Why Go to Premarital Counseling?
As a relationship therapist in San Diego, I receive a lot of inquiries about premarital counseling so I thought a blog post on the subject would be helpful. I believe premarital/precommitment counseling is very important because it highlights areas in the relationship that will likely become a source of disagreement for the couple down the road but is not yet recognized or at best, minimized. Premarital work is good at assessing incompatibilities and gives the couple an opportunity to be proactive in dealing with their differences as opposed to wrestling with them later when additional life stressors are present. I always tell clients that it’s so much easier for couples to remedy their problems and differences early on in the relationship rather than waiting when problems and resentments have accumulated over the years. Too often, couples are only aware of what is good in their relationship because they are still in the honeymoon phase and incompatibilities have not fully presented themselves. As a rule of thumb, it usually takes a few years for the real problems to arise. Often the problems can be worked through, but sometimes they present an impasse. So, it’s wise to look at potential pitfalls before taking the plunge!Basically, premarital counseling is a form of insurance and gives most couples additional assurance. It is usually completed in 3 sessions although I’ve completed it in 2 sessions with some but never had it go beyond 5. It’ a small investment when measured against the importance that most people place on a wedding. I offer two forms of premarital counseling – a “formal” style and an “informal” one. The formal approach involves an online assessment called Prepare-Enrich. It’s very easy and involves each individual in the couple to complete an online assessment which examines a variety of relationship, personality and family factors. After the assessments are completed by both individuals, our first session is held and the couple is given a customized report outlining the assessment results. A Couples’ Workbook is given to each person to work on between sessions. The “informal” premarital work consists of the three of us sitting down in sessions while I guide us through a number of very important areas to determine if there are areas of incompatibility that are unrecognized or minimized.
Prepare-Enrich Premarital Counseling Assessment
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
What Relationship Areas Are Assessed by PREPARE-ENRICH?
- 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 have any additional questions about premarital counseling, feel free to go to my premarital page on my website for more information. If you would like to ask me questions, you can always call or email. And, appointments can be made online from my website or by clicking HERE.
Sylvia Flanagan, MFT is a San Diego therapist with a private practice in Mission Valley. For more information about San Diego Therapy, feel free to call or email her.
Office hours are Monday through Thursday 9:00 to 6:00.