INDIANAPOLIS PREMARITAL COUNSELING - F.A.Q's
Understanding & Prevention


 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS (FAQ's)

 

QUESTION - What is Premarital Counseling?
ANSWER - Premarital Counseling, also known as Pre Marriage Therapy, addresses the normal issues and challenges that all couples will face in the course of their marriage. Problems can intrude more easily than most couples realize, and without a solid foundation it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the stress and pressures of today's typically complex marriages and lifestyles.

Premarital Counseling helps educate engaged couples and newlyweds in the skills, habits, attitudes, and enrichment techniques that research shows leads to happy, healthy, enduring marriages. It helps to fortify and enrich the foundation of a couple's relationship and assure the best possible start by strengthening their ability to communicate, resolve issues, understand differences and set goals.

 

QUESTION - Why should we consider Premarital Counseling?
ANSWER - Most couples spend more time and money planning their wedding than planning their marriage. Caught up in the excitement of getting married and belief in their relationship, many couples do not consider the potential stresses and difficulties that can lead to growing problems in their future life together.

The reality is that couples are facing more challenges and have fewer supports than ever. Divorce rates are at an all-time high. Half of all marriages end in divorce and only half of those that endure are truly happy in the long run. Most engaged couples assume that they won't be contributing to these statistics.

 

QUESTION - Is Premarital Counseling effective?
ANSWER - According to research on marriages, Premarital Counseling can reduce the risk of divorce by up to 30% and lead to a significantly happier, healthier marriage.

Premarital Counseling strives to strengthen relationships and prepare couples for future challenges and conflicts while they have fresh, positive energy. Research shows that there is a window of opportunity during the year before the wedding and the six months or so after, when couples get the optimum benefit from Premarital Counseling. Later, negative habits and relationship patterns may become established and much harder to resolve. Premarital Counseling functions as an immunization that boosts a couple's capacity to handle these potential stresses and difficulties.

 

QUESTION - Who should attend Premarital Counseling?
ANSWER - In Premarital Counseling both partners typically attend therapy sessions together. Therapy may include individual as well as joint sessions if there are personal issues or concerns that emerge during the course of counseling.

 

QUESTION - How long will Premarital Counseling take?
ANSWER - The specific treatment plan in Premarital Counseling depends on each unique situation. Pre Marriage Therapy doesn't need to be a long process, especially if the couple is starting out with a solid foundation and only needs some clarification and goal-setting. For couples with higher conflict or deeper issues, the process may take longer.

 

QUESTION - Is Premarital Counseling a sign of failure?
ANSWER - Some couples considering Premarital Counseling may feel they are somehow inviting problems or predicting failure if they seek therapy before they are even married.

In fact, these couples can take pride in the courage it takes to proactively address important aspects of their relationship before they become a problem. The value of prevention cannot be measured against the emotional and financial cost of the damage to a relationship and family when issues are not addressed early.

 

QUESTION - Should we still consider Premarital Counseling if we live together?
ANSWER - Some couples mistakenly believe that having lived together or known each other for a long time will prepare them for marriage. Surprisingly, research shows that cohabiting couples have no better chance at marriage success than others. Premarital Counseling can help to forge a strong and healthy foundation for any couple, no matter what their circumstances or how long they have been together.

 

QUESTION - What is the role of the Premarital Counselor?
ANSWER - The Premarital Therapist's role as guide, mediator and sometimes referee can effectively help couples to cope with emotions and conflict to prevent troubled relationships. A Premarital Counselor can facilitate understanding about the sources of conflict, developing skills to communicate openly and rationally, and learning to solve problems more effectively.

 

QUESTION - What specific issues does Premarital Counseling address?
ANSWER - As previously stated, Premarital Counseling addresses the normal issues and challenges that all couples will face some day. Couples seeking Premarital Counseling can strengthen the foundation to their relationship by targeting the following six key areas:

 

  • Strengthen Communication Skills - Being able to effectively listen, truly hear and validate the other's position is a skill that isn't necessarily a "given" for many people. Couples who communicate effectively through regular, quality conversations can better discuss and resolve issues when they arise. Healthy communication and listening are two of the most important foundational skills couples can learn.
  • Discuss Role Expectations - Many couples never really take the time to discuss expectations of who will be doing what in their marriage. This can apply to many areas of life, including: career, finances, chores, sexual intimacy, child-rearing and more. Having an open and honest discussion about what each expects from the other in a variety of areas leads to fewer surprises and misunderstandings later.
  • Learn Conflict Resolution Skills - The reality is that conflict, whether mild or serious, is an inherent part of all relationships. The problem is not conflict itself, but how it is handled. Premarital Counseling can teach healthy and effective ways to work through problems before they escalate, and to de-escalate conflict once it has started. Research shows that couples who resolve conflict well are more satisfied with their relationships and less likely to divorce.
  • Explore Spiritual Beliefs - For some this is not important, but for others it is a serious matter. Differing spiritual beliefs need not be a problem as long as couples discuss and reach an understanding of how they will function together spiritually in practice, beliefs, with children, etc.
  • Identify Problematic Family of Origin Issues - We learn so much of how to "be" from our parents, primary caregivers and other early influences. If one of the partners experienced a high conflict or unloving household, it can be helpful to explore how these issues might play out in the marriage. Couples who have an understanding of problematic patterns or issues carrying forward from childhood are usually better at avoiding or disrupting these learned behaviors.
  • Develop Personal, Couples & Family Goals - Couples need to take a look at how they would like their future to look, in the short-, medium- and long-term. This includes personal, relationship and family goals. There are many areas that can be explored and it can be a fun exercise to do together.

 

QUESTION - What characteristics of a healthy relationship are addressed in Premarital Counseling?
ANSWER - Research suggests seven relationship skills and knowledge areas that contribute to the success and endurance of marriage. All of these areas can be effectively addressed in Pre Marriage Therapy:

 

  • Compatibility
  • Expectations
  • Personalities & Families-of-Origin
  • Communication
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Intimacy & Sexuality
  • Long-term Goals

An Indianapolis premarital therapist can identify additional characteristics of a healthy relationship that can also be examined in Premarital Counseling:

  • Friendship - knowing each other's likes/dislikes; being comfortable around each other; positive regard for each other; regular shared experiences (e.g., dates, dinners, projects, etc.)
  • Personal Responsibility - accepting personal responsibility for one's contribution to creating conflict; validating each other's viewpoint; accepting each other' influence
  • Commitment - working towards reconciliation when there is a disconnect; holding a longer-term perspective for the relationship; a mutual desire to work toward building and maintaining a healthy relationship

These characteristics of a healthy relationship forge the foundation for a couple's future together. Couples need every advantage to succeed through the challenges placed on today's marriages, and a little financial and emotional investment can strengthen the relationship from the onset--prevention that has the potential for life-long benefits!

 


 

 

 

PLEASE CALL OUR INDIANAPOLIS PREMARITAL COUNSELING AND THERAPY OFFICE WITH ANY OTHER QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS.  DR. ERICKSON WILL GLADLY SPEAK WITH YOU PERSONALLY!

(317) 875-9555