It's normal for couples to become overly enmeshed when they first connect and are first marriage. And it's equally as normal for couples as individuals to stretch their wings and re-explore their individuality after they are married. The pain of this stretching is normal and something couples can be prepared for if they understand how the brain bonds and what it needs to stay bonded to one person.
Learning about this predictive pattern is how smart couples prepare themselves to hold on to this wonderfully connected feeling you have right now. Remember, premarital therapy is all about prevention so you don't need a cure.
3. Sex. Couples often get very blind-sided when predictable changes to their sex life happen. Kids, stress, over-enmeshment all can lead to a slowing down of one's sex life. Couples are often left with the feeling that there is something very, very wrong here when things slow down or even change course.
The truth is that changes are normal. Sex drives and interest ebb and flow and with the awareness that things like this will happen, you can ensure that you have a plan for how to talk about these changes so they don't leave you questioning the marriage. It is amazing to me how many couples not only have sexless marriages but touch-less marriages. With a little education you can prevent this from happen to you.
4. Goals. Most of us know how to set goals and achieve great things — getting a job, getting into graduate school, etc. But we forget that this same skill has to be applied to our marriages. Smart marriages are prepared for what changes will come to your relationship in two years, five years and 20 years.
I am not talking about financial goals, although these are very important. I am talking about how you want to feel in your marriage, and what you want it to provide for you. Most couples also need to renegotiate their goals with their spouse every few years.
Problems arise when couples don't renegotiate, when they hold onto their old dreams and goals when circumstances have changed. Resentments build up, arguments turn nasty and a chasm appears in the marriage. Couples come to see me when they are in distress and saying, "I never signed up for this." By learning that it's both normal for things to change and how to adjust to these changes, your marriage can flow more easily with whatever life brings you both good and bad.
5. Wedding Day. Weddings are highly emotional affairs for everyone involved. You need to make room for your own emotions to run on high as well as for your guests. Weddings have an uncanny way of bringing lots of feeling to the table. "Marriage Counseling Is Not The Kiss Of Death"
For your guests, it's impossible to watch the happy couple walk down the aisle and not think about their own feelings. For the unhappily married couple who are guests at the wedding, questions of "what happened?" and "why?" rise to the surface. For the single people in your crowd, the questions swirl around when love will come their way. Add an open bar and weddings can be an emotional minefield for everyone attending.
As a bride and groom-to-be, it's important that you're prepared for the craziness brought on by your special day so it doesn't interfere with your happiness. Creating a wedding day plan is one way to define how you want your day to go so all of the unpredictable (yet oh-so predictable) events are handled easily and without too much interference.
Premarital counseling is like getting preventative medicine for your relationship. It is a chance for you to explore what breaks couples up and get the best tips, tools and advice so you don't have to walk that rocky road.
A bit about me: As a couple's counselor with over 12 years of experience, I walk my couples through each of these areas so that they are prepared for their wedding and their marriage. If you’re looking for the tools to prepare you for your new role as a spouse, I would love to help you. Remember that marriage will change you both; the key is to not let a marriage ruin an otherwise happy relationship!