How Pre-Marriage Counseling Can Benefit You

Updated April 11, 2024by MyTherapist Editorial Team

What is the secret to a successful, long-lasting marriage? Are there certain things you can do with your partner before you get married in order to ensure that your union goes the distance? According to research on modern married couples, the answer is “Yes”! One survey reports a 33% reduction in divorce rates among married couples who engaged in pre-marriage counseling prior to their wedding compared to those who did not.

Inviting someone into your relationship may lead you to feel a range of emotions, including optimistic, hesitant, uncertain, and defensive. It takes vulnerability and trust to make progress within a therapeutic journey. You may find that your counselor asks you questions you had never previously considered, which can help you feel more certain about whether your marriage is a good or bad idea. 

Ahead, we’ll explore the benefits of pre-marriage counseling, describe what kind of things couples do in therapy, and share recommendations for finding a pre-marital counselor best suited to support you and your partner in achieving your couple goals.

Pre-marriage counseling can teach invaluable communication skills

What are the benefits of attending pre-marital counseling?

Pre-marriage counseling is for couples who are planning to marry and may wish to resolve any issues they have before the marriage. This practice was formerly relegated to certain religious factions; however, more secular couples are engaging in pre-marital counseling. Many studies have been conducted in order to understand the benefits of attending pre-marriage counseling. We’ll explore some of the greatest benefits below.

Helps promote understanding and improves communication

There are many couples whose relationships fail because of miscommunications. Even if the two of you think you know each other, miscommunications can happen. Any person can misinterpret what you say and think you have ill intent. Or you may want your partner to do something, but the communication just is not working.

Some people think their needs are being expressed, but they aren't communicating them well enough, and then they get upset when miscommunications happen. No matter what the reason, miscommunications will happen, but pre-marital counseling can help reduce them and teach you how to resolve a miscommunication

Pre-marriage counseling teaches you how to talk to your partner and express your needs. It's also a great place to help understand the root of the conflicts that are happening. Sitting down with a pre-marital counselor can encourage you to analyze what causes the issues, and what you can do to prevent them. It gives the couples a chance to learn how to communicate better, and use conflict resolution skills that will make their life easier.

Alleviates fears and concerns

One thing that many people experience when they're about to get married is fear of marriage. Maybe they love the person, but in their heads, they hear the saying "marriage is the end of the road." Perhaps the individual knows those who believe this, and they don't want that to happen. Pre-marital counseling allows for the couple to sit down, create a positive outlook on marriage, and have a good attitude at the beginning. This can be especially helpful for people who are marrying for a second or third time.

Relationships and marriages are what you make of it, and by discussing these expectations that might be there before you hit the altar, you'll be able to understand your partner better, and in turn, offer much support before you do get married. Essentially, engaging in pre-marriage counseling helps couples find ways to create positive associations with marriage.

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Provides an opportunity to address issues and learn solutions

If you are open-minded, you will likely emerge from pre-marriage counseling with a toolbox of useful emotional and mental skills that you can apply in more areas outside of just your marriage. Pre-marital counseling is used to help couples fix problems in their marriage before it becomes worse, problems that could lead to divorce. This allows couples to settle different arguments with a counselor, including disagreements related to having kids and managing finances. 

As you can imagine, improving your communication skills in your relationship can also help you become a better communicator or problem-solver in your friendships and work environment. 

Helps couples plan the future

Many pre-marital counselors help couples actively plan for the future. For example, pre-marital counseling helps couples set goals that they hope to achieve with their finances, allowing the couple a chance to figure out how they can attain each of the goals they set out. Pre-marital counseling is great for discussing expectations concerning spending, retirement, travel, etc. It gives them time to set goals and work on changing habits in their relationship before saying "I do."

Allows couples to discover and learn new things about one another

Counselors ask a lot of questions when they're working with engaged couples. Listening allows the couple to understand their partner better and gives them a chance to learn more about who the partner is. Often, many couples assume that nobody knows them better than their partners, so they may not be as excited to go to counseling since they presume that they're fine.

How to seek premarital counseling

Today’s couples have more options than ever when it comes to seeking pre-marriage counseling. Depending on your area and needs, you may prefer an online therapist over a face-to-face counselor. Busy couples who travel frequently may also enjoy the flexibility that online counseling platforms like MyTherapist enable, including the ability to meet virtually from any location with a secure internet connection.

As many couples who attend pre-marriage counseling are likely planning for a wedding, it is understandable that the cost of attending therapy is a concern. Online therapy is typically viewed as a more affordable alternative to face-to-face therapy. You can even text your online counselor in the moment, if you and your partner are encountering a challenge as you practice techniques like mindful communication.

Initial consultations with an online or in-person counselor usually involve a questionnaire asking about your family, childhood, previous relationships, and current relationship concerns. You'll then sit down with the counselor, and you, along with your partner and counselor, look at the results and discuss areas of note. 

Various studies show the efficacy of online couples therapy. In one trial involving 30 couples ranging from ages 21 to 69, researchers separated participants into two groups. The first group received face-to-face couples behavioral education therapy while the second group received the intervention via videoconferencing. Results showed that each group experienced significant increases in relationship satisfaction rates and improved mental wellbeing. 

Pre-marriage counseling can teach invaluable communication skills


While there is no shame in ending a relationship or seeking a divorce, most married couples go into their marriage with the intent of staying together forever. Collaborating in an open-minded manner with an online pre-marital counselor can help you and your partner better ensure that your relationship withstands all trials that come its way. Armed with essential communication skills and emotional regulation practices, you can navigate conflict by moving toward one another, versus away from or against. When you’d like to enlist the guidance of a licensed online counselor, reach out to MyTherapist for support.

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