August 23, 2012

Premarital Counseling

Premarital Counseling Premarital Pre marital

Each of you has a set of norms and rules that go with being in a committed relationship. I can guarantee that not all of them the same — although I hope that many are in alignment.

You each know and can name some of the rules (you probably don’t call them rules, either). Many of them are harder to name. Where do these rules come from? Your family growing up, society, cultural mores, and individual temperament and life experience.

It can be so surprising when your partner doesn’t react in the way that you expect him/her to! That’s because whatever you grew up with is normal (whether or not it was healthy), and as a couple, you have two sets of “normal.”

I love premarital counseling, since it gives you an opportunity to find out what your rules are, discuss them together, and create what you want in the your future.

Here’s a partial list of things to talk over and deeply understand with your partner to determine “Yours, Mine, or Ours:”

    • What does it mean to be a wife? From her perspective? From his?
    • What does it mean to be a husband? From his perspective? From hers?
    • What did you learn from your family about being a husband or wife?
    • Who is supposed to do what? (In the home/outside the home.)
    • How are decisions made?
    • What does money mean to each of you? Who is supposed to earn it? What will money be spent on? Will you each have “mad money” to spend on whatever you choose?
    • Will you have children? How many? Who takes care of children? How do you feel about a nanny?
    • What do your extended families mean to you? How much time do you spend with them?
    • Would you allow your parents to live with you? For how long? Under what circumstances?
    • What struggles have you seen in married couples? How might you handle those struggles with your own partner?
    • How do power issues show up between you? How will you address them?
    • What is allowed to be talked about?
    • What is not supposed to be talked about?
    • What does sex mean to each of you? How often are you “supposed” to have sex? How do you talk about what works and what does not work for you sexually?
    • What is foreplay? When does it happen? Who initiates sex?
    • When and where do you vacation?
    • How is faith a part of your lives? Is it?
    • How will you face personal and/or professional challenges?
    • Would you move with your partner’s job?
    • How do you balance work/home life?
    • How do you keep devices from coming between you?
    • Do you have anxiety? What helps with it? What makes it worse?
    • How will you fit exercise and self-care in with a busy life?
    • Would you care for your aging parents? How much of your resources would you use for that?
    • Who in your life has died? How was that?
    • What are you excited about in getting married?
    • What are you afraid of in getting married?
    • How will you avoid the mistakes you saw your parents make?
    • How will you resolve fights?
    • How will you handle miscarriage?
    • What skills do you need for this lifelong journey? Do you have them?
    • . . . And so forth

Pre-Marital, Premarital, Pre MaritalAll of these topics and more are opportunities to build intimacy and connection in your relationship. Expect that your views will differ some, and allow yourselves to be playful with the process.