Post # 1
I know there is another thread on this recently but I didn’t want to take it over with my question. Here’s the story… I want to do premarital counseling (with a real therapist not a priest) and Fiance does not. To him premarital counseling is for people who have a bad relationship… its like the last step before breaking up. To me, it is preventative. I think we have an awesome relationship but I still think that we could benefit from sitting down with a professional to talk things out. We do have some small issues, and lets face it neither of us has done the marriage thing before…. I think it might really help us (and at worst its a waste of an hour of our lives).
So I’m curious, how many of you did premarital counseling, and did you do it as a preventative method to make a happier marriage or did you go because you had real problems you needed to work on before you would say I Do?
Post # 3
I want to do it as well! My Fiance isn’t so hot on the idea just like yours. I feel that it will be helpful because it will hopefully teach us better ways to communicate our thoughts, anger, and feelings more effectively. And like you said, if it is lame, then we’ve only wasted an hour. I say go for it! I’m going to keep trying to convince Fiance since I think it will be helpful.
Post # 4
Oops, I voted wrong in the poll. I meant to vote that no, we are not doing it, nor did we do any religious thing, but I would have been very open to premarital counseling if Fiance were interested in doing it (actually, I don’t know if that’s an option in the poll, lol).
I agree with you, that counseling is preventative, and can make you aware of your different communication styles, different outlooks in life, different goals, etc. Plus, it’s helpful to have a third party sometimes to mediate/help explain things to you/your Fiance in a different way.
I would try and phrase it to your Fiance the way you did here–that you think it makes relationships stronger, and if nothing else, it’s an hour of your lives that you spend in that office. IMO, if it’s important to you, he should at least be open to discussing it.
Post # 5
We’ve scheduled a session for this Friday actually. I agree, its preventitive. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes, in matter that I’m passionate about, my ability to communicate appropriately sometimes just break down. My Fiance is the same. We don’t scream and yell. But we don’t address the issues. At least not ALL the time. There are a lot of life changing things that we plan to go through together. We should have an idea of how our partner plans on going through these changes. If that makes sense. And there’s something about having a mediator there that makes communication more effective sometimes.
Post # 6
For the record… my Fiance did actually agree to it after we talked about it for a while…. but basically only because it is important to me. He said he doesn’t really think it is important or necessary and he doesn’t want our friends or family to know that we’re going, but if it is important to me he’ll do it. So I think we definitely will… but I was just wondering how others felt on the topic 🙂
Post # 7
We were required through our church to meet with an outside therapist. I don’t think I would have gone if they hadn’t required it but it went really well. I wasn’t sure what to expect and neither was Fiance but it turned out to be a good experience. I have never been to a therapist before but this experience did make me more inclined to go back should we ever need/want it.
Post # 8
I understand where your coming from with “To him premarital counseling is for people who have a bad relationship… its like the last step before breaking up. To me, it is preventative.” —- and it’s totally understandable on both counts… for me, it was neither reason.
I grew up Christian, in the Methodist church, and religion is not a HUGE factor in our relationship, which it should be, but anyway — to me, it was to learn more about each other. A chance to have discussions about the BIG stuff with a third party present. We went to one of our local churches and sat down with the pastor for our first session: about communication. Let me tell you, I loved every minute of it. I don’t really know why, but to me, it was not only an hour without talk of wedding plans but about our future. 🙂
This Friday is our last session and my homework is to find out what CHURCH means. Anyone?
Post # 9
We did it because our priest required it.
Thought it was pointless for us. But my friends have loved their sessions.
I think a real therapist would be who I preferred, too. I felt like our priest had “too traditional” views on marriage and when we told him we preferred to handle, say, our finances, in a different manner than he suggested, he had nothing for us after that. I dunno, real therapists go through extensive training for this kind of stuff and deal with marriage counseling extensively, perhaps more so than priests (counselors certainly spend more of their day doing it!).
it’s just an hour of your life. Bribe him with a steak dinner afterwards. Emphasize how important it is for YOU to go, and while it may not matter to him to go, marriage is about giving in when your partner feels THAT strongly about it, sometimes.
