By: James E. DelGenio MS, LCPC
Senior Staff Therapist,
The Family Institute at Northwestern University
Premarital counseling can help ensure that you and your partner have a strong, healthy relationship. This will give you a better chance for a stable and satisfying marriage. Premarital counseling can also help you identify weaknesses that may become larger problems during marriage. Good marriages don’t happen by accident. Many issues can be resolved prior to marriage with the help of a therapist. Common issues addressed may include: mental health issues, work, finances, drug and alcohol use, lifestyle, spending habits, credit card balances, student loans, savings, retirement planning, roles and responsibilities, children, parenting, in-laws, and leisure and fun. Marriage requires an understanding of yourself, your future spouse, and the tools and skills you need to make it work.
Finances: Current debt, student loans, savings goals, retirement, pension, pool money or keep separate?
Family: Family relationships and issues, do you get along with in-laws, how often will you see them?
Religion: What are your religious views, what religion will you use to raise the children, will you attend services regularly?
Children: Do you want children, how many, thoughts on education, do you have similar values, parenting styles? What if you can’t have children?
Leisure and fun: What do you like to do in your spare time, common interests, vacation styles?
Spending: What is discretionary spending, how much is ok without consulting the other. Do you gamble?
Work and school: Will you be going to school? Will you both work; would you be willing to relocate for your spouses job? Are your work schedules compatible?
Roles: Parenting, paying bills, chores, traditional roles: women as homemaker, man as bread winner?
Lifestyles: What lifestyle are you aiming for? Where do you want to live?
Alcohol & drug use: Are there issues now that need to be addressed? Are you willing to seek help?
Holidays: What is your respective family traditions around the holidays? Will there be conflicting family expectations? How will you handle it? Will you really want the children to open gifts and then rush to get in the car to go visit family? It might help to think of you and your spouse as your own family unit, most especially, once you have children. Definitely worth the conversation especially if it has not come up already.
Zoom! Now I can work via face time with anyone, anywhere in the country and it may still be covered by BCBS Insurance. Check with your BCBS representative for more information.
Call James E. DelGenio MS, LCPC, Senior Staff Therapist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, 847-733-4300 Ext 638.
Disclaimer: This material is meant to be used in conjunction with psychiatric treatment, medication, if necessary, and supportive therapy. Always share this material and your questions about this material with your doctor and therapist.