Therapy Blog for Orem, Spanish Fork & South Jordan

Pre Marriage Counseling Tips

Pre marriage counseling will help you and your partner to increase the likelihood of marriage success. You will learn skills to communicate well, understand yourself better and work through issues together. Or, it could actually help you end your relationship before you get married. Either way, good thing. You don’t want to force a relationship if it can’t even handle going in and talking about healthy communication skills. 


So, let’s talk about a few things you need to know before you get married. First of all, there are four things you need to make sure you don’t have in your marriage. They are criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. There are definitely skills you can use to combat all of these problems. Make sure you understand each one and what to do so that if they show up in your relationship, you are prepared to get rid of them. 


Here, I will describe some of my practice-based evidence for a successful marriage. Or, things I’ve noticed as a marriage and family therapist for almost 2 decades that couples do who make it. 


Pre Marriage Tip #1 – What You See Is What You Get


Yes, all of those annoying things about your girlfriend (or boyfriend!) will still be there after you get married. They don’t magically go away just because you are together all the time. In fact, you will probably get a heavier dose of them after you are married. This also means, however, that all of the nice things about your partner will also still be there. Both of them are amplified. And why wouldn’t they be? You are now married, spending a lot of time together and going through life’s difficulties as a couple. That tends to amplify strengths and exacerbate weaknesses. 


So, what do you do when you get more of what your partner has already shown you when you get married? 


First, stay calm. You are adjusting to a big change. You can make it. Keep reminding yourself of what you loved about them in the first place. 


Second, be humble. You will need to learn new skills while being married. If you have a humble heart you will be teachable, willing, courageous and kind. You need all of those attributes to make your marriage successful. 


Third, get over yourself. It’s not just their weaknesses that are exacerbated, it’s yours too. Know that they are probably having a rough time as well. Seeing it this way might help you to have more compassion for each other. 


Pre Marriage Tip #2 – Manage Expectations


You have heard that unmet expectations create resentment, right? If you haven’t I’ll share it here. When you have expectations of your partner that are not met, you might get upset, resentful and eventually do things that are unhealthy towards them. 


This one goes hand in hand with pre marriage tip #1. Don’t expect your partner to change. They are who they are and being married isn’t going to change them. You might notice different things you didn’t notice before. This could be because your rose-colored glasses have been taken off and you are seeing what has always been there. If so, don’t worry. You will adjust and you guys can make it. 


Make your expectations known, and then let them go. You can talk about them with your partner – how you wish something changes. But then let them go and accept what you have in front of you. For example, if your partner is using pornograpy, you might let them know that you hope one day he is free from it. Then start working to help, support and connect with him. You can accept that he is struggling and be there with him. Don’t wait until he is freed from it to get close. You can still have a close relationship as you battle issues together. 


Be careful not to think that once we get married, he will stop using pornography because we can have sex. Pornography isn’t a sex issue. It’s not a sex addiction. It’s an avoidance addiction. He needs help building emotional muscle so he can handle uncomfortable things in life without numbing with pornography. 


Pre Marriage Tip #3 – What You Love Might Become What You Hate


When you are dating, that thing that you love about your spouse might become the thing that you end up hating. For example, I’ve heard a girlfriend recently say, “I love that he makes me talk to him when I’m upset. I usually wouldn’t do that”. This is what she says before they are married. However, when he continues to ‘make her talk to him’ when she is upset, she starts to resent it . She doesn’t like it. Again, those rose-colored glasses come off and things seem a little different. 


Well, if you are reading this article you are probably on your way to marrying your love. If so, congratulations. What a great time to get it right. Keep in mind that there are things you can do now, and things you can do after you are married to stay healthy and move forward together. 


Schedule a pre marriage counseling session with an expert here in Utah County or Salt Lake County. Meet with a counselor in South Jordan, Orem, Spanish Fork and American Fork. 


Written by Marriage and Family Therapist, Triston Morgan, PhD

Utah Therapy


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