When in Doubt, Talk it Out

Why the whole world needs pre-marriage counseling

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Did you ever meet a couple who went to pre-marriage counseling before the got married before? It took us long enough to realize that communication, i.e., talking things out is, by all means, the key to all closed doors, especially those that have to do with the people closest to us, like the guy/gal that you’re about to read your vows to. When we say “When in doubt, talk it out”, we aren’t talking about a bad or malicious kind of doubt or resentment, we’re talking about questioning uncertainties and curiosities. We’re human, we feel fear and we act upon it and that’s okay because this doesn’t take away from who we are. We all get cold feet, we all panic, and we all find it hard to talk about the things that matter most. That’s exactly what pre-marriage counseling is for. Would it hurt you to sign up for a session or two before tying the knot? Because we can certainly assure you that counseling is responsible for most of the relationships that you perceive as “working”, “functional”, and “healthy”.  

Get these over with:

You’re setting out on a new adventure and taking baby steps toward something that you’ve never experienced before. You’re trying to build a whole new life from the ground up and you need assistance. There’s no shame in that. You definitely have a lot on your mind, including topics that you should bring up at least once before the wedding and during your pre-marriage counseling:

1- Your expectations. What are your expectations of one another? Are you on the same page? Are your expectations ever met? Does your partner feel the same?

2- Money and financials. Even if you don’t care about that topic now, you will in the future. Money matters and it’s something that you MUST acknowledge and discuss. What standard of living do you expect? What are your basic needs? What are your trivial ones? Are you willing to compromise if faced with any setbacks?

3- Do you have any concerns about gender roles? Is a certain thought gnawing at your brain? Do you think about controlling or being controlled? How do you deal with that? Is there a common ground where you can both meet and set your rules? Who is the decision-maker in the case of disagreement or the need to make a decision? Is it one of you? Is it the two of you?

4- Sex and intimacy. Have you talked about it? If not, you better start now. The therapist will ease you into that conversation and identify at least the main points that you should agree or work on.

5- Having kids. Where do both of you stand on that topic? Do you want to have kids? Is it now, later, or never? What about raising them? What do you want to teach them? What would you do if your partner tried to impose his/her own views on your kids?

Photo by: Serenity Psychology center

 

Set your goals:

It’s not a competition or a bet, but it is a challenge and a hard one at that. That’s why it’s always better to look ahead and try to see the bigger picture before getting involved, especially when there are two different individuals about to share almost the same everything. Set some goals for yourselves:

1- What are your own relationship goals? Do you have a specific image in mind? Describe it to your partner and listen to what the counselor has to say about that idea or future prediction. 

2- Your life goals, values, beliefs, and priorities. Talk about the things that matter most to you, the things that you won’t do without, the things that your partner must accept. 

Photo from: The Re Relation Retreat

See more: 5 Types of Couples According to Scientific Research

The Know-hows:

It’s never too late to ask questions about the obvious or the apparent. Questions are going to keep coming up and at some point, you’re going to have to stop trying to dodge them:

1- How to deal with insecurities. Could they affect your marriage in the long run?

2- How to deal with routine and what if you got bored? 

3- How to solve problems and hold healthy arguments. Is sleeping on it ever a good idea?

4- How to simplify problems and place one’s finger on the real core issue. 

5- How to handle anger and deal with new emotions. 

6- How to communicate effectively.

 

Share, care, and declare:

Good listeners are patient, tolerant, and attentive. They know that listening to other people talk isn’t about waiting to respond but is actually about hearing someone else out and trying to understand where they’re coming from. Pre-marriage counseling can pave the way for that by carrying out the following:

1- Exploring both of your most important ideas and pictures of the future and your definitions of different things in life.

2- Sharing your histories and backgrounds. 

3- Talking about your families, your parental issues (You know exactly what I mean), and how was it like growing up in your family.

4- Communicating what you don’t like about each other and adopting the best ways to deal with these inconveniences. 

5- Understanding yourself, the kind of relationship you’re in, your insecurities, and your needs. 

6- Having someone to talk to, someone whose perspective is entirely objective. Someone you can pour your heart out to. 

