Updated: Oct 6, 2020
Whether premarital counseling was suggested to you by a pastor, family member, or something you have considered on your own, it is an educational and helpful experience for a soon-to-be-married couple.
“Premarital counseling can help couples create a strong, happy marriage that brings happiness, health, wealth, and well-being not only to the two people, but to their children, their [children’s] children, and the generations after them (weddingwire.com).”
At Pathfinders Pastoral Care Ministries, we believe in the power of premarital counseling. Here are some of the benefits couples can experience.
1. Build Problem-Solving and Communication Skills
Many people associate fighting or arguing with a failing marriage when, in reality, disagreements are healthy for a relationship. Every fight is an opportunity for you to learn more about your partner and your relationship, and use it as a tool to grow and improve.
Premarital counseling can help you understand and learn how to “fight fair” and communicate effectively so that conflicts are resolved, not avoided.
2. Understand and Adjust Expectations
“I assumed we would wait…” or “I figured you would…” statements typically mean a lack of understanding of your partner’s expectations. Managing these expectations is a vital component of any successful relationship. A marriage is a partnership, and it’s important that both partners are on the same page.
What does each person “expect” from the relationship every day? Every year? In 20 years? While we can’t predict the future, consistent communication can help keep expectations aligned.
It can also help avoid future conflicts, as we base a lot of our expectations on our life experiences. If a man grew up with a stay-at-home mother, he may assume that his wife would do the same; on the other hand, his wife grew up with a career-driven mother, and she plans on following that path. Clarifying these types of scenarios can help couples understand each other better, and offer an outlet for a compromise that satisfies both partners.
3. You Can Learn Something About Yourself
Sometimes, an objective third party can notice or point out things you may not have noticed about yourself. They may also bring to light things you haven’t considered. A young couple who doesn’t plan to have children for another 5-7 years may not have thought about staying home versus daycare. Or, maybe you both have thought about it but have not communicated these thoughts to each other. Premarital counseling promotes these types of conversations and encourages communication.
By truly understanding ourselves, we can have a better understanding of what we expect from others.
Pathfinders Pastoral Care Ministries’ unique approach uses Temperament Therapy to reveal your "spiritual genetics." It guides us in discovering who God made you to be in order to fulfill his calling and purpose for your life. When completed as described, the assessment measures your needs, natural traits, strengths, and weaknesses according to your God-given temperament.
One partner’s temperament may reflect that they need verbal affection – hearing “I love you” or that they are appreciated. While their partner’s temperament may reveal that they show their affection through acts of appreciation – buying your favorite coffee every Sunday morning or warming your car up for you during the winter months. However, without knowing and understanding these temperaments, the first partner may start to feel unhappy in the marriage if they expect to hear affection, but they never do.
When both partners understand their temperament, they get a deeper understanding of each other. The most important aspect of premarital counseling is to be open and honest. You will only get out as much as you put in, and while some conversations may be difficult to have, they will encourage a happy and healthy marriage for years to come.