Congratulations, you’re engaged! It’s such a happy time unless you are having second thoughts. After all, you’ve seen other couples who were ecstatic in the beginning become incompatible over time. Are you having a case of “wedding jitters” or is it possible you’ve made a mistake? Premarital Counseling may be the next logical step to find out. Although most people associate any form of marital counseling as a sign of failure, there’s absolutely no shame in seeking it out. In fact, it can actually strengthen your relationship from the get-go – by nipping potential problems or disagreements in the bud early on, you avoid festering longer-term issues. This preemptive action potentially saves you and your fiancée years of counseling down the line.
To have and to hold from this day forward. As a licensed marriage & family specialist offering pre-marital counseling in Coral Springs, I help my clients realize and share their feelings effectively with their spouses. Sessions include discussions on core values, career goals, views on finances, thoughts on intimacy, having children or not, extended family involvement and expectations for shared and separate social lives. While you may have talked about some or all of these things, pre-marital counseling allows you to go deeper into your thoughts on a variety of issues. This coaching helps you handle things as minor as pet peeves, split responsibilities around the house, and even how to deal with a friend that one of you adores and the other despises. By taking action now itself, you can resolve things far in advance, learning how to talk and feel understood. Not to mention, building a solid foundation helps preserve the spark in your marriage.
For better or for worse. During a marriage, it’s inevitable that both of you will change and evolve over the course of time. Some changes will be positive, and others may be challenging, especially when struggling with situations that were not a concern in the past. For example, the loss of a loved one can introduce newfound sadness or depression, and the sudden onset of a health problem can alter your financial status. Whatever your “troubled waters,” pre-marital counseling offers you coping skills to help “bridge” the gap between both of you during trying times. However, if an extreme escalation or change in behavior (alcohol or drug abuse, infidelity, domestic violence, financial dishonesty, gambling addiction) occurs, I recommend you seek outside help (marital counseling, therapy, rehabilitation) from a trusted source for further assistance.
Until death do you part. These are the final words of traditional marriage vows, and the goal of pre-marital counseling! Share this blog with your partner and discuss the benefits of building a strong foundation before tying the knot, then (if you’re both game) schedule an appointment to get started. What you love about each other (and led to your engagement) will be highlighted, and what you don’t know about each other may come to the surface. Prepare for some surprises, but trust that the end result will give you clarity on your compatibility. In most cases, I find premarital counseling calms “wedding jitters” and helps build a better groundwork for a happy marriage. In other cases, the “forever commitment” might not be in the cards. Either way, it’s best to know for certain before you say – “I Do.”
Susan Block is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in marriage, family and individual therapy. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University in 1997 and completed her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Nova Southeastern University in 2004. Also an active member of The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), Susan Block practices in South Florida