Premarital counseling is one of those things that’s strongly encouraged—or even required—if you’re getting married in a religious ceremony. But what happens if you’re not getting married in that kind of setting? Is this still something you should look into?
Some experts say it’s super-helpful. Brandy Engler, a licensed clinical psychologist specialising in relationships, says counselling before you get hitched, preferably from a person who specialises in this stuff, like a couples therapist, can strengthen your bond for the long haul.
You see, Engler says, couples therapists know the skills it takes to create a happy, sustainable relationship beyond saying your vows. In your dating phase, your hot and heavy feelings for each other drive you to commit, but once you're husband and wife you need to learn how you can continue to protect your bond.
Though most couples could benefit from premarital counselling, not everyone needs it, says Jane Greer, a marriage therapist and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship.
Not sure where you stand? Experts say these are the top signs you should schedule a premarital counseling session:
1. You're fighting over how big or small of a wedding to have, and you can't reconcile this difference.
2. You're arguing over all the elements of the wedding, and you're not on the same page.
3. You or your partner doubt whether you're making the right decision.
4. You're reluctant to plan anything at all, for fear you're making the wrong choice.
5. Your family doesn't like your fiancé, or vice versa. “This can make potential wedding plans difficult and upsetting,” Greer says.
6. You’re not on the same page about how much closeness and space you need. Counselling can help you address how you’ll tell each other when you need a little breathing room, Engler says.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US