These days, planning for a wedding is a big deal, and the amount of money that goes into a the big day can be quite a lot! While many couples make it a priority to spend money on engagement parties, great food, flowers, music, a fancy Austin wedding venue, and more, they often overlook premarital counseling. It’s not really thought of as a necessary wedding planning expense.
It’s funny... the whole reason you’re having a wedding in the first place is because of your relationship. You love each other, have committed to one another, and plan to spend your lives together. Above all else, the relationship is the most important piece. Yet, it gets overshadowed by all of the other tasks that come along with wedding planning.
If you want a long-lasting marriage, premarital counseling is a reasonable and essential wedding planning expense. “Attend premarital counseling” really is a box that needs to be checked on that long list of wedding planning tasks. But instead of thinking of it as a task like all the rest, you can think of it as an invaluable experience where you’ll each learn how to help keep your relationship strong through the ups and downs of life.
Why You Should Invest in Your Relationship With Premarital Counseling
Premarital counseling helps couples prepare for marriage and gives you a better chance of having a strong, healthy relationship. Here are 7 good reasons you should consider attending premarital counseling before the big day!
1. Lay out marriage expectations
Premarital counseling can help you get realistic about marital expectations. Most people have different ideas about what marriage, family, and life together will be like. Talking about what each of you expects out of your marriage can help you check some of those expectations that aren’t so realistic and figure out where certain expectations are mismatched.
2. Learn communication skills
You may be going into your marriage believing that your partner will know exactly how to meet all of your needs, or that if you really love each other, you’ll always get along. Nothing could be further from the truth. There’s a reason that one of the most common issues couples attend marriage counseling for is communication problems. Most of us don’t have great communication skills when it comes to relationships. Instead of feeling like you’re speaking two different languages, you can learn effective communication skills to help you communicate assertively about your needs, expectations, and feelings, as well as learn to truly listen to one another and compromise during conflict. Learning this early in your marriage can save you from communication struggles down the road.
3. Increase your understanding of one another
Through guided premarital counseling exercises, you can learn about each of your similarities and differences. You’ll be able to anticipate areas where you may struggle due to these differences, as well as celebrate and appreciate differences in personality, values, or preferences. Having this understanding of one another is also an essential part of working through conflict.
4. Get on the same page
One of the best things about premarital counseling is the fact that you’re each presented with the same information and you’re learning the same things. Being on the same page with expectations, communication, and managing conflict gives you a common language. Implementing new ways of interacting in your relationship is much easier if your partner is on board as well!
5. Identify your relationship strengths
When people think of any kind of counseling or therapy, they often think of it as something you do when things are going wrong. Premarital counseling is a little different. Many engaged couples have really strong relationships. In addition to knowing what areas you need to work on, it’s good to recognize your relationship strengths too. Especially when times get tough, your strengths are areas to fall back on to help you get through the hard times.
6. Discover new things about your partner
In general, it’s just fun to learn new things about one another. It’s always great to be surprised about something, even after years of being together. Being curious and paying attention to your partner’s likes, dislikes, hopes, and dreams helps your partner feel truly known by you. In the long run, knowing all the little things about your partner gives you the ability to treat your partner well and increases intimacy in your relationship.
7. Increase your chances of a long-lasting, happy marriage
For first-time marriages, research shows that about half of marriages will end in divorce. Even for those couples who don’t get divorced, many couples end up staying in unhappy marriages. You don’t want to just make it through, you want your marriage to thrive. By doing premarital work, you’re lowering your risk of divorce and setting your marriage up for success. In fact, couples who participate in premarital education report, on average, a 30% stronger marriage.
Don’t make the mistake of planning only for the wedding day, but prepare for a long-lasting, fulfilling marriage as well.