Why do we need Premarital Counseling? Our relationship is great!
Premarital counseling is not for couples who need therapy, it is for people who take their commitment vows seriously.
Smart couples understand the magnitude of a long-term commitment, and are taking premarital classes in order to learn tools that will keep their marriage strong for many years.
There are probably things that you are already doing that are working great, and there might be some things that are working fine, but could be even better. You are at the ideal time in your relationship to get into healthy routines that you follow for the rest of your life.
Do you kiss one another goodbye and hello every day? Are you having lots of fun together? How do you manage conflict? Are you planning for your future? Have you had difficult conversations about big things you disagree about? Do you have a way to manage your inlaws that works for everyone? What do you do when you’re angry? How do you ask for space when you need it? Are there conversations that you’re avoiding because you don’t want anyone’s feelings to get hurt? (Especially right before your wedding)
All of these questions are worth thinking about so that you can make sure that you keep up the good work in your areas of strength, and learn some skills to improve the areas that could become problematic.
It has been our experience that the majority of couples who are about to get married don’t need the added expense of in-person, private premarital counseling. For couples who are not in a crisis, or looking for help with a specific issue, we recommend an Online Workshop for Couples. This course will set you up with good habits and routines to start your life together right. It is created by our co-owner, Laura Silverstein, Certified Gottman Couples Therapist.
Research shows that most couples don’t seek help until six years after problems are first noticed. Prevention is always better than intervention.
We’re in the middle of planning our wedding, isn’t this the worst time to uncover problems when everything is going so well?
Yes! That’s why we don’t recommend looking for problems to dig up. In both our self-guided course and private coaching, we offer a tools-based approach that provides education about what makes marriage work and the skills for building a strong relationship.
Dr. John Gottman can predict divorce with over 90% accuracy as a result of a 30 year longitudinal study. One of the things we know from his research that couples are much more likely to stay happily married if they focus more on positivity than negativity. We follow that model in our premarital counseling classes at Main Line Counseling Partners.
What to Expect from Private Premarital Counseling
You and your partner will start with two private meetings with a relationship expert. In the first meeting you will learn what we know from the research about what makes marriage last. This includes providing you with some good habits to develop early and some tools to use if things start to go south. You will also learn what to expect during certain life-cycle transitions.
In the second meeting you will have an opportunity to discuss the specifics of your relationship and the therapist can guide you through the tools you’d like to practice step by step. Once this connection is built it is nice to know that you have a resource available to you for unforeseen circumstances in your relationship.
After the first two sessions you have the option to continue your work in any way that makes sense. Some couples add some private sessions on to deepen the work, and others come in 2-3 times per year to make sure the relationship continues to be strong.
NOTE: Main Line Counseling Partner is not taking new clients for private premarital counseling at this time due to the increased demand resulting from COVID-19.
What to Expect from our Self-Guided Online Premarital Preparation
The online course shares the six secrets happy couples know about each of the following topics: Commitment, Gratitude, Conflict Management, Empathy,Trust, and Fun. It includes a a “Happy Couple Workbook” for you and your fiance to print out and work through together. You can complete the course in seven days if you put aside one hour per day.
Once you purchase the course you have lifetime access (or for as long as the internet/hosting platform exist). It is not only relevant for engaged couples, but applies to life-long practices that can continue to be improved throughout the lifetime of your relationship.
This course is an alternative to pre-marital counseling, but is not considered therapy, which can only be provided face to face (or through telehealth) with a licensed professional.
Looking for Something Less Intensive?
If you and your fiance don’t have an hour a night to devote to premarital counseling training, the second best option is honing your communication skills. This is the number one reason couples seek couples therapy. By learning and practicing the skills now, you’ll be starting your marriage with effective habits that will save a lot of wasted time repairing misunderstandings.
Check out our Online Communication Skills Training Course. This course can be completed in less than an hour and will teach you the three crucial communication skills: (1) How to avoid a fight (2) How to deal with criticism (Without getting defensive) and (3) How to empathize.
No Money and Only 15 Minutes to Spare?
Check out our Free Mini Empathy Training Course. A quick introduction to how to have a conversation when someone is upset. (HINT: It’s not just being a good listener)