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Pre-Marital Counseling

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RoseAngel04

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What are your thoughts on this? Do you and FI plan on going through this counseling? If you are already married did you go through this and do you recommend it?


My real question is for the ladies who are already married and went through pre-marital counseling. I''m a student at a Christian university and included in my tuition is couseling/pre-marital counseling. I would like to take advantage and this resource and have contacted the counselors for information. I really do not know what to expect though. In her reply email she made it seem like she would meet with us initially and then see what further counseling needs we had. I''m not trying to brag but FI are very open about everything so it''s not like there are huge issues to resolve etc. So....for the ladies that went through it what was it like?!
 

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ChargerGrrl

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I found an earlier post about this, and cut and pasted my response to that one (sorry- I cheated!)


I'm all for pre-marital counseling.

I bought it up to my DH about 2-3 months into our engagement and he was open to the idea. Our engagement was on the "shorter" side (9 months), so we had time constraints. We researched a couple of workshops, therapists, etc... and in the end went to the Engaged Encounter weekend retreat that's run by the Catholic Church. We were both raised Catholic, but no longer practice (we're "recovering"). We're not religious at all, so we had some concerns about it. We weren't looking to get preached at about our relationship or scolded for not being churchgoers. We decided to take a chance and did it. WOW, we're sure glad we did! There was maybe one session where I tuned out (natural family planning), and I was a bit uncomfortable at the first mass (we ended up skipping the others). The program REALLY made us think about our relationship, and talk about the future. We knew we were on the same page on many things, but it was nice to just focus on US and make plans. We were the only couple attending on our own accord, which the organizers thought was awesome (everyone else was getting married by the church and HAD to do it).



I highly recommend it.
GOOD LUCK!

 

KimberlyH

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When engaged the first time around, 5+ years ago, I went through premarital counseling w/ my then fiance, as required by the Catholic church. I called off the wedding. It wasn't due to the couseling, it was due to my father saying "you don't have to go through with this if you don't want to." The counseler was a licensed professional who volunteered at the church and he never once said "don't get married you aren't compatible" which would have been the absolute truth.

With my now DH we skipped the counseling. We were 29 and 38 when we got married (less than five months ago) and had been through and seen enough knew that it was right, no need for anyone to deem it so. We had discussed finances, children, work, birth control, household responsibilities etc. (just as I had in my counseling sessions with that other guy I almost married in my other life) so neither of us saw the need; DH and I have a totally open and honest relationship, as you describe yours, so it seemed a bit pointless.

I don't think it's a bad idea, but I also don't believe it's necessary, as long as you have discussed all of the important things that go along with being married (and no, that does not mean the color scheme and should we invite drunk Uncle Ned to the wedding). Counseling could open both your eyes to things you haven't yet thought about or felt the need to discuss.

What I've shared may not help you at all as it's wishy-washy...but my point is that you need to decide what is best for you. I never see intelligent discussion and guidance as a negative thing, just make sure that the person you seek counseling from has similar views and beliefs as you two to or it will all be for naught.
 

anchor31

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Okay, we''re not married yet, but I highly recommend pre-marital counseling. I understand that you feel like you and your FI have no issues, neither do I, but I don''t think that particular counseling is necessarily about issues. Who knows, you might discover a lot of things you didn''t know. And since it''s included in your tuition, I say take advantage of it!
 

RoseAngel04

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Thx for everyone's responses so far. I agree that pre-marital counseling is a good thing and that since it's included in my tuition then why not! As for the counselor being on the same page as us I would assume she will be since we're both Christians (baptist) and attend a baptist university. I read my FI the reply email from the counselor and they both said that she probably at times gets couples who need further attention with deeper issues so she included that just in case.
 

DonaBella

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Hi...I thought I''d respond to this topic. As for my DH and I when we married several years ago, we did a compatibility test and counseled with the director of a marriage class that was offered at our university. If they had offered or a program had been available for premarital counseling, I would have definitely taken it. You can never do too much prep for the most important relationship in your life. It''s too easy to get married w/o much knowledge or preparation and I wish it wasn''t quite honestly. Maybe more couples would be better aware of their own readiness or lack of with this type of counseling. Just a thought.