Photo from: Inside-out Counseling Center

Did you ever meet a couple who went to pre-marriage counseling before the got married before? It took us long enough to realize that communication, i.e., talking things out is, by all means, the key to all closed doors, especially those that have to do with the people closest to us, like the guy/gal that you’re about to read your vows to. When we say “When in doubt, talk it out”, we aren’t talking about a bad or malicious kind of doubt or resentment, we’re talking about questioning uncertainties and curiosities. We’re human, we feel fear and we act upon it and that’s okay because this doesn’t take away from who we are. We all get cold feet, we all panic, and we all find it hard to talk about the things that matter most. That’s exactly what pre-marriage counseling is for. Would it hurt you to sign up for a session or two before tying the knot? Because we can certainly assure you that counseling is responsible for most of the relationships that you perceive as “working”, “functional”, and “healthy”.  

Get these over with:

You’re setting out on a new adventure and taking baby steps toward something that you’ve never experienced before. You’re trying to build a whole new life from the ground up and you need assistance. There’s no shame in that. You definitely have a lot on your mind, including topics that you should bring up at least once before the wedding and during your pre-marriage counseling:

 

1- Your expectations. What are your expectations of one another? Are you on the same page? Are your expectations ever met? Does your partner feel the same?

2- Money and financials. Even if you don’t care about that topic now, you will in the future. Money matters and it’s something that you MUST acknowledge and discuss. What standard of living do you expect? What are your basic needs? What are your trivial ones? Are you willing to compromise if faced with any setbacks?



3- Do you have any concerns about gender roles? Is a certain thought gnawing at your brain? Do you think about controlling or being controlled? How do you deal with that? Is there a common ground where you can both meet and set your rules? Who is the decision-maker in the case of disagreement or the need to make a decision? Is it one of you? Is it the two of you?

4- Sex and intimacy. Have you talked about it? If not, you better start now. The therapist will ease you into that conversation and identify at least the main points that you should agree or work on.

5- Having kids. Where do both of you stand on that topic? Do you want to have kids? Is it now, later, or never? What about raising them? What do you want to teach them? What would you do if your partner tried to impose his/her own views on your kids?

Photo by: Serenity Psychology center

 

Set your goals:

It’s not a competition or a bet, but it is a challenge and a hard one at that. That’s why it’s always better to look ahead and try to see the bigger picture before getting involved, especially when there are two different individuals about to share almost the same everything. Set some goals for yourselves:

 

1- What are your own relationship goals? Do you have a specific image in mind? Describe it to your partner and listen to what the counselor has to say about that idea or future prediction. 

2- Your life goals, values, beliefs, and priorities. Talk about the things that matter most to you, the things that you won’t do without, the things that your partner must accept. 

Photo from: The Re Relation Retreat

 

The Know-hows:

It’s never too late to ask questions about the obvious or the apparent. Questions are going to keep coming up and at some point, you’re going to have to stop trying to dodge them:



1- How to deal with insecurities. Could they affect your marriage in the long run?

2- How to deal with routine and what if you got bored? 

3- How to solve problems and hold healthy arguments. Is sleeping on it ever a good idea?

4- How to simplify problems and place one’s finger on the real core issue. 

5- How to handle anger and deal with new emotions. 

6- How to communicate effectively.

 

Share, care, and declare:

Good listeners are patient, tolerant, and attentive. They know that listening to other people talk isn’t about waiting to respond but is actually about hearing someone else out and trying to understand where they’re coming from. Pre-marriage counseling can pave the way for that by carrying out the following:

 

1- Exploring both of your most important ideas and pictures of the future and your definitions of different things in life.

2- Sharing your histories and backgrounds. 

3- 3- Talking about your families, your parental issues (You know exactly what I mean), and how was it like growing up in your family.

4- Communicating what you don’t like about each other and adopting the best ways to deal with these inconveniences. 

5- Understanding yourself, the kind of relationship you’re in, your insecurities, and your needs. 

6- Having someone to talk to, someone whose perspective is entirely objective. Someone you can pour your heart out to.