Premarital counseling is a type of therapy that helps couples prepare for marriage. Premarital counseling can help ensure that you and your partner have a strong, healthy relationship — giving you a better chance for a stable and satisfying marriage. This kind of counseling can also help you identify weaknesses that could become problems during marriage.

Premarital counseling is often provided by licensed therapists known as marriage and family therapists. These therapists have graduate or postgraduate degrees. Counseling might be offered through religious institutions as well. In fact, some spiritual leaders require premarital counseling before conducting a marriage ceremony.

Why it’s done

Premarital counseling can help couples improve their relationships before marriage. You’ll be encouraged to discuss topics related to marriage, such as:

  • Finances
  • Communication
  • Beliefs and values
  • Roles in marriage
  • Affection and sex
  • Desire to have children
  • Family relationships
  • Decision-making
  • Dealing with anger
  • Time spent together

Premarital counseling helps partners improve their ability to communicate, set realistic expectations for marriage and develop conflict-resolution skills. In addition, premarital counseling can help couples establish a positive attitude about seeking help down the road.

Keep in mind that you bring your own values, opinions and history into a relationship, and they might not always match your partner’s. For example, family systems and religious beliefs vary greatly. Many couples have experienced very different upbringings with different role models for relationship and marriage. Many people go into marriage believing it will fulfill their social, financial, sexual and emotional needs — and that’s not always the case. By discussing differences and expectations before marriage, you and your partner can better understand and support each other during marriage.

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