Premarital Counseling in the Triangle and Beyond
So you have “survived” the dating stage and made it to the engagement stage of your relationship. You probably think if you made it this far, you are compatible and there is no room for improvement. You may be wrong. We sat down with Southern Bride and Groom’s Preferred Premarital Counseling Guru in the Raleigh/Durham area, Lori D’Elia MA, LMFT, CPC, Founder, D’Elia Family Solutions Counseling & Coaching, to discuss some of the reasons it is so important to get premarital counseling.
Is Premarital Counseling For Everyone?
There is a common misconception that premarital counseling is for the couples getting married by the church, or couples that are in trouble – but that isn’t the case!
“Premarital counseling is for everyone in a committed relationship with the intention of spending the rest of their lives together. Premarital work focuses on specific topics that couples should consider and be on the same page about (or at least preliminarily address) before walking down the aisle,” shares D’Elia, a Raleigh premarital counselor recommended by Southern Bride & Groom.
What Topics are Covered In Premarital Counseling?
Premarital work allows the couple to have a conversation without heightened emotion. Topics include finances, family planning, families of origin (in-law boundaries, individual upbringing), sex/intimacy, conflict resolution/communication, professional goals, trust and religion. The individuals can bring up anything that is important to them, and the counselor creates a space for them to have a preemptive conversation when they are not in crisis.
1) Finances- In premarital counseling, a hot topic is your current financial state vs what you see your future state to look like. This includes, budgeting, spending habits and how to communicate around finances.
2) Sex/intimacy– Present sex life vs. future sex life expectations can be hard to communicate. You’ll do this work, and learn tools to continue the conversations on your own in effective and sensitive ways.
3) Family Planning– A premarital counseling session can be a safe place to discuss what starting a family may look like for you. You can also talk about how many children and child rearing goals and vision.
4) Families of Origin– You’ll discuss each other’s upbringing and how it might play a role in the marriage.
5) Religious background– Spirituality often plays a role in your marital lives and lives of future children. This is one that is wise to discuss now!
6) Professions – In today’s world where you may find both members of the couple are working full time you will talk about professional futures and what that will look like for the marriage. If one will stop working or both continue to work and how that will impact potential child care. Professional status may also create a power imbalance within a marriage and that will also be addressed.
7) Trust- An open and honest discussion on the topic of trust in a marriage is crucial. It is important for both of you to understand that trust is really the foundation that the marriage is built upon.
8) Communication/Conflict Resolution– A premarital counselor will give you effective communication techniques. Raleigh premarital counselor Lori D’Elia specifically helps explore and how each partner may communicate differently.
If one or both members of the couple have been previously married before and have children, the counselor will address what “baggage” or unresolved issues from the previous marriage may present themselves in their current relationship. You’ll also address your blended family and what that will look like for the marriage.
Solutions in Premarital Counseling
There is a difference between having a strong opinion and having a hard line.
“I coach couples on not having hard lines because circumstances in your life may change. I will encourage them to have a strong opinion but not a hard line,” says Lori D’Elia, Raleigh premarital counselor. A common concern that comes along with hard lines in a marriage is forming a power struggle between the couple.
How to Approach Your Partner About Going to Premarital Counseling
“Educate yourself and your partner on what premarital counseling is. That it is having a conversation about your future and is intended to draw on the positives of marriage and not the negatives. It’s more of a marriage prep conversation and NOT couples therapy,” shared D’Elia.
There are so many different types of approaches for premarital counseling and it’s important to talk to your partner about what is right for you as a couple. Whether that be in a religious setting, online, group or one on one conversation — there is an atmosphere that is right for you!
The most important thing to remember is, “Couples do not come to premarital coaching to break up. The couples that come to premarital coaching typically know in their hearts that they are meant together,” says D’Elia.
Lori D’Elia MA, LMFT, CPC is the Founder of D’Elia Family Solutions Counseling & Coaching.