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Pre-Marital Counseling

I know this has been discussed before, but it's been a while and since we have a lot of newer ladies that have joined the board (and since we just started our sessions), I thought this might be an interesting topic to bring up.

I'm sure most of you have figured out by my posts that I am very religious - I don't want to make this a post on religion, that just happens to be the route we are going.  Our church requires us to meet with the pastor who is marrying us 2-3 times.  They've just started using a new on-line assessment tool that the couple takes after the first meeting.  Our first meeting went really well and our pastor kept commenting how nice it was to meet with a couple that is so organized in their thoughts and ideas and who obviously have discussed all the important things...and who also admit we're human and make mistakes, we'll fight over silly things and we'll always be growing in our relationship.

We took the on-line assessment tool yesterday (takes about an hour each - FI did his while I was at a friend's house and I took mine while he was sleeping) - our pastor will print it up this weekend and we'll meet sometime next week to go over it.  FI & I discussed it after we had both finished taking it and were both impressed with it (although it used a lot of 'agree/disagree type answers and we both thought there should be a "sometimes agree/sometimes disagree" answer spot).  What really caught my attention was the statement given to us before we started the assessment.  It said " The assessment is designed to help you and your partner identify the strength and growth areas in your relationship, and to facilitate discussion.  It is not a pass or fail test, nor is it designed to predict your chances of marital success.

We're really looking forward to seeing our answers and being able to use this tool in the future.  To go along with this, one of my BM's and her husband gave us the Love Dare - Marriage Edition (has anyone seen the movie Fireproof?) - it's a year's worth of readings and devotions meant to be done as a couple - we've agreed that this will be a wonderful 5-15 minutes a day we can spend together.

Sorry, didn't mean for this to get so long.  I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on the subject.  I know not everyone does pre-marital counseling and I've heard girls talking about reading different books together.  I'd also love to hear what other religions do for this subject.  You don't have to be married or engaged to join in this conversation.  I'll check back in throughout the day to see what everyone has to say.

 
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Re: Pre-Marital Counseling

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    edited December 2011
    we will be doing pre-marital counseling through our church during our engagement.  we also have ordered a few workbooks to go through together and have signed up for financial classes together.  it sounds like you have a great program Angie!  we are about to start reading Save Your Marriage Before It Starts.
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    CASK85CASK85 member
    5 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    FI and I aren't particularly religious. We do not attend any church or pray or anything like that. I know that there are secular pre-marriage counseling options out there, but when I asked him if he thought we should do anything he didn't seem interested. So I"m not sure if we will or even what it would look like. 
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    edited December 2011
    We aren't to that point yet, but I'm sure we will go through pre-marital counseling when the time comes. I read the 5 love languages the other day and my BF is reading it now. It was a good one to read. I also just bought sheet music which is a sex book that my cousin (who is a youth pastor) suggested would be good.
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    Hazel_BHazel_B member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I haven't ever discussed the idea of pre-marriage counselling with my BF. Since we don't attend a church at all it wouldn't be required of us. That being said, personally, I would really like to do some sort of counselling.  I think it could be very insightful but I also think it sets a good precendence in a marriage.
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    edited December 2011
    FI and I will meet with our pastor several times during our engagement but not sure if we'll do anything else. I do think going through a workbook or a book could be helpful for bringing up issues to discuss we may not have thought of.
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    Married! :) 5/19/12 The Domesticals

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    edited December 2011
    For Catholics, pre-marriage conselling is a whole set of classes called pre-cana that we do with the priest and other couples as well .

    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_pre-marital-counseling?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:136Discussion:326eb2db-0594-4a8c-81e9-d8d6f4d8cca3Post:fc51388e-7a9e-48b3-864b-755c87329f9f">Re: Pre-Marital Counseling</a>:
    [QUOTE]we will be doing pre-marital counseling through our church during our engagement.  we also have ordered a few workbooks to go through together and <strong>have signed up for financial classes together</strong>.  it sounds like you have a great program Angie!  we are about to start reading Save Your Marriage Before It Starts.
    Posted by CocoBellaF[/QUOTE]

    That is such a great idea. What kind of classes are they and where did you find them?
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    edited December 2011
    FI and I did it.  Pre-Marital counseling at my church was quite intense. We went to meet with him 10 times, no joke. Each time it was about an hour and a half or so. We did that inventory thing that you talked about above, and then went over every part of it and lots of other things.  I thought it was really good for us. I really didn't like the pastor who did it tons though because he just did it a pretty bad way. He told us when we first sat down, "If I dont' think you two should get married, I'll tell you. Convince me  you should."  When he said that, I immediatly did not want to tell him much about us. I doubt many would. I felt like I was trying to convince him, not grow with Jeff through the experience. All in all, I guess we found some things that were helpful, but I really think the pastor should have went about it in a different way. Maybe some people wouldn't really change their answers if the person marrying them said that, but I know it sure did for me.

