Who can facilitate premarital counseling?
- Pastors: Trusted faith leaders who have walked through training can lead couples as they enter marriage. Typically found within a church setting or religious institution.
- Coaches: This is someone who is a life coach or trained in instructing marriage courses. They could be a family friend, trusted colleague, or long-time acquaintance.
- Counselors: Licensed professionals are equipped and thoroughly trained to help married couples and emerging and premarital couples in areas that need improvement within the relationship. They serve as a great mediator between the couple and are unbias toward either party when conflict arises.
- Mentors: Individuals who have guided you and your partner through tough circumstances and know you well are highly recommended to facilitate premarital counseling and lead you in the journey of starting a marriage.
When should a couple start premarital counseling?
Most couples start premarital counseling around 3 months before the wedding. Starting earlier than later is better and is generally beneficial for the couple as they enter marriage.
What percentage of couples do premarital counseling?
Approximately 44% of married couples get premarital counseling before the ceremony. (Pre-Martial Counseling Basics, 2021).
Is pre-marriage counseling worth it?
Generally, studies demonstrate that premarital counseling can be very effective for couples as they begin their new lives together and can help to build a strong foundation. Some issues that may arise while in premarital that are good to discuss before marriage include:
- Marriage expectations and role beliefs/core values
- Reflecting on your past and how it affects your future together
- Conflict resolution skills
- Money management
- Untangling intimacy issues
- Communication styles
- Discussion around children
- Working together as a team
- Expectations for marriage
- Sex life and intimacy
- Understanding one another’s religious beliefs
What questions do pastors ask in premarital counseling?
Each counselor, pastor, and program for premarital can differ depending on the values, beliefs, and denomination. Although some core questions are typically asked by pastors or counselors as they engage with couples which may include:
- Why do you want to get married, and what is the purpose?
- What boundaries do you have in place?
- How is your relationship with your family members?
- How did your parents and family members interact with one another?
- Describe to me how the conflict was addressed within your family household.
- Do you both attend church, if yes, what church?
- How important is faith to you, and how does it impact your relationship?
- What does the Bible say about marriage?
- Describe to me what forgiveness means to each of you.
- What are your specific boundaries and hopes around sex and intimacy?
- What sexual expectations do you have?
- Do you have certain expectations on how your spouse will financially provide for your family?
- What are potential short-term conflict (s) and long-term conflict (s)?
How many sessions are needed for premarital counseling?
Typically, most premarital counseling sessions range from 1-12 sessions. On average, most couples who do decide to participate in premarital go through at least 5 sessions.
What happens at premarital counseling?
Typically the counselor or mentor walks through a class or teaching previously constructed that they go through each time you meet. Each session usually focuses on one topic and then moves through the remaining topics throughout the remainder of the time. Some of the topics discussed were how to deal with conflict resolution, financial situation, intimacy and sex, values, beliefs, family history, and communication.
What are the benefits of premarital counseling?
- Builds communication skills
- Provides an opportunity to address potential conflict
- Helps couples plan for the future
- Lets couples absorb the wisdom
- Allows couples to discover new things about each other
When did premarital counseling begin?
Historically, premarital counseling became popular in the 1930s, originating in Germany.
What is a premarital relationship?
This stage of the relationship is after the couple has been together for some time, is not married yet, and is planning to get married.
What is the success rate of premarital counseling, and is it successful overall?
Overall, the average couple participating in premarital counseling illustrates that this practice can decrease the likelihood of divorce by 50 percent. This statistic is important because this means that those who decided to not get married and who invest in premarital education most likely would’ve gotten divorced down to road anyways, which in turn decreases divorce rates overall since these couples split up before marriage (Hanson, 2017).
How often do married couples make love?
Data from the General Social Survey Data (2018) states that approximately 5% of couples had sex 4 or more times a week, 16% had sex 2-3 times per week, and 25% had sex once a week.
However, it is important to distinguish between having sex and making love. You can have sex without making love. It is not lovemaking if either partner feels objectified, used, dirty, or shamed during or after the encounter.
Do you need to see a mental health professional, licensed therapist for premarital, or family therapist?
No, not necessarily. Many churches train pastors or religious leaders to guide and counsel couples before marriage.
What makes a successful marriage and a healthier marriage?
Intimate spouses, emotionally supportive, trusting, and caring, have healthy marriages and stronger relationships. A couple of key indicators of a healthy marriage are that they enjoy one another’s company and respect each other.
Is there a difference between regular premarital counseling and religious premarital counseling?
Premarital counseling can be done by different mentors, including coaches, pastors, or counselors. Religious premarital counseling typically has couples go through specific course content to fully complete the counseling process.
What are other helpful tools to engage in before marriage as you walk through premarital counseling?
- Seek premarital advice from a counselor or religious leader
- Complete a couple’s assessment questionnaire
- Read a book together on marriage
What are other topics discussed in premarital counseling that aren’t as prominent?
- Who does what regarding chores?
- What does reconnecting after an argument look like?
- Are children something you both long for?
- If other family members are allowed to have a key to our place?
- What will the holidays look like?
- Will we have any pets?
- What percentage of money do we each get to spend individually per month?
- How does your parents’ marriage reflect on your own view of marriage now?
- Are there specific spiritual implications that we will have to choose between for our future family?
Are counseling services free to those who are seeking premarital counseling?
Typically there is some type of cost involved with premarital counseling. Pastors and other religious leaders usually only charge for the program’s cost. LMHC may charge more though, depending on the length of the counseling.
Is premarital counseling required to get married?
Even though many couples have found it extremely helpful, premarital counseling is not required to get married. However, some states require that individuals under 18 years old must receive some form of premarital counseling before getting married.
“Pre-Marital Counseling Basics.” Edited by Daniel Dashnaw, Couples Retreats and Online Couples Therapy, 12 Apr. 2021, https://www.couplestherapyinc.com/pre-marital-counseling-basics/.
Lauren Hanson. “Premarital Counseling Can Decrease Divorce Rates, Psychologist Says.” The Daily Universe, 11 July 2017, https://universe.byu.edu/2017/07/06/premarital-counseling-can-decrease-divorce-rates-psychologist-says/.