This is a question I get from a lot of couples. It may sound old-fashioned to the modern bride, but pre-marital counselling is still a thing! Some brides say: we don’t need counselling because we already live together, or we’re older and settled in our relationship or we’ve been together for so many years. To them I say: it can’t hurt.
Take my marriage, for instance. My husband and I dated for 9 years before we tied the knot. We survived long-distance school scenarios, getting settled in our career scenarios, and pretty much thought ‘if we’ve come this far, the rest will be a cake walk’!
Ha. Enter marriage counselling! Over the course of 11 months (Yes! that’s how much I thought we needed!) we got to know each other in ways we’d never had the opportunity (or inclination) to know each other before.
We talked about things like finances, family planning, religion, how we wanted to raise our children, how we planned to vacation together and with our friends, how we planned to balance our goals for our family with our goals for ourselves. What were our contingency plans if what we intended wasn’t possible? How would we face specific challenges, should they arise? It was some deep stuff.
However, when we stood at the altar on our wedding day and recited our vows, we never felt more committed to forging our path together. I credit pre-marital counselling for that! We also kept the ball rolling. We found we really benefited from a 3rd party’s input in our relationship, so now we visit a counsellor 2-3 times a year, for a tune-up. It keeps us connected, ensures that we are growing together and ultimately makes us a stronger and happier team.
The road after I Do can be rocky, but if you prepare yourself for marriage (not just the wedding), then you’ll find the scenery on the journey can be equally as stimulating. So yes, it’s old-fashioned but I recommend you do the pre-marital counselling. Like I said, it can’t hurt!