    EDIT: One thign that was helpful was the financial classes that the pastor had us go to. It was part of our counseling. We had to meet with a lady and go over all of our finances and such. That was pretty helpful.
    When you love someone, you can tell. When you're in love with someone, everyone else can tell.
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    edited December 2011
    The financial classes is a great idea - finances is something we've talked about since early on in our relationship.  We thought it was interesting that one of the questions asked us if we had talked about finances yet - that's really sad to think that a couple would get to the point of getting ready to walk down the aisle but haven't talked about the big stuff yet.
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    KatyRoseMKatyRoseM member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011

    We are doing this through our school.  I'm actually terrified, though I don't know why. We go to our first one tomorrow.  I'm so worried about it, I've had bad experiences with family counseling so maybe thats why, but its freaking me out.  I know its a good idea (and any students, your school probably provides it) but its still scary. 

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    edited December 2011

    Glad that you posted this because just last Sunday I asked our Pastor if he would do pre-maritial counseling. I'm gonna wait until we are engaged to set up any meetings but I think its a good idea that any couple should do. The bf isn't that excited but he definitely would prefer counseling with a pastor than secular bc he's religous.


    All of my friends that are catholic have taken pre-cana classes and thought they were really good so I'm hoping our experience is just as positive. If anyone else has any other books to read or exercises for couples to do let me know.

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    Beads921Beads921 member
    First Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I personally am all for pre-marital counselling, but it's not something BF and I have really discussed. We are not religious at all, so we'd have to find a social worker or marriage counsellor to go to. I like the idea of reading a book and going through a series of questions on your own time. It's something I'd actually like to do in the near-ish future, because while we've discussed a lot in 3.5 years, I'm sure we've missed some things. 
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    edited December 2011
    I'm more religious than BF -- I go to temple, but it's a LGBT temple (although it's open to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation and even religion). So I am what you'd call an "un"orthodox Jew. We may do some secular pre-marital counseling. We haven't talked about it.
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    Blue & WhiteBlue & White member
    First Anniversary First Comment 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    I think pre-marital counseling is really important, but I think I'm too shy to talk to someone ELSE about my relationship.  Go figure.

    We do talk together about a lot of the important stuff though - money, kids, family values, etc - and actually, we talk about these things with his and my family as well.  So maybe that's our form of "pre-marital counseling" - except it's "pre-engagement" for now.
    I guess, to tell you the truth, I've never had much of a desire to grow facial hair. I think I've managed to play quarterback just fine without a mustache. - Peyton
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    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_pre-marital-counseling?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:136Discussion:326eb2db-0594-4a8c-81e9-d8d6f4d8cca3Post:065f3000-10a0-4775-a0af-40c09bc35534">Re: Pre-Marital Counseling</a>:
    [QUOTE]We are doing this through our school.  I'm actually terrified, though I don't know why. We go to our first one tomorrow.  I'm so worried about it, I've had bad experiences with family counseling so maybe thats why, but its freaking me out.  I know its a good idea (and any students, your school probably provides it) but its still scary. 
    Posted by KatyRoseM[/QUOTE]

    I understand your feelings.  It's not that I was scared to go, but I was a little nervous - just not knowing exactly what to expect.  We just had such a great first meeting that I feel silly for even having felt nervous now.  I'm sure you'll do fine.  And that's grea that your school has this program.
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    calindicalindi member
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    We're not religious, but we're both in agreement that pre-marital counseling can only strengthen your relationship and bring out important issues that should be addressed.  I actually look forward to it, and I think he does, too.  We'll go to a therapist for this, or look into a retreat or classes of some sort.  I do believe the military has this sort of thing, which would be perfect as the military lifestyle is probably the biggest hurdle we'll have to overcome as newlyweds.

    I think financial counseling is a great thing for a majority of couples, and if I thought it would benefit us, I'd do it in a heartbeat.  Finances can cause more friction in a relationship than religion, simply because it's something many people don't have to deal with until they're already married.  The thing is, we've already completely merged our finances and have a 10-year financial plan based on his expected salary (mine would be almost entirely savings, while we live off his income).  We do plan on getting a financial planner once our savings grows to a certain point so that we know we're managing our money well for the future.

