As a wedding planner, I am here to guide and support couples throughout the preparation process for their wedding. While the wedding is what I'm building towards with couples, I am also conscious of the fact that the couple are still growing and deepening their relationship as they move into marriage. This is why I include information about premarital counseling and guidelines within my planning materials.
Ultimately, it is your choice whether or not to seek premarital counselling. I do, however, believe that this preparation for marriage has an incredibly strengthening effect and strongly recommend it to my clients as a course of action. You’re not just planning a wedding; you are planning a marriage.
This past summer, I had the opportunity to speak on the Ryan Jespersen show. Jenny McAlister and I were the guests for an episode about weddings. Jenny is a therapist, primarily dealing with couples. Beforehand, I was able to chat with Jenny and hear more about her work in premarital counseling.
I wish that we had had more time to speak on that subject during the show, because it is not widely discussed and I think it’s an option that couples should be made more aware of. That being said, I have since spoken with her and would love to share some of her expertise with you!
Below is a short little Q&A that I did with Jenny regarding premarital counseling. If you are engaged or in a long-term relationship, please read what this intelligent, kind and generous professional has to say.
1. Who should do pre-marital counselling?
Pre-marital counselling was historically designed only for engaged couples but more and more couples at all stages of their relationship are choosing to attend and are benefiting from pre-marriage counselling.
Any couple in a committed relationship who wants to learn skills to better that relationship or gain a clear awareness of the strengths and areas of growth of that relationship should attend pre-marriage counselling (even if they never plan to have a wedding)!
2. What is the time commitment?
Pre-marital counselling can be done privately or in a group.
For private pre-marriage counselling, I schedule 5 sessions (1 hour each) with the couple and work though important topics related to marriage as well as anything specifically related to the couple that needs sorting out. These sessions become very personalized and focus more on what the couple needs.
For group pre-marriage counselling, the couple, along with other couples, meets with me for 3 sessions (2 hours each). In this format, we work through set topics and activities designed to help couples explore important issues related to marriage. Following the group, each couple has 1 hour privately with me to review anything specifically related to their relationship.
3. What is discussed?
A lot of information is crammed into pre-marriage counselling! We cover personality differences, love languages, values, stress, financial management, seasons of marriage, communication and conflict resolution (including how to repair after conflicts).
4. What is the biggest benefit?
The biggest benefit is that couples leave pre-marriage counselling very aware of what their strengths as a couple are and what areas they may need to focus a little more on.
The reality is that in all marriages there will be difficulties and going in with your eyes wide open, knowing what your difficulties are, is only good news.
5. What do you love most about pre-marriage counselling?
Pre-marriage counselling is one of my very favorite things to do. I love helping couples start important conversations and giving them the tools to be successful in these conversations. I love helping people ask for what they need more of from their partner. I love seeing the surprise in the eyes of people that weren’t convinced pre-marriage counselling was a good idea, but they enjoyed themselves and found it helpful.
I most of all love being involved in helping couples deepen their relationship and increase the health and longevity of a very important relationship.
6. If you could give couples getting married one piece of advice, what would it be?
Plan a beautiful wedding because weddings are great, but also plan a beautiful marriage. Couples spend so much time and energy on the wedding day that sometimes I think they forget to invest in the marriage, which is what is left for rest of the days after the wedding day…
Looking to explore pre-marital support with Jenny? Learn more about her here!
First Image - Let's Reminisce Photography
Second Image - Britney Berrner Creative
This post is not sponsored or an advertisement.