Why Try Premarital Therapy?
By Natalie Underway, LMFT
Many hear the term “couples therapy” and imagine a last ditch effort designed for couples in major distress. However, many couples also choose to engage in premarital therapy, a proactive tool providing opportunity to develop positive communication, conflict resolution, and trust between partners.
“Engaging in couples therapy this early on must be a sign we’re in trouble. Is our relationship destined for failure?”
Quite the opposite! Couples that engage in premarital therapy have a shared value of proactively working through issues and building upon strengths. Therapists are not focused on unearthing negative traits that forecast a “bad relationship”; rather, they take a preventative approach, honing resources and positive qualities the couple share. Therapy also provides an opportunity to identify potential future stressors that may arise so partners can talk openly and honestly, setting reasonable and shared expectations for one another.
“We’ve been getting along pretty well— will talking about possible issues cause more conflict?”
A main component of couples therapy is developing a shared language for talking about difficult topics, and having a safe space to do so. Conflict throughout the course of a relationship is inevitable, and the goal is not to avoid, but to find a way to do so constructively and respectfully.
While some of the topics covered may be challenging or evoke strong emotions, the therapist works to provide additional support, assisting in clarifying any miscommunications and offering feedback. Building a relationship with a therapist also provides a space couples can re-visit and utilize in the future, should they want a “tune up” or extra support when a new issue arises.
How does it work?
Premarital therapy can be as structured or free-flowing as the couple and therapist see fit. The therapist and clients will collectively determine goals and specific topics to focus on such as:
-Building positive communication & conflict resolution skills
-Exploring impact of families of origin, culture, and values on relationship
-Financial and family planning
-Spiritual & religious beliefs
-Understanding one another’s “love language”
-Sex and intimacy
-Creating individual and shared goals
Interested in beginning premarital therapy? Contact us today!