Pre-Marital Counselling and Marriage Prep course- What are your experiences?

posted 1 year ago in Weddingbee
Post # 2
1851 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2017

My husband and I had a series of 3 classes with our pastor. We are an intercultural couple and has already read a couple of books aimed at intercultural couples, so we had already discussed most of the topics that came up in the marriage prep classes. However, if you haven had those discussions (things like communication style, finances, differences in how you were raised and the impact that has on worldview, conflict resolution) I definitely recommend it.

Our pastor has developed the classes himself so I’m afraid I don’t have any recommendations. I didn’t agree with everything he said because he’s from my husband”s culture and i don’t agree with all his culture says about women, but that also opened the door for more discussion with my husband outside of the classes.

Post # 3
446 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

At the church we’re getting married at, there is a staff member who does premarital counseling.  We’re going for our 4th and final session in a couple of weeks.  It’s a Christian based curriculum he came up with but incorporate things like The Five Love Languages.  I think it’s been beneficial although FH and I have already discussed a lot of these things already.

I can’t recommend how to find someone based on personal experience, but as a resident in counseling (I have a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy, and one of the required classes was on premarital counseling).  First, I agree that I think premarital counseling is a huge benefit – reasearh indicates marriages are less likely to end if couples go through some type of (good!) counseling before the wedding.  I became certified in the PREPARE/ENRICH assessment, and I think it’s a great tool.  You can search their website and find out information on it, and if you like what you discover, they have a therapist search on there as well.  That could be one way to find someone.

Also try websites like Psychology Today.  Look for therapists that offer couples counseling (if you can’t specifically find premarital) and ask what they offer for premarital couples.

Good luck with your search!!

Post # 4
543 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

Yes I went with my (now ex) fi. We went to a series of 3 through the church, with a few other couples there at the same time.

Yes, it was useful to me, as it really made us talk about important issues that you may not have thought about, or may be avoiding facing, and communication.

Sadly for me it meant that I realised the extent to which we could not discuss issues with his mother – he just refused to believe there was anything wrong to even discuss. But one of the points of pre-marital counselling in my opinion is to really be sure you’re prepared for marriage to each other. So it was certainly beneficial in that sense, although sad at the time.

We didn’t call it off until other things had happened, but it was certainly thought-provoking and I would recommend it.

Post # 5
390 posts
Helper bee

I’m not married yet, but one of my good friends is a pastor and although our church doesn’t mandate premarital counseling she personally conducts it for all couples she marries. 

One thing we’ve talked about on the subject was that premarital counseling is great for being able to talk about the difficult topics. She told me about one couple she married who were very excited about having children and raising them together etc. So my friend asked the question “what happens if you can’t concieve?”. The couple did end up having a good answer to it but it did take them aback, because obviously it’s not something you often talk about. But that’s a big part of premarital counseling is thinking about these things, and figuring out if your marriage can handle it before you take the plunge. 

Post # 10
22 posts
  • Wedding: May 2019

lovebirdy :  Hi! Overall, I think we have been having a great experience in counseling – it’s been so helpful. We have been to about 5 sessions so far. We go to the pastor of the church we attend. The pastor leads the session with his wife and honestly theyre so laid back and down to Earth and easy to talk to. We can be open and transparent with them and they give us honest advice that really seems unbiased and impartial. They provide homework assignments, reading material, and examples from their own marriage and they teach us skills to help us listen and understand one another better. I know our experience may be a bit different because we didnt search out counseling classes, but I do overall think counseling has been really helpful and encouraging – and with the right counselor – it can be a wonderful experience to help you be successful on your marriage journey. 

Post # 11
1097 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

I took advantage of my Employee Assistance Plan, which offers up to 6 counseling sessions for whatever you want – could be weightloss, individual therapy, financial counseling, etc. We found a therapist who was covered and had some really helpful conversations with her before we got married. We didn’t have a lot of issues already identified to talk about, and by the end we were sort of scrambling for stuff to discuss, but we learned some useful communication tools and ways of framing how we each think and talk to each other – e.g., I’m a very narrative thinker, so I need the context that lays the stage for a decision to be made, whereas my husband thinks through everything in his head and announces his decision, then would get annoyed when I asked questions he had already thought through but not shared with me – assuming I thought he hadn’t already considered every angle. Once we cleared that up, we were able to resolve a few small tensions, and it’s made our communication since a lot better since we make fewer assumptions.

Neither of us is religious so it was important to both of us to go to a regular, secular counselor. My husband has lots of experience with therapy and I had none before this, so it was a little imbalanced in a way – I felt a bit daunted to talk about my feelings so openly – but it was a really good experience!

Post # 12
1851 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2017

lovebirdy :  We read “Love Across Latitudes”, it has chapters on various topics and then a list of questions at the end of each chapter. You can get it on amazon, either paperback (I think) or Kindle, which is what I have. The authors are Christians, but it’s definitely useful for cross-cultural couples regardless of religion.

The other books I/we read were in French… if you happen to read French I can tell you what they were called, but otherwise they’re not much use!

Post # 13
1089 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2017 - A vineyard

My husband and I did about 4 or 5 sessions with the military chaplain who officiated our marriage. I thought it was great because we found we had already discussed most of the topics that the counseling addressed previously during our getting to know you conversations. So for us it just cemented the feeling that we were making the right choices. Even though the chaplain was doing the counseling the program she was using didnt seem to be religious at all. Which was fine because even though my husband and I both are, I hate overt in your face stuff. 

I dont remember the name of it but we had to go online and take a sort of quiz that took me about 45 minutes to complete that seemed to show the ways we were similar and different. Then we spent the other sessions talking about how to address those similarities and differences in our marriage. I thought it was pretty useful stuff ๐Ÿ™‚

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