(Closed) Premarital counseling… Help?

posted 6 years ago in Relationships
Post # 3
3697 posts
Sugar bee

It sounds like you’re taking a very thoughtful approach to all of this. That’s great! There are a bunch of threads on the “Catholic” board that you might find interesting – maybe you’ve already been reading some of them?

A couple of nuts-and-bolts things: if you and your SO do decide to go for a church wedding, your priest will probably recommend that you have a wedding without Mass. It’s basically the same service except without Communion, and it lasts around 45 min. rather than an hour. The reason why is because having only one half of the couple take Communion introduces division in a rite that is supposed to be focused on unity.

It is possible to have a full Mass at a wedding between a Catholic and a non-Catholic baptized Christian. (I wasn’t clear on whether you meant you were not baptized in the Catholic church, or not baptized at all?) If your SO decided that he really wanted to go that route, you would need to be baptized in order for it to be an option. The baptism wouldn’t necessarily have to be in the Catholic church, though. As our creed says, “We recognize ONE baptism for the forgiveness of sins …” – in other words, any Christian baptism “counts.” If, for whatever reason, you prefer not to get baptized, then you can still have a wedding in the Catholic church but it will automatically be the non-Mass option.

Whatever you decide about the ceremony, it’s good to do at least some marriage preparation. What you described sounds like the FOCCUS program. Depending on your diocese, there may be other seminars/retreats that are recommended or required to get married in the church. It’s a little different from place to place because the local bishop sets the specific rules for wherever you are.

The first thing to do, pretty much no matter what, would be to talk to a priest. Get to know him, try to find someone you like and trust, and who you feel like you can talk with easily and ask questions (not all priests are created equal Wink). If he senses your sincerity, he will become your ally and help you with what you need in order to get married.

Best of luck to you, and feel free to PM me if there’s anything else I can help with!

Post # 5
170 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Premarital counseling is pretty important, It taught my fiance and I things we never even thought about. We didn’t have much problem communicating before but now that we’re in counseling it’s even better. With the counseling you’re able to think a little differently and communicate better. Even if you think you don’t need it I think you do, everyone does if you ask me. 

Post # 6
2335 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

May I ask why you are so averted to going to premarital counseling?

I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t either way; I’m just wondering if there’s a specific reason you really don’t want to go.

Are you concerned that premarital counseling is only for couples whose relationships are in trouble? I think if that’s what you’re worried about, it’s not a big deal- looots of couples go through premarital counseling just because, not because they think they’re struggling or anything. I wouldn’t be concerned with any possible negative stigma.

My Fiance and I plan to start our premarital counseling sessions next month. Like you, he and I have discussed most of the things we think are going to be covered beforehand with each other already. We’re both very spiritual, and have the same major beliefs pretty much down to a tee. But we’re going to counseling with our pastor anyway, because hey, it couldn’t hurt, right? And even if we only learn one tiny little thing, it’ll still be worth it.

If, as you say, you’re not worried about any issues or disagreements coming up during counseling, why not do it just because? It seems that this would be the simplest way to get the officiant you’d like, and I really don’t see how it could hurt to do it. You might surprise yourself and actually take something valuable away from it. 🙂

Post # 8
3697 posts
Sugar bee

I can definitely understand your SO’s reluctance – we (especially males in our culture) are taught that we’re supposed to be self-sufficient and independent. Especially if he’s a Marine – even though there shouldn’t be a stigma about talking to a counselor about really important personal matters, that is probably a bit of a hurdle for him.

