Frequently Asked Questions
1. Ok, I read why people do premarital counseling, but I want to know more about why this is important for me and my partner.
Anyone who has been in a long-term relationship can tell you it’s impossible to predict what sorts of issues will come up for you as a couple. Premarital counseling is important in that it is an opportunity to learn and develop tools with which to face whatever comes up. If you have ways to effectively communicate, work through conflict, argue effectively (yes – arguing CAN BE effective!), and show love in the ways your partner needs, you will be more readily able and willing to face challenges together.
Premarital counseling is sort of an introduction to marriage and to skills that will prove valuable in years to come. It is a way to begin the process of exploring your strengths and growth points as a couple; you’ll then continue to nurture this exploration process throughout your marriage!
2. What should we expect from our first session?
Expect… a good time!
Prior to your first session, you and your partner will complete an online assessment, and the results are detailed in a comprehensive report outlining the strengths and opportunities for growth in your relationship which you will discuss in the first session.
We will discuss the top issues you’d like to work through and formulate some goals for your work together. It’s a chance for us to get to know each other more.
You will also get to choose a counseling package that works for you.
4. Why should I choose an individual therapist rather than a group workshop format?
Couples can expect specialized and unique attention and direction based on the very specific needs of their relationship - which may vary from other workshop or group settings. To a large extent, YOU get to choose what you want to work on, and we spend the most time on topics that are more important to you!
5. I think my place of worship offers premarital counseling. Why should I seek it elsewhere?
If you have access to premarital counseling through your place of worship and you are reading this, you’ve probably already asked this question. There are many reasons people seek therapy outside of their institution of worship.
Firstly, couples like the separation and the confidential nature of therapy. As licensed therapists, we are bound by state law to protect your information, which means that no one has access to it without your consent. Ministers and/or religious leaders are not necessarily bound by the same laws.
Secondly, many ministers and/or religious leaders do not have an extensive counseling background or education. To some couples, a clinical counseling background is important and something to consider!
Bottom line: you have to feel comfortable at ease with the counselor with whom you choose to work – whoever that might be.
What a common question. Megan received her Masters of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology. She has a special interest in spirituality and interfaith work and often works with individuals and couples hoping to explore their spirituality and/or work through faith issues or religious abuse. Click here to learn more.
Megan feels comfortable and qualified to understand and explore different spiritual backgrounds and consider herself to be a calm, non-judgmental presence to all – no matter your religious affiliation, belief system, and/or feelings about spirituality as a whole.
A couples’ spiritual connection can be an important part of their overall connection and compatibility. We encourage couples to embrace differences and similarities and to approach spirituality and religious conversations with curiosity instead of judgment or narrow-mindedness. This will make all the difference in the world!
A healthy spiritual connection absolutely involves being open and affirming of one another’s experiences and sharing them with one another.
If you are interested in drawing on your faith in your premarital therapy, all of our therapists can certainly facilitate this process. In the same way, it is important to know that we do not impose religion on anybody and will trust that you will verbalize your desire to integrate faith and spirituality.
6. Megan has an M.Div and a theological background. That's a little scary - what does it mean?
There are many counselor options, and we know that too many options can often feel overwhelming! When looking for a counselor, have a conversation with your partner about what is important to you.
Do you want someone who can give you a particular faith perspective? Do you prefer certain experiences or clinical backgrounds vs. going the pastoral route? Is office location a concern? Do you need certain availability, such as evenings or weekend appointments? What is your budget? When exploring therapists, pay attention to licensure, special trainings and certifications that could benefit your counseling process, personal and professional experiences, and overall compatibility. When you connect with the therapist over the phone or via email, do you have a good feeling? Does he or she seem like someone with whom you could connect and trust?
Trust your gut. Schedule a session, and remember: you can always shop around if the first session doesn’t feel like a good fit!
7. What qualifications and characteristics should we consider when selecting a premarital counselor?
8. What is the financial investment? Do you accept insurance?
While we do not bill insurance directly, we can give you a superbill / receipt for services that you can submit for partial or full reimbursement. If you’re hoping to do this, call your insurance company and ask about “out-of-network” benefits. If either you or your fiancé have those benefits, we're happy to give you a superbill at the conclusion of our work together.
Remember, premarital counseling is an investment in your relationship and your marriage!
9. Should we wait until we're engaged to seek premarital counseling?
You definitely do not need to wait until you're engaged to seek counseling. We see couples who are committed to one another and/or contemplating marriage, as well as couples who are engaged.
It's great to seek this kind of relationship-enrichment counseling if you are invested in the relationship, want to develop skills to enhance your connection, and/or explore current or potential challenges. If you're interested in taking your relationship to the next step - whatever that next step is for you - we'd love to hear from you!
11. Do you have any books or materials that you refer to couples?
We use and recommend the PREPARE/ENRICH tools and provide workbooks to our clients, but here are a few of our other favorites if you'd like to supplement your premarital work with some reading:
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman
Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix
The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman
Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by Esther Perel (She's one of Megan B's favorites, and she'd recommend her work for anyone interested in a new persecutive on sexuality and enhancing sexual intimacy!)
Sexual Intelligence by Marty Klein
12. Help! We scheduled our first appointment... and we're a little nervous!
It's normal to feel a little nervous or unsure. Let yourself feel these things! Try to be open to the process and to whatever might unfold.
P.S. We've been there, too. We promise we're genuinely excited to meet you and honored to facilitate your premarital counseling! :)