Premarital Counseling

Preparing for a Lifetime Together

Becoming engaged is the first step on the journey to marriage. While many couples in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area have dated or known each other for years before considering an engagement, others have fallen in love within months. Every couple is unique, and each individual has their own set of beliefs, ideas and perspectives that could alter the relationship dynamics in positive and challenging ways.

Our Marriage and Family Therapists at Stanford Couples Counseling encourage all couples in Fort Worth, Plano and Dallas who are recently engaged or considering engagement to address your similar and contracting beliefs, ideas and perspectives in a safe, supportive space through premarital counseling.

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Why Couples Counseling?

Throughout our lives, we develop relationships with those we interact with on a frequent basis. From classmates, friends and family members to coworkers, colleagues and romantic partners, we cultivate relationships with these individuals for a variety of reasons. Men and women rely on relationships to strengthen their bonds to society, find a sense of belonging, increase emotional well being and create or maintain stability in life. Relationships also help us understand and accept ourselves and our place in the world.

The dynamics of our relationships can change for a number of reasons, especially in intimate relationships with our partners. Regardless of marital status, our relationships with our partners can be strengthened or strained by certain social, emotional, financial or sexual factors in our lives. Premarital therapy facilitates counseling for engaged couples so they can discuss a variety of topics associated with marriage — particularly those which may cause discourse or threaten to harm the relationship. Many of these topics may not arise until much later in your lives.

Premarital Therapy Services

What are some of the topics that may lead to disagreements or conflicts within your current relationship and marital future? Each individual and couple may have their own sensitivities, opinions or worldview on virtually any topic, but many common issues stem from the following:

  • Personal beliefs and values, such as religious or secular opinions.

  • Stress derived from strained finances or careers.

  • Personal issues such as anger, low self-esteem or unhappiness.

  • Roles and responsibilities, perceived and actual, of themselves or the other in the relationship.

  • Issues with affection, intimacy or sex.

  • Breakdowns of communication.

  • Conflicts associated with immediate family members like children, in-laws or siblings.

It’s not uncommon for some of these problems to develop over time without either partner realizing its severity until it’s acknowledged. For example, money is a leading cause of relationship problems. Poor communication is another common cause of breakups and dissolution of marriages. An unfulfilling sex life can also be an issue. However, you may not encounter these problems, become aware of them or want to voice them until years into your marriage. They may not even develop until a later stage in your adult lives.

Premarital counseling services are designed to identify the existing issues between you and your partner and help you work through them in a collaborative and constructive way. These confidential and nonjudgmental sessions teach both of you how to develop healthy coping and communication strategies that will help you identify and resolve future conflicts in ways that may not require additional couples counseling. As you and your partner learn how to respectively communicate your problems and come to a resolution with understanding and compassion, you’ll grow individually and together.

However, premarital therapy sessions aren’t without their challenges. There’s a possibility that issues or thoughts may be brought up during counseling for engaged couples that can cause conflict or hurt feelings. With the help of a licensed and trained Marriage and Family Therapist, these short-term conflicts can be resolved and ultimately strengthen the bond between you and your partner. Counseling for couples before marriage is not a requirement, and though many unions live happily together for the rest of their lives without it, premarital counseling is extremely beneficial for many couples.

Should You Consider Marriage Counseling?

Take a moment to think about how long you and your partner have been together. While some couples have been together for years, others may have only dated for a few months before getting engaged. Even if you believe you know your partner on an intimate level, there are many emotionally challenging situations that will arise as you spend the rest of your lives together. Since research estimates that 40 to 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce, premarital counseling services may be a wise choice for some couples.

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When should you consider premarital therapy services in Dallas, Fort Worth and Plano? If you’re currently engaged, or you and your partner are serious about becoming engaged in the near future, you should consider signing up for premarital counseling. Although married couples can attend therapy at any time, receiving couples counseling before marriage has its advantages. For example, premarital counseling can help couples:

  • Discuss significant personal issues.

