Pre-Marriage Counseling Resource
Whether you are about to get married or have been married for 50 years, marriage counseling can make a big impact on your relationship. If you have marriage counseling questions, you are in the right place. Pre-marriage counseling can be a great way to get your marriage off on the right foot. Likewise, after many bumps in the road and decades of marriage, it can also save your marriage allowing you to get your footing again. We will cover common marriage counseling questions, who should see a counselor, marriage counseling tips, and how to find a good marriage counselor. We will also include additional resources for getting the help you need. Marriage counseling is a great step for any marriage. You should consider it. You are putting in the work for your relationship! That’s always a good thing.
Marriage Counseling Questions
We receive so many complicated questions from readers. After all, marriage is a complicated thing–no marriage is exactly the same. While we offer marriage advice on a variety of topics, a huge majority of readers could benefit from marriage counseling. Couples marriage counseling is a chance to tackle your specific challenges head-on. So often people wonder, is marriage counseling for me? Are we really to that point?
If you are in a position of feeling hopeless and ready to call it quits marriage counseling is an absolute must. Couples marriage counseling can give you both an outside perspective on recurring arguments and issues. The therapist can give you fresh insight into what you can do to repair and heal the marriage. However, marriage counseling is absolutely not only for couples on the verge of divorce.
If you have a connected, loving relationship, but an issue constantly comes up and is causing problems, marriage counseling can help you find a resolution. Rather than fighting about the same thing over and over again, why not get some fresh eyes on the matter? A trained therapist can mediate between the two of you, guiding you to a happier future.
Who Should See a Counselor
There is a common misconception that if you and your spouse resort to going to marriage counseling, your marriage is completely on the rocks. While certainly many couples leave couples marriage counseling as a last-ditch effort before splitting, a huge number of couples in healthy relationships have benefitted from therapy as well.
Even if you think your life or your marriage is “perfect,” there are always things to work on: attachment styles, coping skills, trauma, everyday triggers, the mundane, the big, the small, the out of the ordinary. Counseling can help with ALL of it!
Is Therapy for Us?
When a soon-to-be-married couple takes advantage of pre-marriage counseling it can be a huge advantage to them. They will leave equipped with the tools and perspective to start their newlywed life in a positive direction. The habits we develop within a marriage start from the day we meet. We fall into patterns of behavior. Over time these habits and behaviors can either be positive things that make us closer and our marriage more fulfilling, or they can be negative patterns of behavior that deteriorate the relationship. Pre-marriage counseling is a great way to consciously review the positive and negative aspects of the relationship as it currently stands. That way, when the couple is married the relationship can be as fresh and fulfilling as possible.
Perhaps you satisfied overall with the status of your relationship, but you are frustrated with certain aspects of your marriage. Healthy, happy marriages can also benefit from couples marriage counseling! Consider it scheduled maintenance. Marriage counseling can give you a chance to check in with each other and make a good thing even better. When both partners are continuously mindful and accountable for their behavior, growth occurs. Every relationship has the capacity to grow and improve. Life is unpredictable can turn into a real battle, why not fortify marriage before you are struggling in the trenches? Give it a try.
Marriage Counseling Tips
If you have never been to therapy you may be apprehensive to take the plunge. However, it’s really not so scary. Here are some marriage counseling tips that will help you get the most out of the experience!
- Go in with an open mind. Marriage counseling is a good thing! We lose sight of that because we often associate marriage counseling as the step before the divorce. But it absolutely does not have to be so for you. Go into the session excited for the changes you will make individually and as a couple and you will see great results.
- Do the work on yourself first. Consider going to therapy for yourself first. Then you can work on your issues, triggers, and background. You can also use that as a space where you can feel empowered and heard to make those individual changes that you need to. So take a small step toward change and call a counselor. You’ll be able to better your relationships with your spouse, friends, family, and most importantly, yourself. Do the work on yourself FIRST and then do the work on your marriage!
- Identify what would make counseling feel worthwhile for you. Go in with goals and clearly defined expectations. Communicate to your therapist what you want out of the session. They will be able to gear things to your specific situation and you will leave feeling a sense of progress. Of course, part of this exercise should also be understanding that one session can’t cure or heal everything. Adjust your expectations prior to the session.
