After getting engaged, the planning begins. A couple has to set a date, find a venue and caterer, pick the perfect dress and tuxedo, and finalize the bridal party. With all the fun and planning that comes with a wedding, premarital counseling can sometimes be pushed aside.

However, premarital counseling is something each couple should seriously consider. Mayo Clinic suggests that this type of counseling can help ensure that you and your partner have a strong, healthy relationship; it can also help you identify weaknesses that could become a problem during marriage. Premarital counseling can help build a solid foundation for a stable and satisfying marriage.

There are a few different ways to go about premarital counseling. Here are the three most common:

With your religious officiant. Most houses of worship require engaged couples to participate in counseling sessions before they’ll marry you. Everyone’s premarital counseling will be different, depending on what religion the couple practices. Regardless of your religion, your officiant’s plan will be to help you and your partner build a solid foundation for your marriage.

Most officiants follow a plan or a model in order to help a couple through premarital counseling. The officiant will be concerned about your relationship with your fiancé, but will also be concerned about your relationship with your religion.

On your own. Some couples choose not to have a religious wedding. If that’s the case for you and your fiancé, you’ll want to look elsewhere in order to get premarital counseling. Depending on the couple, you can gather some resources on your own. There are multiple articles, books, and checklists written on premarital counseling.

Make sure you and your fiancé discuss the following questions: How many children do the two of you want? Where do you want to put down roots? What religion, if any, do you practice? If you come from different faith traditions, in what religion will your children be raised? How much debt do the two of you have? What happens if one of you loses a job? What happens if the wife miscarries?

These questions are difficult and can be uncomfortable to answer, but it’s better to know the answers now than to wait until after you’re married.

With a counselor. There are quite a few positives to meeting with a third party counselor or therapist. It’s easy to get emotional when discussing topics like money, sex, and kids. An experienced therapist can help guide the conversation and prevent you and your partner from straying off topic, therefore losing focus and not accomplishing anything.

A therapist can also help you learn conflict resolution skills. Fights happen in every marriage, and it’s best to learn how to resolve those arguments quickly and efficiently. A therapist will teach you how to listen and communicate more effectively to reach a happy solution sooner.

It might seem like a lot of work, and probably isn’t as fun as sampling wedding cake, but marriage is a serious step. Make the effort to get off to a strong start and get premarital counseling—it’s a worthwhile investment in your future together.

If you’d like to set up a time to meet up with Reka, you can contact her by phone at 402-881-8125, by email at, or via Twitter or Facebook.

photo credit: M+J via photopin (license)