  • Develop conflict resolution strategies.

  • Learn how to identify more effective ways of communicating.

  • Address problems they may have.

  • Navigate a major change in their relationship.

  • Identify potential challenges that many married couples experience during their first few years of marriage.

How To Prepare For Pre-marriage Couples Therapy

As with any other therapy, you may experience a range of feelings before you and your partner start your first session. It’s completely normal to feel nervous, anxious, fearful or uncertain. While some partners may be hesitant or reserved at first, others may feel indifferent and may confidently believe that their relationship won’t benefit from professional counseling. Whichever emotions you feel are warranted, but you must always approach your sessions and relationship with an open mind.

Even if you approach the idea of premarital counseling services with a positive attitude, most people still have questions that need to be answered for them to feel comfortable taking the next step. As you search for the therapy services that are best for you and your partner, be sure to talk with your partner about your concerns or hesitations. You can also ask others in your community, church or family for recommendations for a premarital therapist, especially if anyone you know has received premarital counseling.

It’s important to remember that the effectiveness of counseling for engaged couples relies on many influences, including the ability of the therapist and how well you build a relationship with them. You should seek out a therapist that specializes in marriage and family therapy. You may also want to ask how long they’ve been practicing premarital counseling, how they structure their sessions and how much each session will cost.

Benefits Of Marriage Counseling

The benefits of therapy for pre-marriage couples are diverse. Each person in the relationship may find premarital counseling beneficial in their own ways. Some possible benefits of premarital counseling are:

  • Improved relationships: The goal of couples counseling before marriage is to strengthen the bond between you and your partner. Though there will be many difficult conversations, you’ll learn to overcome these challenges together. Couples counseling before marriage can also have a positive impact on you as an individual. These sessions will discuss personal issues, including your own negative thoughts and actions. By acknowledging these less-than-positive aspects of your personality, you can overcome your own insecurities and live a mentally healthier lifestyle.

  • Supportive spaces: Throughout the course of premarital therapy, you and your partner may discuss topics with your therapist that you didn’t expect to address. From financial and familial issues to concerns about sex life, childbearing and roles within the marriage, each topic that arises can be openly discussed in a supportive and safe space. Instead of being judged or embarrassed, you’ll be encouraged to share your concerns, which will be addressed with respect and compassion.

  • Better communication skills: Do you listen, or do you simply hear your partner’s concerns? Do you see their struggles, or do you acknowledge and positively respond to them? Each partner has a different way of communicating their thoughts and emotions. By learning the methods of communication that your partner responds to best, you can make sure they feel acknowledged, understood and cared for.

  • Expert advice: MFTs have years of education and experience to apply to your relationship needs. Seeking premarital therapy is much different than asking family members or friends for relationship advice. MFTs use a combination of research and data with their own professional experiences to help you and your partner build the foundation for a healthy, strong and supportive marriage.

  • Decreased chance of divorce: Premarital counseling services can help prevent divorce. When most couples get engaged, divorce is far from their minds. Unfortunately, some of these couples come to certain crossroads during the course of their marriage that can lead to a separation. The skills you learn during premarital counseling aim to instill conflict-resolution strategies that can prepare you to overcome the obstacles that may one day jeopardize your marriage.

  • Realization of hard truths: Premarital therapy can also make you and your partner realize that the relationship isn’t ready to take the next step. Sadly, not all couples are right for one another. One benefit of therapy for pre-marriage couples is that they may come to the realization that marriage would not be the best decision for their future. This may be due to strained finances, familial problems or simply because they are two different people who are not compatible in the areas that are vital for a healthy marriage.

Why Choose Stanford Couples Counseling In The Dallas-Fort Worth Area

Premarital counseling services — as well as any other form of therapy in Fort Worth, Plano and Dallas — should be taken seriously. At Stanford Couples Counseling, we understand that therapy is not intended to be a quick-fix or a temporary bandage that tends to an emotional wound. Therapy for pre-marriage couples is designed to provide conflict-resolution solutions and strategies that can be applied to the present and future obstacles you and your partner face.

