What was your first thought about doing premarital counseling?
G: I always thought of premarital counseling as something of the norm to do if you were getting married. Yet I have found out a lot of people don't even think about doing this. I always had a positive outlook on it and looked forward to it being something that would benefit both of us and give us a new perspective.
A: I was excited! A lot of our friends who married before us went through premarital counseling and found it to be helpful.
What was your biggest fear going into it?
G: My biggest fear was if it would be awkward or non-beneficial for us. Like there would be a lot of silence and pauses from the counselor and not much discussion on serious matters.
A: I wouldn't say I had any fears going into counseling, however, I felt hesitant to discuss really personal things about our relationship with someone we've never met.
What do you think your biggest couple issue was when you started?
G: The biggest couple's issue was insecurities and fighting habits.
A: I would say our biggest issue when starting was our differences in spending habits and wondering how we are going to blend together our finances.
What surprised you each about couples counseling?
G: What surprised me the most was the guidance given for handling each other's love languages and learning that there are things you have to do in every emotion your partner faces that wouldn't necessarily be what you're needing if you were going through that exact emotion.
A: It surprised me to feel so connected to our counselor. We went through a program at our church where we did not choose who would be mentoring us. Our counselor was open to sharing about her marriage which was helpful to allow us to share about our relationship. Our counselor ended up marrying us!
What was the biggest benefit of couples counseling?
G: Having a third party there to moderate your issues/stresses not only with each other but with friends/family into the mix of beginning marriage was extremely helpful and mentally calming. The counselor made us feel valid for what we were feeling and confident in areas where we needed to stand up for ourselves because this is about 'us' first and not focused on what other people want of us.
A: Learning how to empathize more: really trying to see through the other's perspective as it can be so easy to fall into your own and have blinders on.
What skill has stuck with you the most?
G: Thinking of what your partner needs at the moment over what you might need. I've learned that sometimes what I would like to hear or see when I'm going through a funk is not what my partner is needing at all.
A: Creating goals for your relationship together. It is helpful to see on paper what you both are working towards in order to ensure a healthy relationship.
Would you do it again?
G: Yes, I would do it again. Already wanting to schedule a new session for post-marriage seasons of life.
A: Absolutely. I am open to seeing a counselor once we have more years and experience under our belt to get into the grit of things if need be.
Any advice for couples considering counseling?
G: Think of all the times you think you're right and you're partner thinks you're wrong, but you ARE ACTUALLY right. Sometimes it takes a third party to open up your partner's eyes to things that they just don't see at the moment from you because couples adapt to each other over time. Having someone there to balance life and outlooks makes both people in the couple feel heard.
A: My advice would be to stay open-minded and be honest. Be honest be honest be honest. Your counselor is not there to place judgment but to help navigate your marriage.
*These stories are shared by friends and family with hopes to inspire your own pursuit of therapy. Please know that client information is required to be protected by HIPAA laws and you will never be asked to share your own information like this if we work together.*