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Premarital Counseling – Before the Big Step

While premarital counseling is a category in therapy, a couple does not need a wedding date in order to qualify. In fact, addressing issues before entering the engagement phase is a wise choice. I work with couples in all stages of togetherness and the process is usually very beneficial to the relationship going forward. But there may be a red flag waving when one or both partners expect to solve relationship issues by putting a ring on that finger.

Getting engaged may add sparkle to the romance, inspire celebration from friends and family and start the wedding planning focus with a bling!  It can distract the couple from devoting energy to working through difficulties or bring conflict to the forefront as differing expectations about the event itself may reflect basic opposite viewpoints.  Wedding planning is stressful, whether due to conflicting family/cultural traditions or cake preferences, and while it may be the most enchanting day, it passes in a flash and you are left with real life going forward, for better or for worse.

Early into the relationship, the romantic stage can be literally, neurologically intoxicating. Your senses are heightened, your differences are enticing and contribute to the magnetic attraction, the bond itself may be so intense that you don’t know where you end and your partner begins. While these exciting elements may provide a foundation for a happy partnership, the starry-eyed phase does not last, nor will it blind you to stark challenges over time. The fact is you are two different people. You cannot change each other to match up to your model of the perfect partner, even if you share names, dreams, kids, or submission to pressure from your mothers in law. While that may sound pessimistic, the opposite is true.

Premarital counseling can help you create true love and lasting commitment

Idealizing each other is not a sign of true love or lasting commitment. Presenting your real self, allowing your partner to do the same, accepting differences and negotiating compromises, is a positive dynamic and a worthwhile investment in your future.  Through premarital counseling, we will create a safe environment in which to examine your values, expectations and requirements for a loving partnership.

By practicing intentional dialogue, we will change patterns of interaction that lead to conflict or avoidance, a habit that does not fix itself however sincerely you state your vows. We will explore the list of “shoulds” attached to what it means to be a husband or wife and may guide your assumptions and behaviors.  Sometimes, the most powerful “should” is the push behind the engagement itself after a couple has been together for a while happily or is bordering on a potential break up.

Commitment may bring comfort and security, but it isn’t a magic wand that makes problems disappear. So, before you make all of your wedding arrangements, let’s put a deposit in the relationship account. The positive effects will last long after that first dance ends.

Premarital Counseling, Midtown Manhattan, NYC

I offer premarital counseling through my private practice in Manhattan, NYC. Please contact me to discus further.

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Joan Warren, LMFT

Joan Warren Therapy

Contact Details

Office Location

280 Madison Avenue
Suite 208
New York, NY 10016


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