Everyone involved in constructing a building has to go by the same plans. If not, it can become a complete disaster. The same is true for a marriage. To be successful, you must have the same plans, or be on the same page.
Premarital counseling can help you to do exactly that. How?
During premarital counseling sessions you will be encouraged to discuss various topics related to marriage. Through these discussions, you can gain insight into your relationship dynamics and the possible problems you encounter. You’ll learn how to resolve conflicts and become better able to communicate well.
While seeking premarital counseling, what are some of the most important areas in which you should make sure that you’re both on the same page?
- Religion. Statistics show that if you have the same beliefs, you are more likely to make a success of your marriage. Usually, holding the same values means that you’re both guided by the same principles. If you have different beliefs, it’s important to discuss how this will affect your lives and the traditions you hold dear.
- Finances. It should be no surprise that money problems are the foremost reason for divorce. In a marriage, there cannot be any secrets when it comes to finances. Be completely honest with each other and put it all on the table. What is your financial situation? How much debt are you each in? What are your plans to pay it off? What is your monthly budget? Who will pay the bills? And what will you do when you have unexpected expenses? Be thorough and detailed when discussing these matters.
- Communication. Identifying the qualities we want in a marriage mate is often easy. It’s much harder to define our own qualities and determine whether they will contribute to a successful marriage or not. Communicating your needs and freely admitting your own shortcomings is an important step toward becoming a team. Of course, no two people agree on everything. What happens when you don’t agree? Are you able to discuss matters calmly? Overcoming a problem together presents an opportunity for growth. It can help you to establish an essential pattern of honest communication.
- Children and Parenting. In depth discussion about this matter is often overlooked, or never takes place at all. You definitely want to start sorting your expectations about family out before your first child is on the way. How many children would you like to have? When do you want to have children? Will one of you stop working to take care of them? What beliefs and values will shape how you raise your children? How will you discipline them? If you can’t have children, what will you do? Will you adopt? Not leaving this matter up to chance will help both of you avoid disappointments.
- Relationship with In-Laws. Agreement or disagreement on this particular topic can make or break a marriage. It is vital that you discuss any expectations among as a couple and with your family members. How can you balance showing honor and respect to each other’s parents and still remain a separate family? How involved do you want in-laws to be in your family life? How often do you want to visit them? Will you go on vacation with them? Are you willing to compromise to make both extended families happy?
Through it all, keep in mind, that when you discuss these topics openly and honestly during your premarital counseling session, you need to be prepared to hear some tough truths. Don’t take them personally. See them as constructive criticism and an opportunity to learn. Let them help you get on the same page and make a success of your marriage.
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