Premarital counseling is used to prepare couples for their future life together. Some therapists believe that it is critical for couples to partake in this therapy in order for them to understand each other better. Premarital counseling covers all areas of a relationship, including intimacy, sexuality, conflict resolution and expectations. It can help couples strengthen their relationship and assess long-term goals together as well as prepare couples for future decisions. Some premarital counseling activities can be completed at home or with a group of people as part of premarital counseling.
Cause and Effect Discussions
One of the most challenging parts of a relationship is understanding another person's feelings. Each person processes emotion differently and therefore perceives a situation differently. The result can be bottled-up emotion that leads to arguments and fights between couples. In order to help express inner feelings, couples should state what bothers them and work together to resolve the situation in a way that benefits both. For example, a man may say, "When I have to go out of town on business, I feel bad because you are here with the kids and I am missing out on important family time." The solution may not be for him to change jobs; however, the fiance can help resolve the situation by using a webcam with the children to communicate with her partner while out of town in order to create a more personal experience than simply by talking on the phone.
Increased communication between a couple will help resolve problems faster. Years of building "walls" around our emotions have left most adults incapable of expressing how they truly feel in a situation. Conversations between couples may be vague or beat around the bush. It is up to each partner to assess the situation and learn to understand what the other person means, not what he says. In mirroring, one person says something, and the other person rephrases the statement. For example, the woman might say, "When you work late and do not call, I worry, and I do not like to be home alone." Her partner repeats what he hears. Her fiancé may respond with "I hear you saying you would like me to call so that you do not have to worry about me and make more of an effort to be home at night so you feel safe." Mirroring helps couples define the difference between listening to one another and hearing one another.
Situational Role Playing
Because each person is built differently and processes a situation differently than his partner, it can become difficult to understand the needs, feelings and stress in a relationship. The working man does not realize that him tossing his coat on the couch is irritating to his stay-at-home partner because she spent the entire day cleaning and he is now contributing to the mess. Understanding her stress of dealing with cleaning, cooking, children and errands will better equip him to comprehend her emotions on a deeper level. For situational role playing, couples act as each other in a scenario. One scenario may be getting a flat tire on the way home from his parents' house while taking a back road with no cell phone service. Now the women acts as the man and vice versa; this creates valuable insight to how each person sees the other and opens the doors of communication for how they can better understand their feelings and avoid conflict.