Post # 10
Here is how our pastor described it to us: He is helping us put tools in our toolkit that will help us when/if our marriage needs fixing. Kind of a guy analogy but still. We don’t feel that we need to fix anything but it is a good idea to try to understand better.
We did the DVD series Love and Respect with another couple (MOH and her DH). It was a nice way to just talk about some things and look at the other sex from another perspective. Again it was kind of hard because neither of us had bad relationships but again, its about building those tools.
Post # 11
We’ve decided not to do it, but it’s not because we think it’s a bad idea–we’d both be open to it. However, we are not at all religious, don’t belong to a church, so an actual therapist would be the only option, and we are VERY tight on money right now. It’s just not worth the expenditure to us at this point. We’ve bought some books and we’re working through them together, but we just don’t feel that we need the third party, and we don’t want to spend the money when it doesn’t seem necessary. If the money was just sitting there burning a hole in our pockets, though, we’d probably do it–I mean, it couldn’t hurt, right? We’re 6 years into our relationship and we feel very solid, but it was very important to me that we be on the same page about how we would work through big things once we’re married…hence the books–they’re just a way to start conversations, and they’ve been really great. I think therapy is the same–it’s a great way to facilitate conversations about the important things in your relationship, so if you can do it and both parties are open to it, I say why not??
Post # 12
I think you and your Fiance are both right – going to premarital counseling in no way means that your relationship is in trouble, but it does mean that you want to take the time to address certain issues or gaps. They might only be there because you’ve led a more independent life before this, have financial questions, have communication questions, etc, and that doesn’t mean that you’re in trouble – it means you’re being proactive and taking a little time to put effort into conversation.
Some people still see a stigma with any sort of counseling, which is sad in my mind. How many people are just too worried about how they’ll be perceived to seek help?
I would definitely go with a licensed therapist, counselor, or psychologist as you said. Many people don’t realize how much actual research goes into Psychology, and how important it is that you have the guidance of someone who knows what they’re doing.
There’s no real right and wrong except for each individual couple. We’re not getting counseling just because we don’t currently have anything that we really feel like we need input on – but that doesn’t mean we won’t at some point, and we’re both open to the option.
Post # 13
We are going to do non-religios pre-marital counseling. We both have divorced parents and we both feel that sitting down with someone and talking about what marriage means to each of us and what we are looking for from the rest of our lives can only be a good and helpful thing. We want to create the lasting marriage that neither of us grew up with.
Post # 14
@lilyfaith- i think you may be right… i mean i’m not sure if it would be so important to me to go if i thought every single thing about us was perfect. i wouldn’t think it was a bad idea but i probably wouldn’t push for it. our big issue (in my opinion) is that we have drastically different styles of fighting so on the rare occasion when we do fight it turns into something way bigger than it should be because we’re so different in how we approach it. FI’s solution is to try harder to not fight. i agree but we already don’t fight very often and its just not reasonable to think we’ll never fight again for the rest of our lives so learning how to fight better i think would be helpful!
Post # 15
Yes, I’d like to. And counseling through the church; that’s just as useful in different ways. My SO is divorced, his family has a history of divorce, and we don’t really fight, so divorce and conflict management would be two things I’d want to talk about. He has a Psych degree and tried to go to counseling with his ex, which she refused, so I’m sure he wouldn’t mind. 🙂
Post # 16
Ohh, the different fighting styles! We were like that in high school and it drove me NUTS. R was the kind of storm off for space type of fighter, and I’m a big talk-it-out type of person. That is definitely something worth addressing. We kind of figured it out the hard way, because what high school couple goes to counseling? But it would have been much nicer to have someone walk us through it.
ETA: I think we’d be a lot more likely to get pre-marital counseling now if we weren’t broke college students. Plus, I use my Psych classes on us. 😛