Pre-marital counseling offers you and your partner an opportunity to talk through sensitive issues, set
realistic goals, develop conflict resolution skills, and improve your relationship before you get married.
Many people enter into marriage believing that all of their emotional, social, intellectual, and intimacy
needs will automatically be met through their marriage. Pre-marital counseling is a pro-active and
positive approach that will help prepare for your marriage and maintain better outcomes in keeping
your marriage healthy by teaching you how to identify your needs, share your concerns, and negotiate
your expectations in a positive manner.
Pre-marital counseling is offered over 12 weeks and covers such topics as:
Beliefs and values*
Roles in marriage
Dealing with anger
Affection and sex
Children and parenting
Social life and time spent together
Managing online involvement
* Beliefs and values can include deeper or more extensive discussions of faith based practices for couples and families, if this is desired.
Whether you are in a new relationship or a long established one, attempts at intimacy and closeness can become stuck in failed communication and behavioral patterns. Individuals will tell me that it feels like the "same argument over and over again." Relationship counseling will help you identify what it is that is causing the block and then help you resolve it.
We can lose our ability to value others or lose the feeling that others are truly valuing us. We may even be drawn to establishing emotional or physical intimacy outside of our primary relationship. When infidelity has been part of your past (either your own or your partner's) finding your way emotionally and physically back into the relationship can be painful, but not impossible.
We can get caught in a style of responding to one another that may be hurtful and our relationships can lose their meaning and luster. Maintaining a position of defensiveness, sensitivity, needing to be right, or assigning blame, will not help the relationship. Learning new ways of communication, resolving problems, and caring for our partner is not always easy. With new tools we can learn how to more effectively care for ourselves, as well as our partner, as we work out needs, desires, and differences in opinion. One of the ways in which we can move to that place of caring is to learn how to really pay attention to shifts in the way in which we think and feel while we are with our partner, and more importantly, to pay attention to how our partner is responding to us.
It can be challenging to get started in relationship counseling. It is difficult and sometimes awkward to identify or talk openly about what has led to your experience of increased distance and avoidance. You may even find that your initial experience in therapy may be similar to your experience of the relationship. For example, if you have been avoiding intimacy, or situations that produce uncomfortable feelings, it is not unusual that you may find yourself avoiding therapy. It is important to share these concerns with your therapist so that you can work together in helping you and your partner to remain engaged.
There are a number of theoretical approaches that have been helpful in guiding individuals to a place that is warm, nurturing, supportive, and intimate. I have been influenced by therapies that allow me to develop an individualized approach that will be a good fit such as, Schema Therapy, Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT), Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), and Gottman.