Premarital Counseling | Couples Therapy | Healthy Relationships

What is premarital counseling?

Premarital counseling is a type of relationship counseling that a couple undertakes before officially blending their two lives into one, permanently, by getting married. 

Long term partnership can be difficult, especially since we’re so rarely given examples of healthy, constructive, long term relationships in our culture. Many of us weren’t given good examples of honest and vulnerable communication between partners from our parents. And all of us are exposed to unhealthy, volatile, and even toxic relationships that are portrayed and celebrated in the media. 

Healthy relationships don’t just happen, even between two great people who love each other. Actually, they require a tool kit too, and those tools need updating from time to time as you each grow individually and together.

How does a couple benefit from premarital counseling?

Just as individual therapy can be part of your personal growth and self-care routine, premarital counseling can be a safe space for learning new partnership skills, navigating transitions, and improving your relationship health. Some common benefits to going through the process of premarital counseling include:

  • To improve communication skills
  • To prepare for big transitions (marriage, kids) 
  • To address differences in sex drive, needs, expectations & desires
  • To unpack past traumas that impact your present relationship 
  • To set expectations and boundaries around household responsibilities & labor
  • To set expectations and boundaries around finances

Before taking the step of getting married, it can be helpful for a couple to identify and iron out any communication issues, opposing ideas about the future, or unexamined assumptions that exist within the relationship.

A white man and an Asian woman sitting next to one another on a couch with a white woman therapist slightly out of focus.

Premarital Counseling for interfaith or cross-cultural relationships:

Our cultural and religious backgrounds shape who we are and how we see the world. So of course, they show up in our closest relationships with our partners and families.

Cross-cultural differences may be apparent from the beginning of a relationship. But they can also show up in surprising ways at different points in the relationship, like when we are preparing for marriage, or getting ready to start a family.

A Black woman and a white woman smiling at one another, sitting on a couch in a therapists's office.

For couples who are coming from different cultural or religious backgrounds, premarital counseling can be a helpful tool to bring together your two lives with compassion, understanding. For example, some of the issues that come up in premarital counseling include: 

  • Decision making about the wedding and how to incorporate values & traditions
  • Gender roles and expectations within a marriage
  • What it means to become part of each others’ families
  • Expectations for approaching relationships with in-laws and extended family
  • Approaches to parenting, and the values you want to pass on to your children
  • How to talk to each other about differing experiences with racism or oppression
  • Cultural differences in communication style and conflict resolution

The therapists at Stella Nova are trained in providing a culturally mindful approach to therapy, remaining aware of the influences our ethnic backgrounds may have on personal identity development and overall sense of self.

If you’re considering premarital counseling and still have questions about what to expect, we can help. Reach out to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a team member today. We’ll chat about your hopes, goals, and questions, and match you with a great-fit therapist for you and your partner.

Our therapists welcome LGBTQ+ folks, multicultural/multiracial couples, poly/ethically non monogamous relationships, members of the kink community, and more.

About the Author

Stella Nova is a mental health clinic that serves individuals and couples across the state of California, and as of Spring 2024, we are also offering couples therapy in New Jersey. Our therapists help support couples to improve their connection, build healthy relationship skills, and break out of negative patterns. We are a LGBTQ+ and BIPOC affirming practice, and we welcome people of all genders who are seeking a feminist healing space.

Group of 4 Stella Nova therapists walking in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

Online Couples Therapy in California & New Jersey

Looking for support to improve your relationship skills or move past a conflict? Stella Nova therapists can help you with a range of concerns, from communication problems, to sexual issues, to healing from hurt or betrayal.

We specialize in working with couples of all genders in online therapy throughout California. We’re an LGBTQ+ and poly-affirming practice that works with couples of all ages and relationship stages.

To get started, schedule your free, 20-minute phone consultation with our Intake Coordinator today. We’ll chat about what you’re looking for, and match you with the best therapist for your needs and preferences.