It might help if you refer to it as “marriage preparation” instead of “premarital counseling.” Just different marketing, but it might sound more appealing that way. 😉 And the reason why the Church asks couples to do it, isn’t because they assume there’s anything wrong or in need of fixing in your relationship. It’s more because we live in a day and age in which it’s really difficult to sustain a healthy marriage, and the Church wants the best for all of her children, so marriage prep is aimed at giving couples tools and strategies they can use throughout their married lives. (Be sure to mention “tools” and “strategies” – marketing again. Those are both things that generally appeal to guys! Tongue Out)

A couple of good friends of mine who got married a few years ago share some similarities with you and your SO. He was a Catholic, she was raised “generally Christian” but unbaptized. She ended up deciding that she wanted to convert, and so she went through RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, the baptism-preparation program) and was baptized, confirmed, and given her first communion a few months before their wedding. (With adults, they confer all three sacraments of initiation at once rather than having them be spread out the way they are for children.) The best thing for you to do would be to spend some time praying about it and discerning your relationship with God. Even if you were an “accident” as far as your parents were concerned, rest assured you were no accident for God, you are His child that He wanted and meant to be here and He has a plan for you. Keep searching with a sincere heart, and He will make sure things work out for you. And, definitely, get to know a priest who can be a sounding board for you. We here on the ‘Bee do the best we can, but they are the real experts. The priests in the military archdiocese are especially good at helping out with complicated situations. It’s part of what they do every day.

Post # 9
4355 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I went in to our premarital counseling thinking it would be a waste of time. Fiance and I have lived together for 2 years, in a house we own together, we have ALL of our finances figured out already and share bank accounts and the like.

We are going in to our 3rd session tonight, and I’ve actually kind of enjoyed it so far. Although you think you’ve discussed everything with your Fiance before, we did too and some of the questions the exercises bring up actually touch on things at a level normal conversation probably wouldn’t.

If you feel connected to the Catholic faith, and your fiance was raised Catholic I say why not.

Trust me, I was DREADING going to these classes more than anyone and they really are not all that bad.

Post # 10
11752 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

You and only you (and FI) know what is best for your relationship and you guys need to do what is best.  You are adults and can make your own decisions. His parents need to accept that.

Post # 11
142 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012


My Husband and I will be having a Catholic Convalidation ceremony this year after having our civil wedding 6+ years ago and marriage counseling will still be required. We have done 3 retreats thus far because I was only baptized in the Catholic Church. When our Parish requested 4 retreats, I complained and frowned upon the idea of “wasting” my Sunday in church. Once I started them; I really enjoyed it. The retreats were very beneficial to me since I was completely clueless when it came to the Bible.

Before I started the retreats I was very adamant about the counseling classes. I thought I’d only be attacked for not being married in the eyes of god. I thought it was pointless because we’ve been together for so long and knew everything there is to know about marriage.  Now, after 24 hours of lectures and classes I realize how beneficial they were. I haven’t started mine but I think they’re meant to reduce the divorce rate by discussing “deal breakers” and to encourage you to build your relationship with God and raise your children the same way. I personally am looking forward to them. If you don’t follow religion very much, they’ll be very beneficial to you.

Post # 12
3170 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

My fiance and I have lived together for two years. Discussed pretty much everything that can be discussed and really, we see eye to eye on most everything. We still decided to do some premarital counseling though, our church required it and we though ‘what the hay?’. It has turned out to be amazing for us! Even if you do discuss things with yours SO it doesnt mean you agree or really get down to the nitty gritty of it. It’s nice to have a third party involved that can give us input from an outsiders perspective. It’s nice to be able to talk about our problem areas without getting upset with each other. And for us, it’s nice to hear God’s perspective on things. Not that we didn’t already know what He thought about stuff but having someone else say it really made it click. Do what is right for you and your SO, not what your fmil wants. But for me, it’s been really helpful. Good luck!

Post # 14
112 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@Britk:  If ou haven’t been baptized or received communion (Assuming so since one begets the other), you will not be able to attend pre Cana or be married by a priest/Catholic church. However, if those sacraments are not in our heart truly, then you shouldn’t be going through them just to get another sacrament (marriage) done. Find out what works best for you two not his parents once ou have all the facts at hand. Good luck!

Post # 15
7651 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

Just want to add that even though you have great communication there will be things brought up that will have discussion 🙂

You may be surprised what you find out about your Fiance or yourself that you didn’t know. Or even about your families. Our counseling because about handling each other’s families rather than how we are together.

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