13 Jan Premarital Counseling: I do!
Premarital Counseling, should you or shouldn’t you? There are so many things to consider once the big decision to get hitched has been made. A very couple-centered relationship can get derailed by the wedding-planning train. Once planning is full steam ahead, wedding stress often ends up taking center stage. Before you know it, date nights get exchanged for Pinterest marathons and “To Do” lists. Add premarital counseling to that “To Do” list now.
Why Premarital Counseling?
To increase the chance of satisfaction and success in the early stages of marriage according to research. Interestingly, this is when a higher percentage of divorce occurs. Evidence has led many states, including Georgia, to offer generous discounts on marriage licenses. Discounts apply to 6 hours of completed premarital counseling. The idea is to reduce divorce rates by building healthy families. Bonus: A scheduled sanctuary from the planning chaos.
Further, research has shown that religious couples are more likely to seek premarital counseling. Probably because pastors often require it as part of the ceremony process. Therefore, premarital counseling often gets linked to religion. Fine for some, however, clergy-based counseling may be unappealing to others. Such as non-religious or same-sex couples. Know that there are other options such as a licensed therapist like me!
The most common benefits that I’ve observed are improved communication, problem solving skills, and an increased sharing of wedding responsibilities.
Couples that have completed premarital counseling with me say that premarital counseling was worth the investment. Because it helped them set aside time to focus on issues that they would normally avoid. Think finances, family, and sex – the trifecta of marriage issues! Additionally, they’ve scheduled time to be together without phones or “To Do” lists.
Below are some benefits of clergy-based, licensed therapist or group premarital counseling.
Clergy based Premarital Counseling:
- Helps the couple build a stronger relationship with their pastor or rabbi before the ceremony.
- Spirituality discussions are led by an expert and specific to the couple’s faith.
- Clergy is trained in pastoral counseling.
- May be more cost effective than with a licensed therapist, especially if the couple is a church member.
Licensed Therapist Premarital Counseling:
- Led by a clinician trained professionally in couples therapy.
- Counseling can be extended into traditional couples counseling.
- You build a relationship with a therapist that can be reconnected with in the future.
- Spirituality discussions are not based on a particular religious doctrine offering an alternative for mixed faith couples, couples that do not belong to a religious organization, and same-sex couples.
Group Premarital Counseling:
- Peer support to build camaraderie with others going through a similar experience.
- Scheduling may be easier to complete (ex. 6 hours over 2 days).
- Cost-effective compared to individual counseling if not led by licensed clinician.
I wish you a connected, balanced, and adventurous life together!
Kate Murphy, LMSW
Kate Murphy, a therapist in Berkeley Lake, specializes in helping you decrease stress and anxiety. You can live a more balanced, connected, and meaningful life. Kate works with individuals and couples over the age of 18. Heal, communicate better, and experience joy more often.