By Piyali Syam, Google Author
Planning a wedding is a whirlwind. You’ve booked the venue, sent out all the invitations, trimmed the guest list, and coordinated the entertainment, food, and photography. In the midst of all the commotion, it’s easy to get caught up in the logistics and the excitement of your special day. However – have you thought about how you will prepare for the life that comes after?
Marriage is the commitment of a lifetime, and with half of all marriages ending in divorce, it’s natural to be thinking about your and your partner’s future together. Premarital counseling can significantly reduce the chances of marriages ending in divorce and is an excellent option for couples who might have some doubts about their impending union, or for couples who simply want to commit to making their marriage the strongest it can be.
This process may require you and your spouse-to-be to ask some tough questions and face potentially uncomfortable truths about yourselves and each other. Nonetheless, it’s an effective means of laying some powerful groundwork for the rest of your lives together.
Invest some time and energy before the wedding, and you’ll be prepared to enter matrimony feeling clear, strong and as ready as you can be!
Question 1: How do we approach conflict?
No matter how perfect you think you and your partner are for each other, conflicts are inevitable. Still, the good news is that while disagreements are unavoidable, you can learn to tackle these issues peacefully and productively. The manner in which you resolve these conflicts are more important than the conflicts themselves.
With your therapist, you may find that you both have your own, differing approaches to tackling conflict – and this can be a problem in itself. For example, one partner may tend to be very vocal, while the other withdraws, leading to frustration on both sides. Understanding your individual reactions to conflict and how this affects the other person is a key step to achieving a harmonious outcome!
Question 2: How will we resolve conflicts?
Premarital counseling can help you identify problem areas where you and your partner may have clashed in the past. Working with your therapist, you’ll learn positive, healthy conflict resolution strategies for any possible “pain points” that arise.
By learning how to cultivate positive communication skills, you can avoid falling into a damaging rut of repetitive arguments that may ultimately cause problems.
Question 3: What are our values? How will they work together?
Compatibility is about more than chemistry or personality. When you spend the rest of your life with someone, you must understand and accept the values that you each hold dear.
Are your values in sync or at odds? Do you have similar views on matters such as family, religion and spirituality, intimacy and sex, communication, careers, and romance? How do you want to raise your children?
You might think that you have already covered all this ground – after all, you’ve decided to marry this person! However, these are crucial, weighty questions which can often fall by the wayside in all the excitement of engagement and wedding planning! It’s best to identify in advance what differences there may be, if any – and tackle them now, before they have a chance to snowball into resentment, however many years down the line!
Question 4: What are our long-term goals for ourselves and for our marriage?
Thinking about the future now will save you headache and heartache in the long run. When you enter a marriage, you become part of a team. Therefore, your goals are also your partner’s goals, and you must be willing to work together.
Now is the time to have conversations about the big issues. Do you want children? Where would you ultimately like to settle? Will one of you have to give up career aspirations in order to take care of your family, or can you afford childcare? Will you be able to retire at the same time? When would you like to buy a house?
As uncomfortable as they may be to discuss, finances are an essential part of these conversations. Money is a fact of life, especially in a marriage where your bank accounts will likely be shared. Setting realistic goals at the outset of your marriage can help you manage your expectations down the road, and give you the tools to build a solid partnership.
Our experienced, compassionate therapists at Park Avenue Relationship Consultants are here to provide you and your partner with some of the highest quality premarital counseling in NYC. Call us 7 days a week on 212.289.0295 to arrange an initial consultation. We look forward to welcoming you!