    I do think we've talked through the vast majority of the important issues to consider.  We've both spoken to therapists at various times in our lives, so we've learned the ability to communicate fairly well with each other.  We're never mean to each other when we're arguing, and we're pretty good overall at getting through sticky disagreements.  I'm proud of us!

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    Elle1036Elle1036 member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I want us to do a secular program if we can find a good one.  I know that we have some pretty big differences of opinion in some important subject areas (money, kids, religion) and I would like to hash all that out before we tie the knot.

    I will say, though, that I think our awareness of these issues is a good first step.
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    leia1979leia1979 member
    5 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    FI initially wasn't a fan of the idea of counseling. He wanted to know what we would get out of it.

    We originally met with one of the pastors from my childhood church. He requires couples do six sessions with any counselor certified by the state--while he encouraged Christian, he was okay with any so long as they're certified.

    Since we're now having FI's brother be the officiant, I'd still like to, but I'm not sure how to find one. One lady the pastor recommended actually offers a nice package, but she's also my mom's deacon, which seems weird. I'm sure she's bound by ethics and all, but it's just weird. Since we both have Kaiser, I thought about seeing if there's a family therapist we can meet with through them.
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    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_pre-marital-counseling?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:136Discussion:326eb2db-0594-4a8c-81e9-d8d6f4d8cca3Post:f1bc23b4-1cd1-4b00-9675-f84c1c9b27f4">Re: Pre-Marital Counseling</a>:
    [QUOTE]I will say, though, that I think our awareness of these issues is a good first step.
    Posted by Elle1036[/QUOTE]

    That's what my pastor told us.  He said he's had couples tell him in the past that they never argue and they have a "perfect" relationship.  He said that's a big red flag in his book.  It's human nature to argue (as long as you're doing it right and resolving it in a healthy way, of course) and no one is perfect.  If you can admit you know what your 'problems' are, then you are on the right path.
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    jemmini6jemmini6 member
    5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment First Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    FI and I discussed the possibility because his job includes 'counseling' in their insurance package.  We haven't looked too much into whether 'pre-marital' counseling in particula is covered (which I find doubtful because it's not really a 'health' related type counseling) but it at least got us discussing the idea.

    We have discussed meeting with a financial advisor to help us make a plan for our financial future.  Specifically savings/retirement funds, but also daily expenses and what our best option would be for when we start having children, etc.
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    edited December 2011
    FI and I will definitely be doing premarital counseling, once we iron out the wedding stuff, that is.  I feel like FI and I have already discussed the majority of hot button issues and are on the same page, but I think counseling can only help.

    Also, I strongly believe that the reason my parents divorced and had such a horrific battle with each other was because they did not know each other well enough to get married.  If they had gone to premarital counseling, I doubt either of them would have gotten married.  Since one of my goals in life is to NEVER become my parents, I'll take any help I can get that will increase the odds of that goal being fulfilled.  
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    PaigeMcCPaigeMcC member
    Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    We talked about counselling once or twice but neither of us feel as if we need it.  I'm not saying we don't have our issues or trials  because everyone does, but we realize where our problems are and we work on them as they arise. 

    We also have a wonderful support system of older couples (my parents, his parents, his older sis & hubs) that we go to for advice from time to time.  We also chat with these people regularly about life and thus our relationship.  I feel like the advice and support that we get, and the discussions that come from these conversations are very similar to discussions and such we would get from counseling. 

    Andplusalso: We're perfect =P

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    HeartOverMindHeartOverMind member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011

    I'm a Christian and I think pre-marital counseling is important. In order for my pastor to do the ceremony, we have to go through pre-marital counseling through the church. I think it's a great tool and we would do it even if it wasn't required.

    At first, when I mentioned pre-martial counseling BF wasn't happy about it, but I voiced how important it was to me and now he's understanding.

    "Why does a girl have to be so silly to catch a husband?" ~~~Scarlett O'Hara Daisypath Anniversary tickers
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    calindicalindi member
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I also think it's key to have a couple who have made it work and are genuinely happy to be mentors for your relationship.  This can be a couple you know through church, work, family members.  It's someone you can talk to to sort of see if you're blowing an issue out of proportion.

    My parents and grandparents are the best relationship mentors I can imagine, and BF agrees (he goes to my grandparents, I go to my parents for advice).  He looooves when I go to my parents for advice, because my Mom usually takes his side and tells me to be nicer to him!  Haha, I love it.