- Find a good counselor. This may be the most important of all the marriage counseling tips. Searching for a therapist that you really “click” with is absolutely key. Personality can play a big role in how comfortable you feel and how willing you are to open up. If you are not satisfied with the first marriage counselor you see, then find a new one!
- Go alone if your partner is not open to going together. A very common issue is that one spouse is unwilling to seek professional help. Of course, it would be ideal for you you both to work on the marriage together; however, we cannot control others. You can only control your own actions, so seek help alone and work on the things within yourself that you can change. Your therapist would also be a great resource for finding ways to encourage your spouse to come and participate.
- Don’t give up. You will have some big breakthrough moments, but you will also have some sessions that don’t leave you with good, productive feelings. That’s ok. Marriage takes work, and marriage counseling takes work. Hang in there, keep going, keep trying.
How to Find a Good Counselor
Potentially the most important factor in whether marriage counseling will work for you is how good your therapist is. Finding a marriage counselor with a demeanor and style compatible with yours is crucial. Unfortunately, this may mean trying more than one marriage counselor until you find the right fit. While that is time-consuming and frustrating, finding the right marriage counselor for you is really key in the effectiveness of therapy.
What to Look for in a Therapist
Go to Psychology Today and start to look at profiles. There are a lot of modalities that counselors use, so find what works for you. Psychology Today describes what they specialize in, how they handle situations, and from there you can find someone that sounds like a good fit for you. You can also search by who takes your insurance, or who specializes in specific things (marriage issues, eating disorders, trauma, infidelity, etc.).
Find a couples marriage counselor that is licensed to practice. Having the correct academic background and licensure can be important. You need someone that is properly trained in order for marriage counseling to be most effective. Religious groups often offer forms of counseling that can be a good fit for many couples. Depending on the depth of the issues you are dealing with, a therapist with expertise and credentials may be the best option. There are so many different acronyms (LMFT, LCSW, MHC, Psychologist). But the MOST important thing is just finding someone who is the right fit for you. Your relationship and trust with a counselor can make or break the experience and the effectiveness of your counseling. Don’t be afraid to switch therapists if you aren’t vibing with yours.
Next, check with your insurance to see what behavioral health benefits your plan offers. From there your insurance can give you a list of in-network providers. Many plans now offer the option of virtual counseling, so that may be something to look into if your schedules are hard to workaround.
Ask family or friends for marriage counselor recommendations. If that makes you uncomfortable, you can also look for ratings online. Google marriage counselors in your area and read reviews from other patients. Figuring out how to find a good marriage counselor is half the battle. The effort you put into finding a great therapist will have a great payoff. Do the work. And read the reviews!
Couples Marriage Counseling
Whether you are just starting your lives together or have been together for many years, we applaud you for taking the steps to make your marriage the best it can be. Good for you! Seeking professional help is something to be proud of. You are working hard to create a strong marriage. If you or your spouse are not quite ready to start counseling, below is a list of resources that can be beneficial to your marriage.
- OurRelationship – Sign up for this course and you will be guided through exercises that will improve your communication. This course also focuses on core issues that have caused problems. It walks you through how to resolve them.
- Ted Talks – Check out this playlist of videos that just might save your marriage. There are so many gems in this playlist. Free advice given by experts, such a gift!
- ePREP – This is a web course that offers skills and strategies for creating a stronger marriage. There is a fee to enroll.
- Affair Recovery – If you are struggling to recover from an affair, this may be a helpful resource for you. They have incorporated research-based techniques to help you move on from an affair. See what you think!
- Couples Therapy Workbook – If you want to read your way through marriage counseling, this may be a good option. You can use the workbook in the privacy of your own home. A good option!
- Where Should We Begin? – A unique resource that could be helpful. This podcast by the incredible Esther Perel gives you a raw look into a couples counseling session. Each one different from the last. You could see what counseling is like. You could also gain insight into your own marriage as you listen.
- 5 Minute Therapy Tips – YouTube can be a great resource. You can learn from leading therapists in their field. The video linked is very short, but the skill of the “just noticeable difference” is a game-changer! There are unlimited videos that could be helpful. Take a look!
- Online Marriage Counseling Services – Sometimes meeting in person with a therapist can be intimidating. Many virtual therapy options exist that couples can benefit from.
There you have it! Marriage counseling 101. We are rooting for you! For more ideas for improving your marriage check out the 10 Habits of Happy Marriages or How to Cope with Mental Illness in Marriage.