTA. They do offer an online version and maybe if you contact them they could suggest something closer to you! http://www.marriageprep.com/
Post # 12
@DisneyBrideCKB: my Fiance and i did premarital counseling before we were engaged. it was something super important to him, and though i thought it was strange to do before the proposal – it was SO WONDERFUL and SUCH a good idea.
we were able to find someone non religious based and that was key. it made the sessions more comfortable and easier to be honest/open about things such as sexual activity, living together and etc without being judged.
thru it – we did the prepare/enrich. which is also something that can be done online. and we read (on our own) the seven principles to making marriage work by john gottman. non religious, helped us learn a lot about each other, and brought us closer together than i ever thought a book could do. fun little tests and quizzes at the end of chapters etc.
in the counseling session – the lady recommended the five love languages. another non religious incredible book to just figure out what you and your so/fi/dh really need from each other and what really makes you tick! provides a million ways to keep the spark 🙂
our relationship is great and i really think it contributed. good luck!
Post # 13
I think it’s a really good idea! We’re probably going to do it, even though we’re also doing religious counseling.
Post # 14
isn’t that something to do before agreeing to get married? I mean if now it turns out something comes up where you’re polar opposites and it becomes an issue, what happens? Not that I’m wishing anything on anyone. Just saying.
Post # 15
Someone correct me if I’m wrong, as I haven’t been through this yet, but it is my understanding that premarital counseling is something that helps the two of you better communicate with one another.
In My Humble Opinion, if I’ve agreed to marry someone it is because I already think we are compatible and I’ve made a commitment to work through the hard times and difficult situations with them. Polar opposites and serious convictions that are contrary to one another are situations I’ve already committed to work though when I agreed to marry my Fiance.
That being said, I do believe everyone could use some tips and pointers on how better to communicate and have some strategies for tackling the hard problems in relationships when they arrise (and they will). That’s what I believe the premarital counseling is for.
Any other opinions?
Post # 16
@DisneyBrideCKB: We are using a licensed counselor for our premarital counseling. She specializes in couples. Our officiant offered counseling, but because he’s a Pastor, told us that he is unable to separate religion from the counseling.