Premarital Counseling Insights
By: Allison Jones
A little over a year ago, I was busy planning the wedding of my dreams and excited to marry my soulmate. When my pastor (also a close family friend) texted me reminding me that he requires all of his couples to go through premarital counseling and that we would be no exception to the rule, I was excited to begin a process in which I knew I would find out things about my husband-to-be that I hadn’t learned, even given the 6 years we had been together before saying “I do.” As a counselor-in-training, I know that the benefits of premarital counseling are very real. More than one study that I have read during my master’s program explain that the divorce rate is lower for couples that have gone through premarital counseling and Psychology Today explains that “premarital counseling is the smartest decision that any couple can make.”
I learned a lot about my husband, about marriage, and about our unique values and goals and how they would impact our relationship through the counseling process. Here are 5 key lessons that I took away from the experience:
- There is always more to learn – about your spouse, about yourself, and about what it will take to be a good life partner.
- Finances are the leading cause of divorce so it is important to be open and honest when it comes to income, spending, and saving – regardless of whether you opt for joint or separate accounts.
- Common values are important in marriage, but differences, especially complimentary differences, in interests, strengths, and weaknesses can be a very good thing.
- There is a lot more to marriage than love and love by itself is not necessarily enough of a foundation for a lasting marriage.
- Marital counseling is NEVER a bad idea. Whether from a religious leader, counselor, or mental health professional, there is no shame in seeking help or just having a (professional) outside party facilitate necessary conversations between you and your spouse. Counseling carries a stigma (especially in the African American community) that it doesn’t deserve.