Planning your wedding is stressful enough, but it's a piece of buttercream-frosted cake compared to the day-to-day reality of actual marriage.
Indeed, so often couples get caught up with everything involved in prepping for their Big Day and romanticizing the concept of marriage that they forget to (or don't realize that they should) address all of the less-romantic issues that will inevitably arise when two people commit to sharing their lives together.
Premarital counseling is an excellent way to confront these issues upfront and establish a stronger, healthier relationship moving into matrimony.
The following five issues are particularly worth addressing in premarital counseling sessions:
Finances are a common cause of contention between those about to be married.
Does one partner work longer hours or make more money than the other? If so, does that partner resent the other for providing less to the family? Who's going to handle the bills? Do you trust each other enough to share bank accounts? Do you plan to sign a prenuptial agreement?
All of these questions need to be answered well before the wedding day.
Time can also be a big problem in a relationship. One may feel neglected if their partner is often away at work, school or other functions. Conversely, a partner may value their space and wish they could spend more time alone.
These kinds of conversations can be uncomfortable, but it's better to be honest with each other and work with the truth rather than do things you don't want to do and keep your mouth shut for the sake of sparing feelings.
When you marry someone, you're not just marrying them - you're essentially marrying their family as well. It's important for you to learn how to get along with the whole family, especially if at this point you're already on shaky ground.
It's also helpful to establish what sort of boundaries as a couple you will put in place. Some family members may be in the habit of just dropping by for a visit. This may upset your new partner.
Also, it would be helpful to discuss how you plan to spend time with both sets of in-laws during holidays.
4. Resolving conflict
All couples disagree sometimes. What's less important than the frequency of conflict (though frequent fighting is a serious issue that must be addressed, of course) is how a couple reacts to said engagements.
Conflicts need to come to a conclusion. That can take some long, hard, emotionally draining work, but ignoring tension because it's convenient to do so will almost always come back to bite you down the line. Don't sweep anything under the rug.
Again, now is not the time to sweep lingering issues under the rug. Statistically, couples that share the same faith (or lack thereof) are more likely to stay together than those that don't.
If your partner is of a different faith, you need to decide whether this is something that will bother you long-term or not. This can be a critical issue.
Be sure to discuss these critical issues during premarital counseling. Ultimately, it all comes down to honesty and respect.
If you're able to be honest with your partner and respect their traits and beliefs even when you don't like or agree with them, and if your partner can do the same, then the future of your marriage looks bright.