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  • Writer's pictureDr. Maura Ferguson

The benefits of premarital therapy

When and why to start premarital couples counselling or therapy?

bride groom holding hands

You and your partner are engaged and busy planning your wedding. You may be wondering if premarital couples therapy would be helpful for you. Here are some reasons people consult a couples therapist before getting married. It is important to note that couples therapy is for people at any stage in their relationship:

  1. You or your partner are getting cold feet: If one of you or both partners are anxious about getting married. You may have had family experiences, previous relationships, or marriages that have you feeling concerned about your capacity to be in a long-term relationship. You may feel skeptical or even hopeless about relationships and want to work this out with your partner.

  2. Planning the wedding itself is stressing you out!: The expenses are rising, you feel overwhelmed by the guest list or differing family expectations. Your partner has become bridezilla or groomzilla and you don't recognize them anymore. You thought this time was supposed to be for you both but you find yourself disagreeing about so many decisions you are being asked to make, relationships to manage and money to manage. You don't want planning this wedding to come between you or lead to disappointment or resentment.

  3. There are unresolved issues: Many people bring unresolved issues from their past into relationships or have patterns in their existing relationships they would like to leave behind. Couples therapy can help identify and work through these issues, preventing them from negatively impacting the relationship as you move on to a new level of commitment such as marriage.

  4. You're not happy with how the two of you manage conflict: Conflict is part of any relationship, and learning how to resolve or manage it can bring people closer. Many people manage conflict by avoiding it or the source of disagreement: their partner. Premarital therapy provides a safe space for couples to learn constructive ways to handle conflicts and disagreements, preventing minor issues from escalating into major problems.

  5. You want to figure out if you're compatible for the long haul: Your vows may be to stick together for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, etc. but what would that actually look like? Therapy helps couples align their expectations regarding various aspects of married life, such as finances, parenting, career goals, and household responsibilities, reducing potential conflicts.

  6. You are Navigating Cultural Differences: Couples from diverse cultural backgrounds often seek premarital couples counselling to navigate the challenges that can arise due to cultural differences, fostering mutual understanding and respect.

  7. Past Traumas are rearing their heads: Individuals or couples with unresolved past traumas often seek premarital therapy to address these issues before getting married.

  8. Your trust feels shaky: Couples may come to premarital couples therapy sessions to because they tend to struggle with trust, or a breach in trust has taken place that threatens the relationship. When there is some awareness that the breach has the potential to be worked through or that trust difficulties are something that one person may struggle with more globally.

marriage couple wedding

It's important to note that the effectiveness of premarital couples therapy, like any form of therapy, depends on the willingness and commitment of both partners to participate and engage in the process actively. Not all couples in therapy decide to remain together but by addressing underlying issues, premarital therapy couples are better equipped to understand one another and handle the challenges that life may bring them.

Have you ever been in or considered premarital therapy?

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