Finding the Right counselor
One of the most important things couples can do is prepare for marriage counseling. When choosing your marriage counselor, you must choose someone you both trust to do your counseling. This means finding someone you both respect enough to perform your ceremony and lead, instruct, and counsel you in the right direction. This is so important and a prerequisite to letting you know you are ready for the next step: listening and following someone’s lead. It’s best if this person is someone you both look to as a strong example of faith, compassion, generosity, and patience.
Prepare for Marriage Counseling: Getting Started
It’s also helpful if you commit to continuing counseling as a regular practice after your wedding. Keep this in mind when you first choose someone. Don’t think of this as someone who will endorse your wedding and stop there. Think of this, if possible, as someone you will work with to continue supporting you after you are married. When you think of it this way,
Find your counselor before you do almost everything else. I would align this with finding your venue regarding how soon you should consider it. In other words, it’s not a good practice to do most of your wedding planning and then think it’s time to find someone to perform your ceremony. It’s a priority and will help in ways you may not realize.
A good wedding counselor with experience performing weddings and counseling also has experience in planning. Not only is there a good chance that they have experience with being married, but they have learned more than may be apparent about the wedding planning process. They are not a professional wedding planner per se, but they know a thing or two about how this works.
Another critical step to prepare for marriage counseling before you begin your sessions together is to think about boundaries that are important to you. Boundaries, limits, and expectations are present in just about any relationship, but especially in a marriage, whether we see them or not or are aware of them at any particular time. Getting a head start on what boundaries are important to you will make your conversation in counseling more fruitful.
Be ready to explain what it means when a boundary is crossed, precisely what that means, and how it makes you feel. Furthermore, it expresses how you can recover and resolve from having your boundaries crossed. You don’t have to start meaningful conversations when you start with counseling. This is an excellent example of a topic that you can discuss with your spouse before your session and be prepared to further the discussion together in counseling.
One of the skills we must learn to develop in marriage is listening. This is not always physically listening but also sometimes means understanding the situation and what our spouse is experiencing. And yes, it takes getting to know them on a deeper level. But once we do, things like realizing what it looks like when they’re thirsty or upset or tired, how can we respond to show them support?
Listening is far and away one of the most important things we can learn to do in marriage, and it’s certainly something that needs to be learned for our spouse in particular. We can’t imagine learning to listen based on someone else’s personality and applying that to our spouse. Of course, that would be a bad idea, especially from a previous relationship.
No, one of the beautiful things about relationships, especially marriage, is that we are still getting to know our spouses for the rest of our lives and marriages. It takes attention, care, patience, and putting aside our plans to be present enough to hear what is happening before our eyes.
Be Prepared for New Topics
Another practice that will be helpful to prepare for marriage counseling is to discuss and be ready to discuss new topics in your relationship. Talking about new topics does several things. It helps to spice up your conversation. As we covered in the previous section, you will learn something about your spouse that you likely never knew. This will help to keep things exciting and not mundane. This might take some work, especially if you have been in a relationship with someone for a long time.
You think you know everything about them. You think that you’ve been on every date possible. You think you know their opinions, their background, their ideas. Yes, you do. But as we continue to live, we encounter new things. We have new dreams, new aspirations, and goals. And every once in a while, we need to get to know one another again. Take some time to think about those things that you never discussed or that you know is different since the last time you talked it over with your spouse. You will be pleasantly surprised.