Pre-marital counseling

posted 2 years ago in Christian
Post # 2
2630 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

We did it for the Unitarian Universalist church we got married in.  I thought it was good to go through, but I don’t think we learned anything we didn’t already know.  We had 4 sessions and went through numerous topics such as family, money, faith, etc.  Since we had already talked about most/all of the topics, nothing revolutionary came out of it, but it was nice to focus on our relationship and talk about our future marriage.   A lot of times it is easy to get wrapped up in all the wedding stuff, so it was a nice time to really focus on what we were having the wedding for- our marriage.

Post # 3
1845 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2017

I haven’t done it yet but am planning to as long as we can fit it in between my work trips and our pastor’s trips. We’ve already read a workbook on cross cultural relationships, are currently reading the 5 love languages, and then we plan to read a marriage prep book.

Being in a cross cultural relationship has definitely encouraged me to be much more proactive about this but some of the conversations we’ve had are ones that are generally important to have before marriage. I’m not sure how much I’ll get out of the marriage counselling here as I’m not entirely on the same page as them theologically but if I were in the UK I’d put more emphasis on counselling and less on all these books.

Post # 4
1391 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2020

We did the Prepare-Enrich premarital counseling through a therapist, and it was super neat. We both enjoyed it a lot and realized new things about each other that we subconsiously knew, but never thought about. I would highly recommend trying it out even with you doing pastor counseling, because they are very different. Prepare-Enrich focuses on personality traits, family dynamics, and possible issues that may arise to work against, whereas pastor counseling is more religion based. So go for both!

As for when to sign up, I don’t have much experience there to give advice upon.

Best of luck!

Post # 5
116 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

annann91 :  

Yes, we had it, I think it was 10 weeks, plus we met a few times with a mentor couple to talk about things.

Sure, it was quite helpful, it covers a lot of things couples usually have conflict over and gave methods to deal with conflict, it brings up a lot of issues that you two need to talk about beforehand (perhaps things you had not thought about) that could cause future conflict and you are encouraged to talk these issues out beforehand and to compromise.

There was a lot covered in teaching you both how to interact with each other and how NOT to argue with each other. How to disagree but to still treat each other with kindness, love and respect.

It covered a lot about putting your marriage first and to stay away from things that put stress on the marriage. For example a lot of things I read here are about what one person wants to do and the overall attitude is basically that of selfishness. I want to do it therfore I do it, me getting to do whatever I want whenever I want to do it is the most important thing, any attempt to get me to put the health of the relationship first rather than what I want is deemed “controlling”. Many bring up things that put stress on the relationship to satisfy one party’s whims and although they may get their short term selfish wants satisfied, it damages the relationsip long term. There is much covered about honoring the marriage first and that sometimes we sacrifice because we want a long-term, healthy, happy marriage over always getting our way and chasing after every whim.

There’s a lot about finances, how many kids you want, dealing with inlaws and boundaries with them, how to make decisions together, what if there is an impass and you can’t agree, how to set boundaries to keep the marriage safe.

But, just like all classes they are only helpful if you apply what you learn. If you just forget it all in four months time it won’t help much. I remember a lot but some I’ve forgotten. I still have the little booklet and notes around somewhere.

Post # 6
856 posts
Busy bee

We did it.  There was a long, on line questionnaire for each if us to fill out and the pastor got the results.  We met with him 4 time to discuss the results.  It was very helpful.  We learned what was working for us as a couple and where we might have issues in the future.  We also learned new things about each other.  We both really enjoyed it.

Post # 7
85 posts
Worker bee

We haven’t done our counseling yet (signed up but the classes haven’t started). One thing to consider–most churches allow “pre-engaged” couples to attend and participate as well. That may fit your timeline better to do the counselling now and get engaged later. 

Post # 8
155 posts
Blushing bee

We did two different sets of counselling.  One through our home church and one because the pastor marrying us in my hometown also required us to do counselling through him.

The first one used the prepare-enrich material and for us it was very helpful.  We had great communication already and had talked about most of the big things for marriage but we still found the prepare-enrich to be very very helpful.  As a PP said, it also does some personality testing.  It might be because we are both scienists but we love having as much knowledge and information to explain why we react and act the way that we do.  For example, the mayers-briggs personality test where it explains why he needs to be 5 minutes early to everything!

The most enlighten aspect for us was the family backgrounds aspect.  As I said, we already talked about the big things like kids, money etc etc but it turns out family background and why you react the way you do to things was incredibly helpful.  It can be really small things like I always turn of lights when I leave a room while my husband leaves them on.  At first it annoyed me until I realized it was our family backgrounds.  We talked about it, laughed about how ingrained it was in who we are and that was it.  Something so minor but so interesting to talk about!  Of course there were more important and significant things about our family backgrounds that we needed to recognize so we could understand and deal with them.  It was almost more about understanding yourself and realizing why you respond the way that you do.  There are times even do this day (married 3 years) where I still respond seemingly out of character to something and I realize its a family backgrounds thing.  I then apologies for my weird response and explain to my Darling Husband why it happened both so I can work on it and so he can be more understanding that it really wasn’t in response to him.  So in that sense I loved the prepare-enrich course.

The counselling with the hometown pastor was not as helpful.  As I said, we already had good communication and his was a lot more vague and about general concepts.  Still glad we did it as I think you can never have too much communication and talking through things in a relationship.  I also think it helps build trust, respect and enjoyment of each other!

Post # 9
929 posts
Busy bee

It was mandatory when I got married in the Catholic church with my first marriage. We had a weekend retreat. Obviously it didnt work, because we are now divorced.

I am now newly married. We did not seek any pre marital counseling, and I am happier than I ever thought possible.

Post # 10
916 posts
Busy bee

We did it with a therapist not through a church. I thought it was very helpful and beneficial. 

Post # 11
2004 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

Fiance and I are planning on doing it at the church we’re members of. We haven’t scheduled it yet.

Just be prepared, that depending on the religion you are, your counselor/pastor may lecture you on unequally yoking yourself to a nonbeliever. I don’t know how your SO may take that.

Post # 12
246 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

I’m Catholic, so my fiance and I did Pre-Cana with our church and are now in the process of doing Prepare-Enrich with the priest who will be marrying us. We both surprisingly are enjoying it! It sort of gives you an outsider’s perspective of the strengths and weaknesses in your relationship. And it’s nice to openly discuss certain topics that we may not normally talk about and/or if we talked about in private it would have the potential to turn into an argument. Our priest is also younger and very understanding, so he’s been able to give us some great advice as well!

Post # 13
207 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2017 - Baltimore. MD.

We did the Prepare-Enrich premarital counseling through our pastor and it’s been quite helpful. We got to see each other’s strengths and weaknesses through someone else’s eyes. And that has helped greatly in dealing with some things we weren’t so sure on how to go about.

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