I heard of the Engaged Encounter by a friend a few years back and he said it was so extremely helpful for his wife and himself. Out of 6 couples who started the program with them, only 2 others stayed engaged and actually got married. The others took more time to get to know each other or broke up or delayed the wedding to re-evaluate he said. For some, it brought to the surface issues that most thought they didn''t have. It sounded like it was a good choice for most though.
 

diamondfan

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I think it is a fine idea. And, even though you both get along really well, it can be surprising what issues emerge as hot button issues, ones that you never really think about now. It certainly does not hurt to have ground rules established in terms of conflict resolution etc, and to see how you each act when conflict arises, as it always does. It is nice if you can do it without incurring costs, just make sure you feel comfortable with the couselor. I also think a lot of churches require this with the pastor prior to the wedding, though I am not sure of this.
 

IndiBlue

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I''m not married yet (July 7th, 07), but my Fiance and I went through a Pre-Marriage Seminar with our church- it was included in the cost of using the church- and we were really glad we did and so early in the process as well. We were engaged in January and went to the seminar in September (right before we made most of our stressfull decisions).

I really thought that the seminar was going to be a bore, as both E and I communicate very well and generally know how to handle each other- but it was very impactful! We learned alot about how the other is triggered and how to handle the situation before it turns into a stupid fight over nothing (ie, putting the toilet lid down). The best part was that we came up with a list of 5 things that we both expected out of our marriage, life, and each other- that really helped us identify that we''re a partnership and to be able to accomplish these things we''ve got to always work together.

Do it! Do it! Do it! especially if it''s free!
 

RoseAngel04

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We def plan on having some sort of pre-marital counseling...just not sure if it will be through my school or not. My Uncle, an ordained pastor, is officiating our ceremony and he counsels couples before marrying them. Since he has the same faith as FI and I do, I think we may do the counseling with him.
 

ponderer

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I too recommend pre-marriage counceling. While we also did not have any issues to work out, it was nice to spend some time to focus on ourselves.

I might suggest not doing the counceling with your uncle. This is a time for you and your FI to be very open and candid with each other and having a family member invloved may not be the best idea.

I say this specifically because one of the major topics that was covered in our counceling was family. How you feel about yours, how he feels about his, how you both feel about each others. How much your families are involved in your lives, is it ok, is it not. How that may change in the future when you start your own family.

This forum has excellent examples every week of how you just don''t marry the person, you marry the family. And even if you both get along great with your future inlaws there will be a time where family becomes a sore subject.

Just make sure that both you and your FI are comfortable with the counceling situation, and that you both can talk about this and other personal topics (money, kids, intimacy, etc.) infront of your uncle.
 

RoseAngel04

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I see what you mean ponderer about him being my Uncle and all, and we've too taken that into consideration. The thing is that we both feel comfortable with him, and don't think that we'd be too comfy talking with someone we don't know at all about our relationship. FI and I are both pretty private people. This weekend is our engagement party/ornament shower
(finally after being engaged for 4 months!
) and he will be there. We will discuss with him then and then make our decision. I think we will do the counseling with him initially and then go from there. We can always do both if we feel the need.
 

codex57

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Date: 12/6/2006 4:57:40 PM
Author: RoseAngel04
We def plan on having some sort of pre-marital counseling...just not sure if it will be through my school or not. My Uncle, an ordained pastor, is officiating our ceremony and he counsels couples before marrying them. Since he has the same faith as FI and I do, I think we may do the counseling with him.
Yikes!

I thought pre-marital counseling was fine. It may help some couples more than others, but there''s really no downside to it other than time.

However, I don''t like the idea of doing it front of your uncle. I''m sure he does a great job, but I can''t imagine it''d be all that easy to be as completely open as it would be to someone not family. Like me. I''ve got issues with my mom. If I had to go through pre-marital counseling with her brother, I dunno if I could be as completely open. Everyone is different of course, but I still think it''s best to do it with someone else.
 

poptart

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Date: 12/6/2006 8:26:14 PM
Author: codex57

Date: 12/6/2006 4:57:40 PM
Author: RoseAngel04
We def plan on having some sort of pre-marital counseling...just not sure if it will be through my school or not. My Uncle, an ordained pastor, is officiating our ceremony and he counsels couples before marrying them. Since he has the same faith as FI and I do, I think we may do the counseling with him.
Yikes!

I thought pre-marital counseling was fine. It may help some couples more than others, but there''s really no downside to it other than time.

However, I don''t like the idea of doing it front of your uncle. I''m sure he does a great job, but I can''t imagine it''d be all that easy to be as completely open as it would be to someone not family. Like me. I''ve got issues with my mom. If I had to go through pre-marital counseling with her brother, I dunno if I could be as completely open. Everyone is different of course, but I still think it''s best to do it with someone else.
I was thinking the same thing... plus I think it might be really hard for him to be impartial.

