A Lesson in Pre-Marital Counseling
There are approximately 1 million things to do before you get married. Obviously, a lot of people are super excited for the wedding. However, we should also be super focused on the marriage.
One thing that is incredibly important to me is mental health. Sometimes I won't take the best care of myself physically, but I spend a ton of time protecting my space and my peace. Before I ever met Ean, my fiance, I always told myself that I would never get married without pre-marital counseling. I know this may not be for everyone, but for those who mentioned they were curious about this process, read on!
So how do you find a pre-marital counselor anyway? I found ours the way that I've always found therapists in my area (other than when I'm employed by someone who has an EAP). I used Psychology Today. Pre-marital counselors are rarely, if ever, covered by your insurance so this is something that we also had to make sure that we budgeted for.
On this website, you are able to narrow down the type of counselor you're looking for. You are able to pick specialists, gender, whether they're religious or not, what language they speak, etc. Neither of us are religious, but we had no real gender preference. From there, we just found whose profile resonated the most with us. Our counselor specializes in marriage and family counseling. She hosts boot camps and even has guides for what we should expect which is great for us. We both thrive on structure & it's great to have data to go on.
What do you talk about? Literally everything. If you aren’t prepared to lay it all on the table… don’t waste your money. We’ve had some really hard and important conversations since we started this process a few months ago. Our therapist in particular narrows down on systems from a test she had us take. I’ll get into it more later, but it’s a good way to get things off your chest that you couldn’t do otherwise.
What do they cost? Our therapist is $125 per 90 minute session. We go every other week right after work and we’ll “graduate” in two more sessions. We spaced it with our pay dates, but again, it was definitely something that we had to budget for because it was important to us.
What is a typical session like? During our first session she just took our history. We talked about our relationship and what we saw was our biggest stressor. From there, she had us go home and complete a 400 question quiz. We weren’t allowed to talk about the questions or our answers and then when we went in we went through the pages one by one. They covered our sex life (YEEK), our families, how we plan to eventually (in a very long, long time) parent, our religious affiliations, our money plans, etc. She emphasized that we weren’t trying to “win” anything and that we just were checking compatibility and we would go over what areas we could improve on.
A pleasant surprise was that our counselor married into a Jewish family. She had a unique perspective and was able to bond with Ean easily. He’s never been to a therapist before (where I am a professional that’s done 12~ years) so it was important that he feel comfortable and that has been great.
Have any other questions? I’d love to answer them for you! We’ve had a really positive experience that has strengthened our relationship and made us both even more confident and excited to get married.