Why Premarital Counseling?
Premarital counseling is a relatively inexpensive investment put towards one of the most important decisions in peoples’ life – their marriage. It is usually short term ranging from 3 to 5 premarital counseling sessions and covers many potential areas that may not have been explored by a couple preparing to marry. Premarital work is a good piece of insurance helping couples work through potential growth areas while affirming their strengths and encourages couples to examine areas in their relationship that are often overlooked by many people not yet married. Premarital counseling helps couples identify and resolve differences prior to marriage before they become problems.
It’s hidden differences and poor communication skills which create conflict in many couples. Often couples who are ready to marry are still in their “honeymoon phase” and get married without understanding what differences exist under the blanket of happiness they feel. This is the perfect time to take a look at possible pitfalls of the future and tackle them before they become a problem. Even couples who have been together for many years may have potential differences yet to surface related to future decisions such as extended family, parenting, retirement, etc. To help ensure that strong happiness and deep satisfaction endures in your marriage, you may want to consider investing in premarital counseling.
As a San Diego therapist, I offer two forms of premarital counseling. I have an informal method where we meet and review areas ranging from communication, conflict resolution, finances, sexual expectations, in-laws, spirituality, values, roles, career path, vision of the future, parenting expectations and more. We explore these areas and determine your strengths and build up areas needing improvement. Used much more frequently than the informal method is an assessment called “Prepare-Enrich”. It’s an online assessment that both people in the couple take at their leisure and results are then sent to me. The couple and I meet where they receive a customized report based on the assessment results and a workbook for the couple to do between sessions and after the conclusion of premarital counseling. We take 3 to 5 sessions (often 3 is sufficient) and I review the results with the couple.
What is Prepare-Enrich?
PREPARE-ENRICH is a program examining major relationship issues experienced by the majority of couples. It has high levels of reliability and validity and is used as the foundation for a lot of research. Counselors who administer PREPARE-ENRICH must be formally trained and I have been trained. During premarital sessions, the assessment results are discussed and growth areas explored in more detail.
The 6 main goals of PREPARE-ENRICH are to:
- Explore relationship strengths & growth areas
- Learn assertiveness & active listening skills
- Learn how to resolve conflict
- Help couples discuss their Family of Origin
- Help couples with financial planning & budgeting
- Focus on personal, couple and family goals
The relationship areas that are covered in Prepare-Enrich are:
- Conflict Resolution
- Personality Issues
- Financial Management
- Sexual Expectations
- Marital Satisfaction
- Leisure Activities
- Children and Parenting
- Family and Friends
- Expectations/Cohabitation Issues
- Idealistic Distortion
- Role Relationship
- Spiritual Beliefs
- Self Confidence
- Partner Dominance
Couple & Family Issues
- Family of Origin Closeness
- Family of Origin Flexibility
- Couple Closeness
- Couple Flexibility
If you are engaged or preparing to be married, I highly recommend you consider premarital counseling. It is a small investment to help prevent problems and ensure a happier and more healthy marriage. If you are interested in learning more about my premarital services, please contact me and I’d be happy to answer any questions you have.
Sylvia Flanagan, MFT is a San Diego therapist with a private practice in Mission Valley. For more information on San Diego premarital counseling, feel free to call or email her.
Office hours are Monday through Thursday 9:00 to 6:00.