By Rory Scher, AMFT
A lot of details go into wedding planning. As the day draws near, weekends are spent checking off the to-do list of things that will make that day as perfect as possible. You can easily become consumed with booking the venue, picking the flowers, creating centerpieces, ordering the invitations, and the myriad of other tasks. The process of planning this big day is so all consuming that the most important part of all this—the quality of the relationship itself—can easily be forgotten.
When the vows are taken, the rings exchanged, the cake eaten, and the last song played, it will be just the two of you. Given the hours, money, and perhaps tears invested in the wedding, it’s important to give equal attention to the stability, reliability, and lasting connection of the relationship. Couples can easily become distracted by the many to-do’s of wedding planning and forget to invest in building effective communication and conflict resolution skills before they start their lives together.
Many couples have a difficulty time foreseeing some of the challenges that marriage can bring. Others believe that getting married will fix an issue of concern. That is a hope often held but never realized. And while getting advice from a parent, other couples, and friends can be helpful, it doesn’t compare to the guidance and feedback you could receive from an unbiased professional, one who can help you identify issues you may not have thought of or talked about and help you learn skills necessary to make your marriage last. Discussing issues in advance and taking a proactive stance will allow you to be better prepared for inevitable life transitions and adjust to differences as they arise. Couples can easily make the mistake of thinking they will figure things out as issues arise rather than taking advantage of the benefit of discussing inevitable situations in advance, when the potential for pain and hurt is far less.
The goal of premarital counseling is not to see if you and your partner are a match. It is to equip you and your fiancee with the information and tools you will need to truly make the best years ahead of you. No one takes a trip without first packing the necessary items, such as how to fight fairly, talk about sensitive issues, truly listen, and get your needs met in your relationship. Most important, learn how to pack for the long haul and learn how to keep your connection alive for many years to come.
The premarital counseling program offered at Life Counseling Institute consists of five sessions covering what to expect: topics such as kids, sex, and money; how to manage conflict and differences healthfully; and ways to continue to invest in your relationship throughout the coming times of change.
After you’ve booked the venue, ordered the dress, and sent out the invitations, don’t forget to prioritize the one part of wedding planning that can actually last the rest of your life.