*M*
 

VRBeauty

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Or for your fiance to view him as impartial should you hit a tough spot. I bet your uncle would be able to give you a good referral though.
 

RoseAngel04

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I completely understand where ya''ll are coming from. From what I understand when my uncle counsels engaged couples he instructs them what God''s word, the Bible, says about marriage. Growing up in church I have heard most of this before, but in my and my FI''s walk with God I think it''s essential to know what he says about marriage and his instructions for the husband and for the wife. With that said I do want to hear what he has to say and think we will have a tremendous benefit from his "counseling."

I''m positive that he understands that as a member of the family of course certain topics will be a bit awkward to discuss with him like ya''ll said, FI and I have thought about this as well.

With that said, we are still looking into persuing the pre-marital counseling from my school. Thanks for everyone''s input!
 

biblobaggins23

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Nov 25, 2006
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i am in pre-martial counseling now at my church with one of our pastors. it is amazing! my fiance and i are soo happy we are doing it. our pastor brought up discussions we have never talked about and questions we never asked ourselves and encourages us in an non-biased environment to work out all these discussions and questions. luckily, we agree on everything and have talked out all these new questions/discussions he brought up in a healthy way that encourages our communcation. at least from our pastor, we passed counseling with flying colors and complimented us on our dedication and communication and said our relationship is healthy and we will have a healthy marriage.

i don't know why some people have given pre-martial counseling such a negative light. since when is discussing and working out issues and discussing questions about your future life negative? if you are secure in your relationship, you shouldn't be hesitant to go to counseling.

i say do it!!! its so worthwhile! its amazing!
 

AChiOAlumna

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I also recommend pre-marital counseling. As someone who works with couples, I see them all too often enter into marriage without really sitting down and talking about their expectations after the "I dos" are over. The couple (more often than not) "assume" that their spouse will "just know" what the other wants because they got married and "expects" their spouse to meet all their needs. This isn''t possible and the conflicts ensue.

Pre-marital counseling will really teach you how to communicate with one another about your differences and how to respect each other even in the midst of a disagreement.
 

CrownJewel

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The first married friend of mine got married when she was 22, right out of college. They knew each other for about 1 year. She and her fiance went to a Christian unviersity and they went through pre-marriage counseling. Recently she said something like: "sometimes we fight so much that I think we should get divorced. I never saw my parents fight so I thought that fighting as much as ''Hubby'' and I do means that we should get divorced. But ''Hubby'' reassures me that it''s normal to fight. I owe the success of the relationship to him because I sometimes forget about compromise. That''s probably the most important thing I''ve ever learned."

So my point is that pre-marriage counseling is a great idea, especially if you remember the things you learned from the counseling sessions. My fiance and I receive pre-marriage counseling informally from our friends and our parents. We''ve have many big fights and we disagree about a lot of things, but we have learned from every argument. It is hard to compromise on your money, your time, your belongings, and your space, but if you enjoy each other''s company and you believe you''re in it for the long run then all the fights and compromises are 100% worth it.
 

dtnyc

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As a newlywed who did a day long workshop about communication, goals, finances, etc. I can say that it''s important.

I have a friend who got married a month after us, and she and her husband are already considering divorce because there were so many issues that they never addressed before getting married. Sounds ridiculous, especially when you learn that both of them are over 30, but sadly it''s true.
They are in counseling now and their therapist said that out of 7 categories of intimacy they only have 1, and for a marriage to work you have to have at least 3.
They never openly discussed where they wanted to raise their children (they are from different coasts.)

I think it''s really important for engaged couples to take the time to discuss their future, goals, serious issues, etc- an engagement is about more than just planning a wedding.
 

TravelingGal

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We did a few sessions with the guy that married us. What I thought was cool about it was that it got us into the "talking" mode even after the session was over. We''d keep talking about life issues and explore each other''s thoughts more.
 

ephemery1

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Pre-marital counseling is a requirement for getting married at my church (just regular Christian, not Catholic)... but the counseling is done by another couple in the community, not a trained therapist. Since I have a counseling degree (or two!) myself, I certainly appreciate the value... but I'm not totally sure what to expect. We are a little concerned about the focus being more religious and less practical application, but FI and I are both pretty open-minded... so we'll see what happens!
 

RoseAngel04

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It''s glad to hear that you ladies have had such a wonderful experience with pre-marital counseling. FI and I have our first session tomorrow evening, so we''ll see how it goes!
 
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