So, What is Premarital Counseling?

Elizabeth Earnshaw, LMFT, CGT

Table of Contents

What is premarital counseling?

Premarital counseling is designed to help you and your partner prepare for marriage. You can think of it as a roadmap for your journey ahead. During your time in premarital counseling, you will talk about the important stuff in a marriage - this might include topics like communication, sex, and finances but it also includes topics that you might not know to talk about like how to navigate boundaries or what it means to create a secure functioning relationship.

While all of us enter our marriage knowing we want to keep it as happy and healthy as possible, most of us don’t know exactly what we should plan for or talk about in order to set ourselves up for success. In fact 71% of respondents in The OURS State of The Union survey said they wish they had more information on how to talk about conflict and other big relationship topics.

We just don’t learn this stuff in school.  But, you can learn it with OURS.

Premarital counseling teaches couples how to normalize that relationships are challenging and to build a proactive attitude towards their relationship through offering insight, providing education, future telling by sharing anecdotes, and by helping you to build skills, have important conversations and plan for the future.

Why does premarital counseling matter?

I'd like to be real with you. Premarital counseling matters because the work of marriage isn’t exactly second nature. While humans are certainly wired to bond, they are also wired for a lot of other things that can disrupt our relational satisfaction - impulsivity, selfishness, and aggression to name a few. Research shows that premarital counseling helps couples to harness the magic of their relationship ultimately reducing divorce rates and increasing relational satisfaction. In fact, couples who complete some form of premarital counseling have a 30% increase in marital satisfaction compared to those who hadn’t undergone such counseling.

Marriage is one the biggest decisions you’ll ever make in your life and almost nothing has a bigger impact on your social, emotional, physical, and financial health. When your marriage is running well, all areas of life reap the benefits. Whereas, when your relationship is struggling so does everything else.

The traditional approach vs. The OURS approach

Traditional:

  • Often religiously based
  • Hasn’t been changed or updated in many years, following old paradigms
  • Mostly about talking
  • Everyone takes the same sessions
  • Experienced as “dry”

OURS:

  • Secular - whatever you believe in, we believe this program can work for you
  • Designed for the modern couple - we talk about things that matter in our current world
  • We do a lot more than talking - touch, creativity, learning, and planning are alongside deep conversations
  • We tailor the program to you and your relationship
  • Serious + fun - we know that taking the relationship seriously matters, but it’s actually play that keeps things interesting. We surprise and delight you throughout
  • Using the power of human touch through your meetings with guides alongside the power of technology using our loveware

Everyone is welcome

First things first, our program welcomes all types of relationships, no matter who you love. You are safe here.

We know what people need, now

At OURS,we are taking a modern approach to premarital counseling. We’ve looked at what was missing in traditional premarital counseling programs and built something made for the modern couple, adding in topics that might have been ignored in the past to reflect the current world. Each session is based on decades of research that you can use to make your relationship even stronger than it already is.

We think about how people actually like to learn and connect with each other

During our program, we will teach you how to have a healthy relationship through a serious yet fun (yes, they can exist together!) approach to relationship wellness. We’ve developed our program to be about more than just talking it out - while you will certainly have amazing conversations, you will also learn through play, touch,planning, and inner reflection. This helps you tap into all of the things that make you, you.

It’s all about being proactive

Traditionally, counseling was thought of as a place you go when there are problems. We don’t buy it. We believe that couples who are healthiest tend to get support for their relationship proactively (we know you believe this too…our research shows 84% of millennials believe that healthy relationships would benefit from going to couples counseling proactively). That’s why we built our programs to embrace what’s good and to help you improve what could be even better.  We built our approach knowing that you're joining us because you want to maintain something great, not because you want to salvage something that feels really, really bad.

Tailored for you

No two couples will go through the same program. Your guide will pay special attention to who you are, what you need, and where you want to go. They will design a roadmap of sessions to take together that touch on the areas we believe you need to focus on the most. And, throughout the program, the resources, feedback, guidance and surprises sprinkled inside will be just for you!

Humans + Tech

During our time together, you will have a masters level therapist who will work as your guide throughout our process. Your guide will meet with you live and be available to you for four weeks to answer your questions, provide your resources, and cheer you on as you take your roadmap sessions. We offer you support while also setting you up for independence and continued growth.

The process

This is new, so it might be hard to imagine what it’s like. It’s not a course. It’s also not traditional counseling. We get that it might be hard to envision. The OURS process looks like this:

Apply

All couples apply to the program first. This helps us to make sure you are the right fit for our program before starting.

Welcome Survey

After you apply, you will take a welcome survey. This survey will ask you questions about your relationship. Some questions will focus on topic areas, for example how you feel about finances. While other areas will focus on how you feel about your partner.

The welcome survey will help your guide understand you and your relationship better so that they can design the best possible roadmap for you.

Guide Meeting

After you’ve completed your welcome survey, you’ll schedule an appointment with your guide. During your live video meeting, you will talk about your relationship. All of the questions your guide asks are designed to help build connection and insight regarding your relationship. The welcome survey + this conversation will be used to design your roadmap.

Loveware sessions

After your guide meeting, your guide will send you a link to get started on your roadmap. Your roadmap is a series of 4 sessions that your guide hand picked for you. These sessions might be on topics regarding communication, parenting, finances, or sex for example. Each session will take about an hour.

During your roadmap session, you will watch an interactive video that will explore the session topic. During this time, you will have important conversations, get creative, reflect, play, and plan.

As you go through your roadmap sessions, your guide will be alongside you when you need them. Have a question? Send it to your guide and they’ll get back to you with an answer. Want more resources? They’ve got those too. Just want to celebrate a big win?  Your guide loves getting pictures, hearing stories, and seeing your progress.

The Closing Ceremony

Once you’ve completed your roadmap sessions, you’ll meet live with your guide again via a video appointment. During this session, your guide will help you to plan for what’s next.

How we built this approach

Using decades worth of research and  over 10,000+ hours of team working time, a team of therapists + engineers combined together to create an experience that takes the best of human touch and combines it with the best of tech. After interviewing thousands  of couples, pouring over hundreds of research papers, and testing dozens of programs, we’ve landed on what we believe to be the best approach to proactive, modern, premarital counseling.

But, we won’t stop there. We know that there is always more to be done when it comes to improving the way we take care of the most important thing in the world - our relationships.

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