Print Edition: April 8, 2015
Amid the wedding smorgasbord of chair-covers, florist quotes, entertainment options, colours and itineraries, the main goal of the wedding — to be married — is often forgotten. But this is a stage in your relationship that can’t be neglected. If you’re double-checking to make sure the catering is going to be just so at your wedding, why not take the time — and some of your wedding budget — to get pre-marital counselling?
It’s often not easy for an engaged couple to go to counselling; the act implies their relationship isn’t perfect, and they probably feel very strongly that it is. But the one in four couples that eventually divorce probably thought the same. Your marriage is like a plant; you have to put in effort to take care of it. It can either slowly wither, choked of sustenance, and die — or it can blossom. Two people who promise to be together forever is a beautiful thing, but the process takes work.
Look at pre-marital counselling as a way of setting down a strong foundation in your relationship. Whether you feel invincible or have quiet doubts, pre-marital counselling will be helpful.
Marriage brings up questions that you might not have thought about. There’s the big (and obvious) three: money, sex, and kids. But what about illness? What about death? What are the deal-breakers? From spirituality to household chores, pre-marital counselling will delve into these issues, and mediate a healthy conversation. You’ll learn important tools such as conflict resolution that will help your relationship in the future.
Pre-marital counselling isn’t cheap. UFV counselors do not offer it. If you attend a church, your church leader will provide pre-marital counselling services for free. But otherwise, you generally have to go about six sessions, and each session is around $100. Often counselors will offer a package deal — six sessions for $500.
If your wedding budget is $10,000, why not reserve $600 for the health of your relationship?
Sessions will usually be once per week, so try going to counselling several months prior to your wedding. Finding a therapist isn’t difficult. Do a bit of research — you can find registered counselors on Theravive (theravive.com) and scroll through a list of profiles and specialties. Counselors provide a free 10-minute consultation. Consider it an interview. Do they make you feel safe? Do they share your values? What approach will they take with you and your partner? If you’re really invested, you can research counselling methods, and find a counselor that uses that discipline. Don’t settle with a counselor that you don’t like — it’s a waste of time and money in an invaluable opportunity.
Pre-marital counselling is often overlooked, but it should be a priority for couples planning on spending their lives together. There’s a reason that prospect is so overwhelming. Pre-marital counselling will help will help make the beginning of your marriage strong and resilient.