Pre-Marriage Prep, what does it involve?

shutterstock_385906102Walking down the aisle and saying I Do is a big deal! You are entering a new phase of your relationship. When you are planning your wedding, it is not just about throwing a great party or having an awesome celebration with the people the matter to you. I encourage you to consider the process there after? Premarital preparation or marriage preparation is about planning for your marriage, for the part when the glitz and glamour of your wedding day is a beautiful memory.

Premarital therapy has huge benefits

I believe you as a couple could really benefit from discussing some vital aspects that impact a marital relationship. Marriage prep is not only for couples who haven’t been together for an age and the likes, it is for all couples entering a new dimension “MARRIAGE”. Although marriage preparation is part of what is termed couples therapy, it is a unique process. It a misconception that marriage prep is like other couples therapy processes, yes there is an overlap between a couples therapy process where the couple is struggling with a part of their relationship, but premarital counselling is by nature a different approach since it is preparation for a process (before-the-fact). It is about laying a foundation for marriage as best as one can. This is not to say that if a couple goes to premarital prep it will be smooth sailing from there on out, the unexpected is a part of life, however a preparation process can be of immense benefit.

Premarital preparation is not about compatibility or a question of “are we a good fit”? When you are coming for premarital preparation, generally you have decided on that one and you are getting married in a short time. I think doing a test on compatibility or going down that road at this point could be destructive, it is more about acknowledging differences and working together as a team to lay foundation and be as best equipped as you can prior to you entering your marriage.

Although each therapeutic process would differ depending on what emerges within your unique relationship, below, I highlight some areas that I usually cover to give you a bigger picture of the process of premarital counselling or premarital preparation.

  • Looking at differences:
    • Each partner brings their own history, upbringing, values and beliefs into the marriage. These do influence and shape each partner and thus have an impact on the relationship, clearing this out and viewing the differences can enhance understanding within the relationship.
  • The meaning of your marriage:
    • Here we will look at what marriage means to each of you, why are you choosing to get married to your partner and so forth.
  • Your mutual expectations 
    • What do you expect within the term marriage and of your partner:
    • Developing realistic expectations that work within your relationship.
  • Roles of each partner within the marriage:
    • Each relationship is unique and does not necessarily follow stereotypical roles, considering and tailor-making your relationship can be of immense benefit.
  • What are your respective future goals:
    • Career goals, family goals, partner goals, and life goals.
  • Looking at the intricacies in your marriage:
    • Handling and managing money in your relationship.
    • Affection, sex, and sexual aspects of your relationship.
    • Children, including how each partner views children in the family, viewing timeframes around expanding a family (naturally, adopted etc), considering difficulties related to having children (infertility), options around children.
    • Blended families and the intricacies involved therein.
    • Religion, spirituality and views therein.
    • Clearing out any unfinished business and letting go.
  • Communication, negotiation, decision making and compromise within the relationship.
  • Monogamy and infidelity within a relationship.
  • What would you do if your marriage was in crisis or difficulties emerged therein.
  • Divorce and separation:
    • What are your views? Have you discussed this? Has anyone close to you (family or friend) been through divorce? How would you deal with this?
    • Perhaps you are entering a marriage after a divorce.
    • Often couples do not want to think about divorce before entering marriage, however it helps to bring you onto the same page having open discussions about all avenues related to marriage and divorce is one.
  • Understanding the extended family – parents and in-laws:
    • Where are the boundaries of the extended family? Are these established? Or how do you plan on creating effective and healthy boundaries? What if a boundary is infringed on, how do you as a couple deal with this?
    • Concerns around parents, in-laws, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and so forth
    • Communication within the extended family.
    • Expectations of the extended family.

Well there we have it, some of my thoughts on pre-marital prep and what’s involved. If you have questions, something has popped up you would like clarity on or you are considering a process of premarital preparation yourself you are welcome to get in touch with me, visit my contact page for more details.