Premarital Counseling – New Perspective or Waste of Time?

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Some may be cringing at the title of this blog! I can hear it now:

“Mallory, how could you say that something like premarital counseling is a waste of time?!?!”

“Don’t you want people to be prepared for marriage?”

“Aren’t you a therapist? How can you say that?”

Slow down one second and hear me out. This seems to be the season of weddings and love! All around me are bridal expos, bridal showers, commercials about that perfect diamond, and girls squealing with excitement about their friends becoming engaged. I am just as excited as the next person, and you can bet that I will be at 4 weddings in the next few months with tissue in my hand and a smile on my face!

As someone who has led premarital therapy, attended premarital education programs, and who truly believes in love that can last a life time, I am not trying to be cynical. I just want to put a disclaimer on premarital counseling and premarital relationship education programs.

Consumer Beware: Just because you sit in a course for relationship education does not mean that you have a “Golden Ticket” to marriage. If you treat premarital counseling as just another check on the checklist (i.e. got the caterer – check, got the dj – check, went to counseling – check), you are doing a real disservice to your relationship.

I think the truth is that premarital education can give you the right mindset and tools for marriage….IF YOU WANT IT! When premarital counseling is effective – which it is for many – it is because the couple comes ready to be real and to be purposeful. For me, I think premarital education can even prove to be a sigh of relief, because you learn that you do not have to have all the answers to love, communication, friendship, sex, in-laws, money matters, the impact of children on the relationship, etc., etc. now.

Rather, the emphasis is on engaging (and staying engaged!) in the relationship and moving down a new path together. Fortunately, skills can be learned throughout the relationship to address specific situations that will undoubtedly arise.

That’s the point! Healthy and stable relationships are made up of thoughtful choices and intentional actions. We get to decide – everyday and every minute – about choices that strengthen or strain the relationship.

So, decide to pay attention in those premarital classes; decide to be purposeful in your relationship; and, start before the “I do’s” are uttered.

Mallory Lucier, MS

Alabama Community Healthy Marriage Initiative

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One Response to “Premarital Counseling – New Perspective or Waste of Time?”

  1. Allan Hensel Says:

    there is nothing in the world I enjoy more than learning. In fact, i’d rather be learning now!

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