Bridal Club Magazine
Pre-Marriage Counselling - Why Fix It If It's Not Broken?
You're in love, you can't wait to spend the rest of your
lives together - so why would you want to see a counsellor? Almost
a third of couples undergo some kind of pre-marriage counselling.
When it comes to building effective communication skills that will
last a life time, you've got nothing to lose and everything to
To be and stay in love is an ongoing process.
Think of it like a finely manicured lawn. It needs the right
amount of water, fertiliser and a lawnmower that cuts at just the
right height - no more, no less. Regular maintenance is the key to
a luscious lawn... you get the drift. With divorce such a common
factor in today's society, there are fewer positive role models to
follow. So it makes sense to strengthen your chances of staying
together when you learn more effective skills in
Somehow, learning to communicate prior to marriage is
easier than after you walk down the aisle. Unspoken
expectations that you have for each other have been brewing, coming
from weird and wonderful illusions of childhood about what married
life should be like. Pre-marriage is a time when you are both most
likely to tackle pending issues rather than when you are in the
midst of a crisis. Learning to talk through any differences now
will help you to form good habits that will carry you through the
years to come.
There are several ways to tackle this sticky subject. You
might decide to visit a psychologist or marriage and family
therapist to thrash out issues that plague you. But you may not
even have to go that far: Most churches require engaged couples to
participate in counselling sessions before they'll let you take
A good counsellor will encourage you both to talk about
subjects you haven't examined very thoroughly. Through
the process of answering "test questions," you'll have the
opportunity of simulating a lifetime of events before your life
together begins. When a future crisis arises and believe me, they
do - you'll both be confident, having a better sense of how and why
you both might react.
Counsellors can give you insights to how the other thinks
in a constructive way, always confirming what you
already know about each other as well as bringing new things to
your attention. In some cases, it may help bring things to light -
always a terrifying prospect, that to marry may be a mistake for
you in the long run.
What can you expect to come up in marriage
counselling? Religion, children, finances, habits, and
family issues, among other things. And even if you generally
communicate well, there may be specific issues you'd like some help
working through already. In-laws are a common starting point. One
of you may be closer to your parents than the other would like,
preferring a more autonomous and spontaneous relationship free from
surprise visits at 8am on a Sunday morning!
Where do you go for marriage counselling? If
your marriage celebrant/minister does not offer the service, ask
them to put you in touch with good counsellor near you. If you're
uncomfortable about professional therapy or unable to afford it,
contact local community centres, hospital or talk to your family
doctor whether they offer marriage-building workshops.
Look at marriage realistically -- it's not all wine
and roses. People shouldn't just promise to be
together no matter what. They should promise to work through
problems, because even the best marriages will encounter problems
and communication will be what helps you overcome them. If you have
the slightest hesitation in talking through things that make you
uncomfortable -- and we mean really talking -- it's smart to learn
how to do it now before you take that matrimonial plunge.