Pre-marital counseling is a way for engaged couples meet and have multiple sessions, typically, with a licensed marriage counselor. The purpose for this counseling is to make couples aware of issues they may not have considered when thinking about and planning for marriage. The sessions encourage the engaged couple to communicate with each other, open up about those issues, and work through their problems before they get married. Sessions with the counselor can be with both members of the engaged couple together or individually. One-on-one sessions allow each individual to discuss issues specific to them in-depth. Individual sessions can focus on their role in the marriage, issues related to their gender and their individual needs.
Christian vs. Secular
In Christian pre-marital counseling, the main distinction is the belief that marriage is created and ordained by God. The Bible is used as a manual for a successful marriage. Couples learn how to relate to each other the way God instructed in the Bible and from employing Christian principles. Couples learn how to relate to God for help with relationship problems and life’s problems. They learn how to seek God’s help to make sure their relationship can be reconciled and their marriage preserved.
Issues Handled in Pre-Marital Counseling
In the course of an engaged couple’s counseling, they will be encouraged to get to know each other better than they may have on their own. Topics of major discussion may include each person’s past, childhood and past relationships. Couples are encouraged to remember that they bring all of their lives’ experiences into their current relationship. Other topics include commitment, communication, abuse, stress, good and bad habits, conflict resolution, financial issues, sexual expectations, children and death. Counselors may decide to apply special focus on an issue that needs extra attention for one or both members of the couple.
Marital counselors may decide to make recommendations for the engaged couple about the decisions they will be making about their relationship. Marriage is a serious commitment and is intended to be life-long, especially for Christian couples. A counselor will help to bring to light what problems need to be resolved and may suggest the wedding be put on hold until they are resolved. If the couple is having serious problems with some fundamental issues that would be detrimental to a marriage, the counselor may even suggest the couple call off the wedding until they are willing to work on the issues.