Premarital Counseling: the low down

Howdy! Today is my Friday as I'm taking Thursday and Friday off work (the adult version of Spring Break). Yahoo!

Today I thought it would be fun to talk a bit about premarital counseling as it's not something that's talked a lot about. Nor does every couple do premarital counseling prior to getting married. My grandfather is a semi-retired minister and I have always heard positive things about premarital counseling from friends or family members, so I knew I would want to go someday. 

I'll admit that I was skeptical whether the manfriend would be on board from the get go and he wasn't gung ho immediately, but he was willing to do it for me. While we weren't looking to solve any serious issues, I figured it couldn't hurt to start our marriage off on the best possible foot/feet.

Plus, my health insurance covered a decent amount of the cost --> check your insurance plan to see if it's covered. I was seriously shocked that it was included in my plan.

We had six, one hour long appointments in all where our therapist/counselor got to know us, understand our relationship and personal styles and talk about important issues within relationships.

After a few sessions, we each took a relationship quiz (at home) that had over 200 questions in it to see how compatible we were on a lot of subjects: expectations of the relationship, each other, finances, faith/religion, sex, having a family, raising kids, etc.

It was really interesting to see where our answers differed quite a bit. Sometimes it was a matter of our personalities (I'm the one who wants to have control over things, manage the finances, etc. whereas he's the one who might prefer to be told what to do). And sometimes we simply hadn't discussed the issue much (how are we going to discipline our future kids??). And sometimes we just understood the question differently. 

A few interesting things I learned: 

  • The manfriend was often more comfortable discussing things with our counselor than I was.
  • Some things are just too personal to talk about with a stranger.
  • Communication is key.
  • According to our counselor, most relationships end because the couple doesn't communicate well when they have small issues and those grow into large problems.
  • We need to create a budget and financial plan. Blech. 
  • I want to grow old, sit on a rocking chair on our front porch, and gossip about the neighbors with the manfriend. Kidding, I already knew this a while back.   

How did we choose our counselor? While I looked on, in a small city, I figured a personal recommendation would be best. I asked a friend who is also a counselor within our running group for a recommendation. Our counselor was good, but I would have preferred she had a bit more life experience as she was about 30.

Because Pete and I already live together and we're not very religious, counseling allowed me to feel like we were officially on our journey toward marriage together. It helped us get in that future frame of mind. And now I'm excited to plan our ceremony together along with my grandfather as it feels like that next "official" step on this marriage journey! 

Did you or would you do premarital counseling? 

Video of the week (starring Ericka of The Sweet Life): The Anti-Bride


Raquelita said…
I probably would have been open to pre-marital counseling, but it's not something that my spouse and I ended up doing prior to our marriage. I'm glad you found it a useful exercise!
J said…
We had to take premarital classes for our church before we got married. The catholic church requires pre cana which is 5 sessions with the priest to go over your questionnaire (similar to yours) and then one full day at church to go over more stuff. It was actually pretty fun, although awkward at times taking about certain topics. But over all we enjoyed it and it brought up a few things that we hadn't talked about which was nice.
Amber said…
I would have been open to it but we didn't end up doing it. I think that counseling is so beneficial to anyone and everyone. It can just help to talk through things with an objective third-party person.
Tasha Malcolm said…
I really wish my husband and I did this. At the time, we just couldn't make it work with our hectic schedules. I am surprised your insurance covered a good portion of it. That is awesome.

Enjoy your "spring break"!
Ahh I was totally surprised to see myself linked at the bottom when i started in to comment!

I want to tackle this subject on the blog as well. We have started trying to do it but have had some scheduling issues and have only managed to go twice so far.

That being said, I think it's an AWESOME idea. I think everyone can use counseling. There are things you don't even realize you are communicating ineffectively. We are reading "Getting the Love You Want" and it's extremely eye opening.

My fiance and I have a lot of big communication issues so this is crucial. I say, why NOT try to do everything you can to prepare? Great subject!
I am Catholic and in order to get married in the church you have to go through premarital counseling - which I think is a good thing! It sounds like a process similar to what you did. I am glad it was a good experience for you and the Manfriend!
Unknown said…
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I think it's a great idea, just like I think living together before marriage is a good idea. You need to know if your values are the same before settling down with one person for the rest of your life!

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