Premarital counseling’s primary purpose is to prepare a couple for a lifetime commitment to each other. A couple genuinely seeking counseling wants their counselor to dispel any illusions and remove the blinders so that they enter into marriage with their eyes wide open. Counseling can help the couple develop the skill of adjusting to circumstances beyond their control – which is the number one skill to have in your marriage toolbox – for a lifetime marriage.
The best time to begin premarital counseling is not before the wedding. Before the wedding is too late. When a couple is fully engaged and planning their wedding, they tend to have blinders firmly in place and counseling is marginally effective at best. The best time to seek premarital counseling is around the time you are getting engaged. A better name for premarital counseling is “pre-engagement counseling”. This is the time when the couple is deciding whether or not to get married. The couple is still open to feedback and information prior to making a final “yes or no” decision. So much time is spent planning and preparing for the wedding. Few couples are wise enough to take the time, before the wedding planning starts, to build a strong foundation for their marriage.
The best preparation for marriage is to discover and dig deep into the couple’s issues up front. Traditional marriage counseling covers several topics, but only at an introductory level. At New Reflections Counseling, Matt Pavlik teams with couples to identify core strengths and weaknesses. Then, the majority of the time is spent focusing on strengthening the relationship at its weakest points.