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    Elle1036Elle1036 member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_pre-marital-counseling?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:136Discussion:326eb2db-0594-4a8c-81e9-d8d6f4d8cca3Post:0f15f9d4-bb11-46ec-8d6f-5b4203f55d53">Re: Pre-Marital Counseling</a>:
    [QUOTE]We talked about counselling once or twice but neither of us feel as if we need it.  I'm not saying we don't have our issues or trials  because everyone does, but we realize where our problems are and we work on them as they arise.  We also have a wonderful support system of older couples (my parents, his parents, his older sis & hubs) that we go to for advice from time to time.  We also chat with these people regularly about life and thus our relationship.  I feel like the advice and support that we get, and the discussions that come from these conversations are very similar to discussions and such we would get from counseling. <strong> Andplusalso: We're perfect =P</strong>
    Posted by PaigeMcC[/QUOTE]

    Come on now, Paige.  We all know there's only one perfect couple on this board.

    <img src="http://cdn.cl9.vanillaforums.com/downloaded/ver1.0/content/scripts/tinymce/plugins/emotions/images/smiley-wink.gif" border="0" alt="Wink" title="Wink" />
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    HeartOverMindHeartOverMind member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_pre-marital-counseling?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:136Discussion:326eb2db-0594-4a8c-81e9-d8d6f4d8cca3Post:ad056073-b976-4398-93eb-62c791ffda28">Re: Pre-Marital Counseling</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Pre-Marital Counseling : Come on now, Paige.  We all know there's only one perfect couple on this board.
    Posted by Elle1036[/QUOTE]

    DUH! It's me and my BF!
    Sorry, Paige!
    lol
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    "Why does a girl have to be so silly to catch a husband?" ~~~Scarlett O'Hara Daisypath Anniversary tickers
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    AudgiePodgeAudgiePodge member
    5 Love Its First Anniversary First Comment Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_pre-marital-counseling?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:136Discussion:326eb2db-0594-4a8c-81e9-d8d6f4d8cca3Post:ad056073-b976-4398-93eb-62c791ffda28">Re: Pre-Marital Counseling</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Pre-Marital Counseling : Come on now, Paige.  We all know there's only one perfect couple on this board.
    Posted by Elle1036[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>OH SNAP!

    </div>
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    heyimbrenheyimbren member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_pre-marital-counseling?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:136Discussion:326eb2db-0594-4a8c-81e9-d8d6f4d8cca3Post:ad056073-b976-4398-93eb-62c791ffda28">Re: Pre-Marital Counseling</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Pre-Marital Counseling : Come on now, Paige.  We all know there's only one perfect couple on this board.
    Posted by Elle1036[/QUOTE]

    Guyyyys, quit talking about me ;) you'll make me blush.

    Angie, do you mind if I ask what denomination church you attend?

    I like the idea of pre-marital counselling, BF does too. My church encourages couples to attend some sessions with one of our pastors so I'd do it for sure. I like the idea of a third-party observer helping us work out relationship issues. Although the idea of how personal some of that can be almost makes me nervous. Good thing I don't have to worry about it yet.
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    katanne9katanne9 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    That is great Angie!! I hope you find it really beneficial! We loved ours!! We are also both religious and did counseling with a couple from our church and also a few sessions with our Pastor. : )

    We also read a few books - Saving your Marriage Before it Starts, some Walter Trobisch and For Men Only/For Women Only. We also read Sheet Music (about intimacy) closer to the wedding.

    Please PM me if you want to know more. I hope you guys have a great experience!
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    sparkles88sparkles88 member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
    If being on The Knot/The Nest has taught me anything, it's that pre-marital counseling is a really good idea that many couples disregard. I think it teaches you a lot about your future spouse and gives people the opportunity to see potential problems before they snowball into even bigger issues after marriage. I think it's especially important to get counseling for financial issues before marriage. It seems like finances are one of, if not THE biggest reasons for arguments in a marriage.
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    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_pre-marital-counseling?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:136Discussion:326eb2db-0594-4a8c-81e9-d8d6f4d8cca3Post:4e6d14a3-caf5-42d4-b8f1-f9f9e6aa0524">Re: Pre-Marital Counseling</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Pre-Marital Counseling : Angie, do you mind if I ask what denomination church you attend?
    Posted by heyimbren[/QUOTE]

    Not at all - basically Protestant - it's Disciples of Christ.
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