Premarital Counseling: Answer the Questions No One Thinks to Ask
If you are engaged or otherwise planning for marriage, it is normal to feel a bit unprepared for the changes, and challenges, your new life will bring. While marriage can be exciting and romantic, it can also feel scary and incredibly difficult at times—and far too many couples enter marriage without properly planning for the future.
While it is impossible to prepare for every single bump your marriage may encounter, it is crucial to spend time during your courtship and engagement truly getting to know one another, and preparing for life’s anticipated changes and struggles. As you prepare to merge your two separate lives into one, both parties should be asking all the essential questions—and in turn, hopefully receiving all the essential answers.
As you prepare for your marriage, consider the benefits premarital counseling may have in helping you and your partner understand one another’s perspective, and find common ground.
How Do I Know Where to Start?
For many couples, entering marriage unprepared happens accidentally. Two people who have the best of intentions simply may be unaware that essential parts of their relationship’s future are cloudy and unknown. While life will undoubtedly throw a plethora of curveballs at every marriage, it is possible to establish a strong foundation by knowing where to start, and what questions to ask.
There are hundreds, potentially thousands, of questions partners in a relationship should ask one another and discuss, before deciding that a long-term life together is the best course of action. While it is unlikely that you and your fiancée will ever learn the answer to every single question, premarital counseling can provide the two of you with an opportunity to discuss many of them. If you feel lost and unsure of even how to approach important premarital questions, meeting with a therapist is a good first step.
What types of questions should I think to ask?
Many factors—including how long you have known each other and the length of your engagement—can influence how many remaining “important conversations” you and your partner ideally need to have before marriage. It may be helpful to complete a “question inventory” with your partner and with your counselor.
As you meet together, consider asking your spouse-to-be the following types of questions:
- Do you want children? How many, and how soon into our marriage? Would you be open to adoption, if we struggle with infertility, or are otherwise unable to get pregnant? How do we plan to raise our children?
- Do we plan to both work full-time? Part-time? Who will be the primary breadwinner? What is our action plan in the case of unemployment?
- Where do you hope to live? Does a certain region of the country appeal to you more? Is it important to you to live close to immediate and extended family?
- How important is sex to you in our marriage? How can we ensure we always feel safe talking about sex, and bringing up concerns to one another?
- How will we handle the finances in our marriage? Will we have shared bank accounts? Do you have any preexisting debt or financial burdens that I am not already aware of?
- How is your current physical and mental health? Are you currently taking medications? Am I aware of all relevant information regarding your health?
- What are your goals for this marriage? For your life in general? Where do you see yourself, and us, in five years? Thirty years?
How do we move forward?
As you can see, there is nearly no limit to the questions to-be spouses can, and should, be asking each other. As you work with your partner and your premarital counseling team, it is important to remember your overall objective. Your partner should not feel as though you are ruthlessly interrogating them; rather, the two of you must work together toward transparency, honesty, and establishing an open line of communication that can follow you into your marriage.
An engagement that begins on solid, steady ground is much more likely to develop into a marriage that will remain truthful, trusting, and loving.
If you are looking to book a Pre-marriage Counseling appointment or have questions, feel free to contact me.
Learn more about me here: Jennifer Chappell Marsh, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist #53559.