As the tension mounted, they realized they needed to seek out counseling. "We were really committed to making it work," says Westfall. "It's unfortunate that you have to get to that pain point before you realize [it]. Premarital counseling is like taking your vitamins." Premarital Education After Marriage? You Bet.
So what exactly do couples stand to gain from premarital counseling?
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Whether secular or religious, counselors, educators and pastors alike typically cover much of the same ground: finances, sex, communication, parenting and in-law issues, to name a few. These are the things a marital foundation is made of, and one area of weakness can cause an entire marriage to crumble.
Dustin Riechmann, a marriage educator and YourTango Expert, says that the goal "is for [my clients] to gain a better understanding about a key aspect of their relationship and for them to take action to improve their situation." He adds, "I'm a big proponent of being proactive, especially when it comes to our most important relationships. Depending on the topic at hand, this could mean having a meaningful conversation about family planning options, creating a financial budget or planning a regular date night. I instruct them on the importance of a critical area and then encourage them to take steps toward improving those aspects of their life."
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Melodie Tucker, another marriage educator and YourTango Expert, points out that most partners have different expectations for marriage. "People assume that what they need is what the other person needs, and that's just not true." She tries to teach couples how to ask for what they need, and even what they want.