1) Why premarital counselling
During premarital counselling; we teach you a very practically applicable tool set or skill set, that you can use to navigate your relationship to the best of your ability.
Most of the couples we see; say that problems started slowly at around 2 years after marriage, and just increased as time went by. A big problem is our expectations of our partners and of our marriage/relationship. We have this beautiful, perfect picture in our minds of what married life should be like, what our partners are going to be like, but as married life continues, reality starts intruding into this fantasy world and disappointment, confusion, doubt; all are plenty full.
So premarital counselling will help you discuss the things that could be issues in your relationship at one point or another – no such thing as the perfect relationship- and get you guys on the same page right from the start.
2) Topics discussed during premarital counselling:
As I've said so many times before – human beings are need driven. If I'm in a relationship where 80% of my needs are being met; it’s a good relationship. But in order for us to be able to meet each other's needs sufficiently, we need to know what they are; in order for us to know what they are, we have to be able to identify our own needs specifically and be able to communicate them to each other in a clear and understandable manner. "Needs not being met" is also the primary reason for arguments in relationships. So when we argue, how do we do it, what is the difference between negative fighting and positive fighting…
So topics in Pre-marital counselling would include – but are not limited to:
- Healthy and effective communication
- Identifying my own and my partner’s needs
- Conflict management/ Problem solving
- Expectations and relationship visions
- What is love?
- Roles and expectations
- The role our temperament plays in our understanding of one another
3) What if it’s your 2nd or 3rd marriage?
Premarital counselling is still applicable and valuable; very much so. Remember that you are, again, marrying a very unique individual with a unique set of needs and expectations.
I often hear something like – “maybe I chose the wrong life partner…”, and yes, that might very well be the case, but in reality happiness is not and cannot be based on one big decision that you’ve made when you were in love and; as a result now, all control has been taken away from you because you've made a mistake…happiness in a relationship is gained through hundreds of small little decisions, thoughts and actions throughout everyday life together; and through an active plan, that you guys have put in place to work on your relationship together. Premarital counselling will help you compile this plan in a fun and interesting manner.
4) Have couples ever realized that they are not compatible after attending pre-marital counselling?
Yes, this has happened to me once before (that I know of); a couple realized that what they wanted out of life and out of being married, where just way different and they couldn't come up with suitable compromises for their differences, so they decided to rather put the wedding and the marriage on hold for a while. And I honestly take my hat off to them because that took a lot of guts! But often times couples would write it off and justify their relationship by saying how profusely in love they are and go ahead with the marriage, sometimes the wedding has already been paid for, the dress has been made, guests have already RSVP'd and; for that reason, couples might go through with it. In many cases they end up back in counselling with the exact problems that could have been prevented if they had taken it more seriously.
With this I am not saying that people who differ in opinion or backgrounds won't be happy, I'm simply saying that it might take a little more effort than other relationships – and that’s where pre-marital counselling can be of great value.
So in short pre-marital counselling gives you an idea of the obstacles you might have to face in the future and practical applicable tools with which to handle these issues. A clearer understanding of the two unique individuals involved in this relationship and of how to take care of one another and you relationship. Rather know these things beforehand. Take the counselling seriously, and learn what you can so that you can prepare sufficiently for the obstacles that might come and learn how to love each other well!!
Premarital counselling will help you co-create a relationship which both of you can be proud of!