Wedding Wednesday: Premarital Counseling

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We are both very excited that my childhood Pastor Steve will be officiating our wedding. He also officiated my sisters wedding which is pretty cool that we’re “keeping it in the family”. We will complete two or three premarital counseling sessions with him once we get closer to October. While I’m sure they will be insightful and helpful, we both felt like we needed some more substantial counseling prior to the big day.

Let me preface this all by saying that Matt and I both agree we have a very solid relationship. We have done almost everything possible to ensure we are set-up for a lifetime of happiness. I think a lot of people automatically assume there is trouble in paradise if you’re seeing a counselor. The way I think of it is this…we invest in our health, we invest in our finances, we’ve invested in our education, we invest in our friends and family, we invest in our careers…why would we not do all that we can to invest in our marriage as well?

If you ever google “Premarital Counseling Dilworth” you will be bombarded by the amount of results that are returned. So how do you pick the “right” counselor? Many times this is where a good recommendation from a friend comes in. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any, so we started from scratch. It’s hard to know if you’ll connect with a counselor and it’s really hard to tell from their website or a brief conversation. You often won’t know if there is “chemistry” until you go to a few sessions. A good counselor will let you know if he/she doesn’t think they are the right fit for you. We ended up going to a guy we knew very little about with the agreement that if he wasn’t the right fit, we would find someone else. So far we have been impressed. You can also get a list of in-network doctors from your insurance company, and also http://www.psychologytoday.com has a great “Find a Therapist” tool.

Our first session was very introductory so that we could get to know the counselor and vice versa. He asked a lot of great questions. Some I knew the answer to right away, and some that really made me think. One question that really stands out was when he asked “Why get married? In today’s society it’s completely OK to live with someone, or buy a house, or even have a child without being married. So why are you choosing to get married?”. He also asked “Why Matt?” and “Why Caitlin?”. I make it a point to tell Matt all the reasons I love him, but know that I often fall short on this. I know Matt loves me with his entire heart, but it was really cool to hear him verbalize why he does.

Our therapist has 8 or so main topics we will cover; everything from finances to parenting, to sex, household chores, relationships with in-laws, communication and trust. I know we’ve had a lot of conversations around these topics, but I think it will be good to have a third party really push us. Our therapist had some really great points that I thought I would share:

  • 67% of arguments that couples have DON’T have a resolution….meaning cooperation is the key here. Also, keep small things small
  • 95% of marriages that end, end within their first 6 years
  • We all have an “emotional bank account” – for every one “withdraw” you take from your partner, it requires five “deposits”

I think we both walked into the session with a bit a hesitation. For Matt, he thought we would leave the session with a list of reasons why our relationship wasn’t solid, or loopholes the therapist found, or tough conversations that needed to be had. We both walked away with a completely different view. We walked away feeling like our relationship is just as solid (and maybe even more) than we had thought. Our therapist really applauded us for coming to counseling before there are issues. Most couples he see’s are in the midst of life changing decisions and/or a lot of heartbreak and pain. He also suggested we come back to see him once or a twice a year once we are married to check-in and recalibrate if needed. All in all, it was a great experience and I know I’m already looking forward to our next session.

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One thought on “Wedding Wednesday: Premarital Counseling

  1. I just found your blog and it’s wonderful! I’m wedding planning as well, and this is something that my fiance and I are discussing too. I think it’s a major step in the right direction to see a counselor before you get married. We’re doing premarital counseling through our Church right now, but it’s not focusing enough on things that we had hoped it would. It’s so encouraging to see another couple prepare so well for their marriage. I think sometimes we get so focused on the actual wedding, we forget there’s a marriage that takes place after it. And it’s so much easier to prevent problems than it is to try and fix them! I’m excited to continue following your blog and seeing where your wedding planning takes you (and maybe borrow an idea or two).

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