Though many couples experience similar issues throughout their relationship, this doesn’t mean that a one-size-fits-all approach to premarital therapy is effective. Couples throughout the Dallas, Plano and Fort Worth area often come from diverse backgrounds and cultures that instilled opinions, viewpoints and beliefs into their minds. When two partners find that their world views do not align, a targeted intervention must occur. By catering and evolving our counseling services to the specific needs of these individuals, we are able to address and resolve their problems more acutely.

What To Expect From Premarital Counseling At Stanford Couples Counseling

It’s likely that your first visit to Stanford Couples Counseling will be your first relationship therapy sessions — it may also be the first time you’ve ever engaged in any type of structured counseling service. Our team of highly trained and compassionate therapists wants to assure you that we’re here to meet the needs of you and your partner, both individually and as a healthy couple. When you trust Stanford Couples Counseling for your premarital therapy services, you can expect the highest level of commitment from our MFTs.

One of the benefits of working with Stanford Couples Counseling is that, although you speak with a single MFT, your overall progression through premarital counseling will be guided by our entire team. Every therapist possesses an advanced degree, many of them doctorates. Our team collaborates together on our patients’ cases, bringing together decades of education and experience to develop the strategies that address and resolve each couple’s unique needs.

The MFTs at Stanford Couples Counseling also believe that the counseling for engaged couples involves much more than a once-a-week discussion. Our goal is to help each of our clients solve their relationship issues and overcome any problems they may experience on a personal level. We accomplish this through a solutions-oriented approach that adjusts to your unique needs. By working towards identifiable, manageable and tangible goals, you’ll experience the positive results in your relationship in a variety of noticeable ways.

Premarital Therapy Services At Stanford Couples Counseling

At Stanford Couples Counseling, our Marriage and Family Therapists are specifically trained in relationship dynamics and many are certified in Prepare/Enrich, the most widely used and validated premarital assessment and training program. Each MFT at our DallasFort Worth and Plano counseling centers is experienced in premarital work and is ready to guide you through common premarital challenges while also addressing any unique issues specific to your relationship.

We can provide you with the Prepare/Enrich premarital assessment in our supportive, focused environment. This evidence-based premarital counseling assessment is designed to help you increase awareness and assess your relationship, obtain objective results and lower your chances of divorce.

While being guided by one of our Marriage and Family Therapists, you’ll be able to gain a variety of insights, from some of your strengths to potential stress areas in your relationship. The feedback you receive will also help you both discover ways to better communicate and experience intimacy as a couple. Overall, you’ll understand your relationship dynamic better and discover growth areas that you can work on together.

Schedule A Pre-marriage Counseling Assessment Today

Whether you want help deciding whether you and your partner are compatible enough to spend the rest of your lives together or if you want to identify your strengths and areas where you would benefit from growth, we’re here to help.

Every couple is different. Some might benefit more from individual sessions, while others might flourish with couples counseling sessions. Here at Stanford Couples Counseling Services, we specialize in and offer both.

Our therapists will work with you, offering support and clear next steps for you to follow in your relationship. From helping you navigate communication issues to offering insights about yourself and your relationship through our couples assessment test, we’ll help you be better equipped to handle this new stage of your life.

One way we help ensure success is by pairing you with a clinician that we believe is best suited to the current or potential issues you and your partner could face as a couple. You’ll get to meet up with your therapist — either in our office or virtually — the week after you sign up.

Your therapist will lead you through an initial six- to eight-week period where they’ll help you make changes through identifiable, tangible and measurable goals. Then, you’ll be able to create a less frequent session schedule. Our goal is to enable you to start independently utilizing the tools you gained in your premarital counseling sessions.