One of life’s greatest gifts is finding that special someone, getting engaged, and preparing for your happily ever after. And it’s easy for couples to lose themselves in the excitement of wedding planning, because that part can be so fun!

But, another exciting part of this time is getting extra prepared for marriage by strengthening your relationship before you even say “I do!” And premarital counseling can help you enjoy the process of improving communication, connectedness, and a passion for your relationship.

What is Premarital Counseling?

Premarital counseling is a type of couple’s therapy designed to help you and your partner discuss and work through any issues, as well as strengthen your partnership as a whole.

Why you may consider premarital counseling

Couples consider premarital counseling for many different reasons.

Often, couples take this opportunity to build a stronger foundation before starting the marriage journey. The healthiest relationships are established at the beginning before the resentment builds, and premarital counseling facilitates a more focused, meaningful connection. 

Prevention is better than a cure, and this rings true for the health of your relationship. Premarital counseling helps you and your partner learn the skills to navigate the pitfalls that emerge once the honeymoon is over.

Whether your parents are still together or not – chances are that there’s something from your family of origin that you don’t want to see in your own marriage. This could be communication patterns, how finances were handled, or how responsibilities were divided. The good news is that you have the power to break that cycle! The earlier you start, the easier it is. 

What are the Benefits of Premarital Counseling?

There are numerous benefits to premarital counseling. Couples will learn to communicate better, discover more about themselves and their partner, plan the future, address any issues before they become a problem, and more. 

Studies have shown that couples who undergo premarital counseling are 30% less likely to divorce. They are more equipped with the skills needed to cope with challenges as they arise. 

Living a healthy lifestyle includes cultivating and sustaining healthy relationships. Research reveals a strong link between the quality of our relationships and our overall happiness, longevity, and good health. 

When to Start Premarital Counseling

If you and your partner are engaged or considering entering into a committed relationship, you should make it a priority to look into premarital counseling. It is also ideal for those couples on the path to marriage looking to cultivate a healthier relationship before getting engaged.  

what-is-premarital-counseling, a happy couple faces the camera looking at a white-haired woman who's back is to us.

Photo credit

How Long is Premarital Counseling?

Traditional premarital counseling often means attending weekly or bi-weekly sessions spread over several months. Today, many different programs are available that cater to almost every need, format, and schedule. 

Some online options are as little as 4 hours long, while other courses can continue as long as you need them. 

Delivery of Premarital Counseling

Online premarital counseling 

Many providers offer online premarital counseling. This makes it easy to integrate into your everyday life as sessions or courses are not location-dependent and are more flexible with schedules. 

Actually is a modern premarital counseling experience that is delivered online and was developed as a way for millennial couples to invest in themselves and their relationships on their terms, providing the tools to build a meaningful life together. It’s engaging, fun, sex-positive, and based on interventions similar to what you’d see in a traditional couples therapy office.

One-on-one premarital counseling

One-on-one premarital counseling involves you and your partner seeing a therapist in person, visiting weekly or biweekly to discuss how to tackle relationship issues. 

Group courses, meetings 

In this format, you and your partner join other couples for a group therapy session. 

Group retreats

You and your partner will travel to a destination to participate in activities and group therapy sessions with other couples. These often span the course of a weekend and are a one-time program. 

Courses

Course-led premarital counseling is where you are provided with materials such as worksheets and discussion topics to complete at your own pace with your partner. These workbooks offer insightful content to change your mindset around your relationship. 

Hybrid

A hybrid option gives couples a little of both a guided course and a one-on-one experience. 

Actually is an example of this. 

Types of Premarital Counseling

Religious premarital counseling 

Developed and offered by churches and religious institutions, religious pre-martial counseling it combines experience, wisdom, and theology. You might also see Pre-Cana as a marriage preparation option if you’re Catholic.

Secular premarital counseling

Non-religious and based on a combination of couples therapy techniques and academic research. May leverage methods like EFT, psychodynamics, or the Gottman Method.

Maybe you consider yourself more spiritual than religious. Or perhaps you attended mandatory premarital counseling so you can host your ceremony in a religious institution and found that it was outdated. With Ours is a secular relationship coaching program that is based on couples therapy models used by licensed marriage and family therapists across the globe.

With Ours is for couples that have a sense of safety and security within their relationship and are excited to enhance their connectedness and build a strong foundation for their marriage through interactive modules, therapy sessions, and following specializing roadmaps to grow together.

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)

This system incorporates elements of experiential therapy, attachment therapy, and systemic therapy. 

Psychodynamic Couples Therapy

Rather than focusing on behavior, psychodynamic couple therapy focuses on mental and emotional processes. 

Gottman Method

Identifies essential foundations of relationships and works to improve communication and intimacy. 

Premarital Counseling Topics

Below is a list of topics that often come up in premarital counseling sessions:

  • Finances
  • Communication
  • Values, attitudes, and beliefs
  • Roles in marriage
  • Affection and sex
  • Desire to have children
  • Family relationships
  • Decision-making
  • Dealing with anger
  • How well you know each other
  • Expectations of yourself and your spouse      
  • Problem-solving and future conflicts
what-is-premarital-counseling, a brick building with a sign that says "How are you, really?

Photo credit

Questions To Ask Your Premarital Counselor

Here are some good questions to ask when choosing a practitioner: 

  • What is the time commitment to the program?
  • How is the program delivered?
  • What tactics and methods can we expect within the therapy sessions?
  • How will you set us up for success in the future after we are complete?

Conclusion

what-is-premarital-counseling, a book called Love and Respect is pictured on someone's lap on top of a notebook.

Photo credit

We hope you found this information helpful and that you’re excited about finding a premarital counseling program. 

Every relationship has weak spots, and equipping yourself with the skills to resolve conflicts, communicate better, and stay connected will improve the quality of your relationship and life.  

Premarital counseling with With Ours will help you start your journey right to survive and thrive into your happily ever after. Plus, if you love the progress you’re making and don’t want it to end, you don’t have to go! At With Ours, there are options for customized, continued support. Whether you’re looking to dig deeper into a particular topic that you covered in the modules or maintain an ongoing relational wellness membership – they’ve got you covered.