What a magical experience being a part of The Black Bride 5th Anniversary Boutique Bridal Show. I am encouraged to know that this show was about more than booking the crème la crème of the industry to plan a dream wedding. What I witnessed were beautiful Brides (and grooms) excited about planning one of the greatest celebrations they would have in this lifetime and also overjoyed with the belief that they could have The Excellent Marriage.
From the host Cree Davis singing her new hit single Unconditional Love and sharing the importance of unconditional love being evident when “conditions” come, to the 27 year old wife and mom with 3 children under 3 Rawan Asad, Owner of Elite Pour La Vi adorning women in her couture bridal gowns and beautiful jewelry; the common thread that many participants, exhibitors and sponsors attending this event held is our high regard for Marriage.
The Premarital Counseling Discussion
Although Pre-Marital Counseling is not as mainstream as other counseling options, it is becoming more popular as couples preparing for marriage notice the high statistical chance of divorce. And as the divorce rates continue to climb, engaged couples are exploring why Pre-Marital Counseling might be an excellent choice.
Each Bride I spoke with asked different questions about becoming a wife, intimacy and the number one cause of divorce (SURPRISE, it’s NOT SEX or MONEY) it’s a lack of connection.
This enlightening experience started the conversation about the importance of Pre-Marital Counseling and a few common misconceptions about going to Pre-Marital Counseling.
A few misconceptions About Pre-Marital Counseling
You have to be unhappy and experiencing problems.
You do not have to be unhappy in your relationship or experiencing problems to do any type of pre marriage work. Most engaged couples are happy and are not having doubts about their choice to get married. Pre-Marital counseling allows you both to commit to a specific time to be present and focus on the relationship. It allows you time to learn more about one another while preparing for your lives together. It also allows you to talk about things that you may not think to talk about while wedding planning.
There is something wrong with me/you.
A common misconception in culture is that you have to be “crazy” or dealing with mental health treatment needs to attend any type of counseling. Let’s face it, we all will experience some type of emotional challenge in life and there should never be a stigma on acquiring help. However, pre-marital counseling gives you the opportunity to openly and honestly asses your health in every area of your life (spiritual, emotional, physical, financial, relational). The most courageous people in this life go to counseling. It sends a message to your partner, you care about your relational health and the longevity of your marriage.
Marriage will solve deeply rooted issues not Pre-Marital Counseling
If you are experiencing relationship difficulty at the current time, pre-marital counseling may be the support that you need in order to heal from past experiences. Getting married with an inability to work on and through issues will only allow unresolved issues ground to fester. Very often learning communication skills can allow you to be seen and heard. Learning communication skills will also help you to see the world through your partners’ lenses and become more empathetic. Do not avoid pre-marital counseling out of fear.
Counseling is the last resort to SAVE my relationship; we are getting married…No time for Pre-Marital Counseling.
Jon Gottman reported that couples wait an average of 6 years of being unhappy in their relationship before getting help. Do not wait until you begin to feel unhappy or unfulfilled in your marriage. Taking care of your relationship health is just as important as you taking care of your physical and emotional health. Prevention is KEY.
There are several more misconceptions about going to Pre-Marital Counseling. Many of you may not want to dampen the happy mood that you’ve been in since you became engaged. Trust me as an advocate for the health of your relationship, Pre-Marital Counseling will only improve and enhance your relationship. Prepare to go from having a good relationship to an Excellent Marriage.
A wedding is a celebration of love and marks the beginning of a life long journey together. Marriage is what remains when the celebration ends. It is more than marvelous to prepare to have a dream wedding but far more important to prepare and focus on having The Excellent Marriage.
Deona Frierson, LCSW
Licensed Therapist & Relationship Expert
Deona Frierson is the co-founder of The Excellent Marriage and lives in North Carolina with her husband David. She loves her family, spending time with her sister friends, desserts and helping couples connect in their marriage.