Post # 1
My mother thinks it is important to go through premarital counseling, and I would like to do so. The thing is, most people I know have been counseled by their pastor, and since my Fiance is agnostic, I’m not sure if a pastor would do it for us. Does anyone have thoughts on this? Has anyone else gone through premarital counseling? How have your thoughts on this differed from your fiances’? What do you guys think about it?
Post # 3
I don’t know that it’s counseling but we do have 3 meets scheduled with our priest. I am sure it will include some sort of asking questions and we have open discussions.
Maybe you could find a counselor that isn’t faith based so your Fiance feels more comfortable. Find a marriage counselor that will meet with you a few times before getting married.
Post # 4
we’ll be doing 2 different sessions. one with our pastor and one with a marriage and family therapist. you can go to the mft if you didn’t want to go through a pastor.
i really want to go to pre-martial couseling, just to make sure we know what each other’s expectations are for marriage and talk about things beforehand. my guy agreed so long as we also had a second session with someone outside our church to make sure we were getting a well-rounded vision for marriage.
Post # 5
We’re agnostic so no priest stuff for us.
If you live near a University that has an MFT education program they are usually looking four couples to practice on. Free and they have only a few clients so they get to know you pretty well.
Post # 6
We had two sessions with a marriage therapist. We are very shy and had a hard time with this. We got a lot more out of the Engaged Encounter weekend.
Post # 7
- Wedding: August 2009 - Battery Gardens
We did both pastoral counseling and a one-day all day workshop which was not faith based. I think it was a good balance. Is there a similar option in your community?
Post # 8
Another good thing about premarital counseling, in our state (TN), your marriage license costs $60 less! We are doing counseling through our church and are enjoying the experience. I’m not sure if we would have sought out counseling if it had not been required by the church. One alternative that my cousin did was to buy some kind of a “getting ready to get married” book and they read it together.
Post # 9
We are not doing counseling and only would have if the church we were getting married in required it. My Maid/Matron of Honor is getting married in August and doing counseling with her Fiance and she always tells me the questions they ask though and so my Fiance have been doing those and it has been fun. Also then we have other people’s responses to compare too which I think is good because it makes the conversation have more depth.
Post # 10
We were required to do one short premarital counseling session with my pastor in order to marry in the church but I think we would have done something regardless. For our session we went over a family trees to get us thinking about our relationship models. FI’s family has had a lot of divorces so it was refreshing to hear him talk about how that affected him and how he wants to be different. We also talked about family health histories just so we were both aware. There was a short “test” that we both took independtly prior to meeting the pastor and he compared our results for us. Essentially the test was about your family of origin: how it functioned, how tight everyone was, different rules, etc. and then how you wanted your future family to be. It was definitely reassuring to see on paper that we both wanted the similar things in our future family (even though we had talked about it before). We also learned that we both want to be tight-knit family but I come from a family that is a little more reserved with emotions while FI’s family is a little smothering in emotions. The pastor pointed out that I may perceive Fiance as being distant or not working towards the same goal because he takes time independantly but in actuality we both want the same time of bonds.
Post # 11
We are also agnostic and in Seattle at least, there are NO non-religious pre-marital counseling classes, I searched high and low and even posted about it. I felt really strongly that we should do something, so we wound up going to a weekend-long class at the Gottman Institute. The Gottmans have done many years of marital and family counseling and are fairly well respected, they’re on NPR a lot, etc. They are famous for being able to predict if a couple is going to divorce with a success rate of like 93%. We really enjoyed the weekend class, although it wasn’t strictly pre-marital I think the conflict resolution skills we learned and the “four horsemen of the apocalypse” relationship warning signs were maybe more helpful than regular pre-marital counseling? I don’t know, that’s what I felt. Anyway, they make a DVD of the weekend session that you can get off their website and their books are also helpful, I would recommend it.
I’ve also heard that Engaged Encounter, although created by Catholics, isn’t very religious, although on the other hand you do have to go through Mass at the end, so I don’t know about that. PAIRS is another one that is secular that you can find online, if they have something in your area it might be something to consider.
Post # 12
Thank you! This is REALLY helpful. I’ve been at such a loss for how to approach this, especially with our different religious backgrounds and different comfort levels with pastor-counseling types of situations. I think I might’ve read that post you’re talking about, Mthdgirl. I’m wondering if there’s a similar marriage license “discount” here, katiebug. I think that talking through the kinds of stuff you guys discussed would be really helpful, Miss_Riley. I really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. It’s so nice to have this online “community” forum of other people in similar situations! Thank you for the specifics on counseling services, too, everyone! I am definitely going to check those out.
Post # 13
I know some people who have said pre-marital counseling is a great idea. Only thing is, I have been having a really hard time finding a place for this. I found a couple places – but it was really expensive. One place wanted $150 for each visit!!!! I really think my bf and I need to go b/c of the suggestions and also b/c we need to work on our communication – if anyone has suggestions on how to find a professional counselor with experience I would be so appreciative!! Also, how much does it typically cost? I live in New York City…. Thanks ladies!
Post # 14
My boyfriend is atheist, but my pastor plans to counsel us when the time comes. Talk to your pastor, he/she might surprise you.
Post # 15
you can definitely do them outside of a pastor… there are also community centers that have free seminars and group sessions too, if u do the legwork to find them!
Fiance and I are doing our pre-marital sessions with my pastor via the web (he’s in cali, we’re in mi)
currently, we’re reading him/her versions of “the five love languages” and we’re both really enjoying it!
Post # 16
We are required to go through pre-marital counseling to be married in my church, and its been a really good experience overall. While we’re not necessarily having any major breakthroughs or learning new things about each other we didn’t already know, its provided a deliberate way for us to think through and talk through things in a different manner than we’ve done before. As long as you both go in with an open mind, I think its really worthwhile.