Joanie and Mike have not been dating for long, but they’ve grown attached to one another. Some friends have dropped the “and” between their names and started referring to them as a single person, as in: “Is Joanie Mike coming to dinner tonight?” or, “I run into Joanie Mike every time I go to the coffee shop.” They really enjoy time spent together and rarely do anything apart, so of course the big “M” word has popped up in conversations. Mike’s parents have always appeared to be the best of friends, which is why Mike is so at-home in their pal-around-together relationship style. Joanie’s parents, however, split when she was a teenager. Ever since then, the idea of marriage has felt like a great way to ruin a perfectly good relationship. At best, she views marriage as a major risk.
Both care about each other and want to continue to progress in their relationship, but marital misgivings persist. Mike wants to know if it’s wise to invest in a relationship that may not end in marriage. Joanie says that marriage is an institution, and institutions are for the mentally infirm. They decide to find a premarital counselor so they can talk about these issues before their relationship gets any more serious.
Building Healthy Relationships through Premarital Counseling
Building a relationship with someone you care about and considering that relationship within the context of the rest of your life often presents conflicting emotions. On one hand, there’s the excitement of finding your soul mate, the love of your life, your live-in best friend, your life partner. On the other, you have the anxiety: “What if things don’t work out? What if something bad happens? What if, what if, what if …?”
If you’ve never been married before, you’ll only drive yourself nutty with such a line of questioning. Sure, it’s good (actually, it’s essential) that you get your concerns out in the open, but the honest truth is that if neither you nor your significant other has been married in the past, you haven’t the slightest clue what it takes or what it feels like to be married. And even if you have been married before, it’s most likely that you’ve not been married to this person before, and every pairing is different. Marriage is a coming together of two separate beings, a collision that aims to stitch two lives into one. Each unique combination of people elicits unique results. There are trends, however, and an experienced counselor like the professionals at Thriveworks Marietta have worked with enough couples to identify the common pitfalls, the unforeseen challenges, and the communication deficiencies present in many relationships, and they can use that knowledge to help you best prepare for the next stages in your life together.
Or perhaps, after going through premarital counseling, you decide that marriage isn’t the best decision. That’s okay too. Even in that circumstance, you’ll be saving yourself from the much more serious heartache down the road of being committed to someone that isn’t a great match and trying to figure out what the next move is. So, whether you complete your premarital counseling with hands firmly clasped or with a goodbye hug, you’ll be making the decision with all the cards on the table and with your mutual benefit at heart.
Reasons to Seek and Receive Premarital Counseling
Recent studies indicate that the average person who participates in premarital counseling is 30 percent happier in their marriage, and that alone is worth going to the typical 5-7 sessions. Some states require that couples younger than a certain age undergo premarital counseling, and, similarly, some officiates won’t conduct the ceremony without it. But whether you pursue premarital counseling as a requirement or of your own accord, know that premarital counseling can be the foundational basis for marital bliss, provided the counselor you meet with is skilled and knowledgeable.
Down the road, you’re going to get on each other’s nerves. One of you will leave dirty dishes in the sink again. Another will do that annoying little thing while chewing. A childhood trauma resurfaces and all hell breaks loose. Everyone has their own idiosyncrasies and problems; everyone is different. But one way that couples are all the same is that they need honest, judgment-free communication if the relationship is to be a healthy one. Many couples believe they are the exception to this rule, and every single one of them will learn the hard way.
Premarital counseling is your opportunity to anticipate, work through, and plan for issues before you’re in the “heat of the moment” where emotions run high. If you talk about these potential challenges beforehand, you’ll better know how to deal with them when they become a reality.
Some topics you will discuss with your premarital counselor include:
- Finances, budgeting, and debt
- Home ownership vs. rental
- Holiday travel expectations
- Relationships with extended family
- Plans for having children
- Long-term intentions and goals
- Sexuality and intimacy
- Household duties
- Spending time alone and together
- Communication styles
- Shared interests
- And many more
Schedule a Premarital Counseling Appointment at Thriveworks Marietta in Cobb County
As mental health professionals, we believe there is no time like the present, so we adhere to a strict no-waiting-list policy. This means that when you call our office, we’ll not only answer but schedule a session for you right away. Many of our counselors also accept insurance for their services, and offer evening, weekend, or even online counseling appointments to best meet your needs and lifestyle.
So, if you’re looking for a premarital counseling service in Marietta that can help establish crucial skills for relationship success, look no further. You’ve found us. Now let’s get to work. Contact us today and meet your counselor as soon as you’d like. We look forward to watching your relationship grow!