What you need to know about Premarital Counseling
Premarital counseling is for people who are preparing for marriage what couples therapy is for married couples. The major difference between the two is that the former is designed for people who are preparing to enter into marital union. It helps them to make informed decision whether to marry or not. The therapist will help the couples to understand themselves, their strong sides, weak points and differences. The therapy also is given to the couples with the aim of helping them to build a lasting and healthy marital relationship. It charts a path couples should follow in order to have a satisfying and stable marriage.
Just like couples therapy, premarital counseling is not like any other type of counseling sessions which can be given by any therapist. It is a special type of therapist given by only people with the necessary knowledge, skills and license. It requires a thorough understanding of marriage and problems that can arise in marriage and the best means of handling such problems. Given the complex nature of issues handled during premarital counseling, professional pre-marital counselors are required to be licensed in the US. The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) is the authorized association that provides the license to professional therapist.
Besides professional premarital counselors, there are religious leaders like priests who are very proficient in offering premarital counseling. Some religious society lay strong emphasis on premarital counseling and thus they train their clergies to be expert premarital and marital counselors. Some religious societies require their members who are preparing to wed to undergo premarital counseling sessions for a stipulated number of months before they can be allowed to wed in their church. Most religious leaders or clergies that provide premarital counseling sessions are not licensed or certified not because of lack of necessary experience
but because they are not professional marital counselors. They only provide counseling as required by their religions or in compliance with the teachings or theology of their various churches. Given this, you cannot substitute professional premarital counselor for clergies. However, there are clergies who have licenses and certification to offer such services as professionals.
Who requires premarital counseling?
Premarital counseling is very important for people in relationship who are planning to cement their love in marriage. Therefore, any couple planning to marry should try and go for premarital counseling. It will give them a lot of benefits in their marital union. Here are some of the reasons why you should consider going for premarital therapy before getting married.
Why you should go for premarital counseling
Marriage is supposed to be a lifetime commitment. It is quite unfortunate that many people jump into it based on sentiments without understanding this point. There are a number of factors involved in marriage which many young people overlook before they get married. This explains why there are a number of divorces and broken relationship or why many married couples are not happy in their marriage or regret marrying their partners or going into marriage at the time they did.
Premarital counseling will enable you and your partner to determine whether or you are ready for marriage or whether you are suitable for each other. Besides, a number of issues affecting marriage are discussed in premarital counseling sessions and tips on how to handle such issues are provided to the couple. There are some issues that pose serious challenges to marriage which many people don’t know until they start experiencing them in their marriage. In premarital counseling, these issues are fully discussed as well as the reasons why they occur and how to handle them when they occur.
Premarital counseling help couples to enhance their relationships and established stronger bond required in marriage. Sometimes, couples require the help of a third party to strength their love and establish strong bond before they enter into marriage. It therefore provides the foundation for building a lasting and healthy marital relationship. So, if you wish to build a strong marital union, you should consider going for premarital counseling before getting married.
Most people during their courtship period are not able to discover the weak points of their partner or if they do, they don’t know the best way to manage them. Premarital counseling session provides opportunities for couples to discover their differences, weak points and strong points and the best way to live together in their difference. Premarital therapists will initiate discussions that will enable them to talk about their likes and dislikes. Through these discussions, he or she will help them to discover their differences.
The above are some of the reasons why you should undergo premarital counseling.
Issues or themes that are discussed during premarital counseling session
As it has been mentioned above, a number of issues are discussed during premarital counseling sessions. Some of the topics or themes discussed are as follows:
- roles in marriage
- beliefs and values
- relationship with in-laws and sibling after marriage (family relationships)
- affection and sex
- dealing with anger
- decision making
- time spent together
- boredom in relationship
- married life and professional life and how to cope with the challenges they pose
The above are some of the topics or themes that are discussed during premarital counseling session.
Advantages of premarital counseling
Premarital counseling gives some benefits to people that undergo it. Here are some of its benefits.
- It helps couple to know how to manage or solve any problem they encounter in their marriage.
- It helps couples to have a realistic expectation from their partners
- It provides couples with the required knowledge on how to handle their differences, take decisions that will benefit both partners and build a strong marital relationship.
- It helps them to develop positive attitude about themselves
- Through premarital counseling, couples will learn how to relate with their family members as well as children
- Premarital counseling provides couples with the required knowledge to take financial decision that will benefit them
Preparing for pre-marital counseling
You should first agree with your partner before hiring a premarital counselor. It is not proper to take him or her unawares or to force him or her to go for the therapy. You may go alone if your partner is not willing to go.
When you have made up your mind to go for premarital counseling, you should search for a capable hand with required expertise and experience. As it has been said above, premarital counseling provides the foundation on which you will build your marriage. Serious topics are discussed. So, it is important that you hire a person with the required knowledge, skills and certification to provide quality therapy to you. Here are some tips to apply in order to get a professional premarital therapist.
You are just about to take a step further towards establishing a lifetime relationship. But there are people who have gone through this stage and they have become successful in their relationship. You should ask these people to recommend for you. Your parents, married siblings (if any), loved ones, grandparents, friends and colleagues who have passed through this stage can recommend for you. However, you should ensure that their recommendations are not based on sentiments or friendship but on professionalism and experience. Don’t accept any recommendation that is not based on professionalism.
Find out the education background of the therapist
Marriage therapists are expected to be educated and well trained in pre-marriage and marriage counseling. A good premarital therapist should have at least a bachelor’s degree in relevant field. Higher degree or postgraduate graduate degree is a plus. So, find out what academic qualification, the therapist you want hire has.
Hire a licensed and certified premarital therapist
Graduating from the university or a high school is not enough to make somebody a qualified therapist. As it has been said above, marriage therapists are expected to have license before they function. This is to ensure that they keep to the required standard as they practice. So, you have to find out whether your prospective therapist is licensed by an authorized body. Verify the license to be sure that you are not dealing with a bogus therapist. If it is possible call the licensing body to find out whether or not the person is actually licensed.
Ask for referees
Before you finally hire a therapist, ask him or her to provide you with few referrals. Watch his or her reactions towards this request. If he or she is reluctant in providing them, it may be a signal that he is not proficient. A good and reliable therapist should always be willing to provide prospective client with referrals. You should call one or two of the referrals.
Read reviews of the therapist
If you are making your search via the internet, you have to take time to read the reviews of the therapist. The reviews should be about 70% positive otherwise you may consider looking elsewhere.
Discuss the treatment plan and other logistics with the person
Before you finally hire a therapist, you should discuss the logistics and treatment plan with the therapist in order to find out whether or not it suits your plan. Find out the working hours of the therapist, how long a session lasts, how much you will be charged for a session and the policy for cancelled session. From the above, you will know if the treatment plan suits you and your partner. If the treatment plan does not suit you, you should consider looking elsewhere. Alternatively, you should discuss with the therapist your work schedule so that a suitable plan will be worked out for you and your partner.
Your therapist is not a problem solver rather he or she helps you to solve your problems by providing you with the sound tips and advice. It is left for you to solve your problems using the tips provided. You may be asked some questions about your personal life.