Getting married soon? Considering putting seeing a therapist on wedding prep to do list.
Why go to pre-marriage therapy? Many couples enter marriage without a clear understanding of their differences, or the things they each might be doing to invite conflict. Investing in premarital counseling and seeing a therapist — together — is a great way to strengthen your relationship and safeguard your new marriage.
Here are four ways a therapist can help.
Clarify expectations. Expecting your fiancé to meet all your needs, or even have the same needs as you do, is a recipe for conflict. Premarital counseling can help you identify topics that frequently divide couples: finances, in-laws, when to have children (and how many), physical intimacy, time spent together and time spent apart, to name a few.
A good therapist will facilitate conversations so you both feel heard and can focus on problem-solving. Once you clarify differences in expectations and values – for instance, your fiancé wants to spend every winter holiday with their parents while you want to start your own traditions – you can discuss ways to navigate your differences and come up with solutions that work for both of you.
Practice effective communication. Conversations break down when people feel invalidated and disconnected. A couples therapist will pinpoint things each of you say and do to cause ruptures in your relationship. Needing to be “right,” lashing out in anger, withdrawing in stony silence, and rehashing the past are all common communication pitfalls.
Your therapist can teach you strategies to have productive conversations that also bring you closer: for instance, demonstrating empathy for your partner beforeyou explain your position. Once your partner feels heard, he or she will be much more likely to be receptive to feedback.
Learn conflict resolution skills. Life tends to get more complicated after the wedding, especially when you throw kids, aging parents, and financial struggles into the mix. It’s crucial that you develop strategies to manage conflict so you can resolve problems as they arise. Premarital counseling can help you shift from being opponents to getting on the same team so you can solve problems effectively.
Work through your emotions around prenuptial agreements. Prenuptial agreements are a sound financial decision for almost anyone. Are you entering marriage already owning a business or house, do you have kids from a previous relationship, or do you plan on leaving your career once you have children? A prenuptial agreement can help each of you feel more secure — which only benefits your marriage. However, introducing discussion around prenuptial agreements can still feel awkward, mostly due to lingering sense around prenups that they are only for the ultra-wealthy. [Read our blog: How to Ask Your Fiancé for a Prenuptial Agreement]
Think of it this way: Your family law attorney can help you hammer out the legal terms of your prenuptial agreement; pre-marriage therapy can help you process your emotions around this topic and keep the lines of communication open.
Find more about how prenuptial agreements can safeguard peace of mind in marriage. Please contact us today to schedule your initial attorney consultation and get answers to all your questions. Call us at 888-888-0919, or please click the button below.