So What Is Premarital Counseling
In this piece we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of premarital counseling, plus walk you through how we do things differently at Ours.
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 supports couples in normalizing that no relationship is immune to challenges. It helps couples investing in their relationships by offering insight and education to build skills, have important conversations, and plan for the future.
Why does premarital counseling matter?
Premarital counseling matters because the work of marriage isn’t 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 of 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
- 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”
- Secular – whatever you believe in, we believe this program can work for you
- Designed for the modern couple – we supplement your experience with virtual tools to make sure you talk about things that matter in today’s world
- Fully tailored 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
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 tools and topics that might have been ignored in the past to reflect the current world. You’ll do sessions with a hand matched couples therapist and have access to Ours tools based on decades of research that you can use to make your relationship even stronger than it already is.
It’s all about being proactive
Traditionally, counseling was thought of as a place you go when there are problems. We disagree. 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.
Premarital counseling at Ours is built for couples who are getting married soon and want to talk about the big stuff. Throughout this journey, you’ll talk about major areas of your relationship, plan for your future together and spend meaningful time together, grow even stronger along the way. Premarital counseling at Ours consists of two major parts:
- Live sessions with your therapist
- Real talk: Intentional time as a couple
Live sessions with your therapist
You will be hand-matched with a highly-vetted and trained therapist who specializes in couples work. You can use your sessions with your therapist however you’d like. Some ways that couples like to use these sessions are:
- Reviewing something specific that came up in one of the Deep Dives or Conversation Decks
- Diving deeply into a particular issue or area of your relationship
- Surface challenges in the wedding planning process
- Get a third party perspective on your relationship’s strengths & weaknesses
Before each therapy session, we suggest talking as a couple about what you’re hoping to get out of the session with your therapist and share that with your therapist to make the most of your time together.
Real talk: Intentional time as a couple
Outside of your live therapy sessions, there are 10 major topics that the Ours premarital counseling package comes with. Each topic includes a Deep Dive and a Conversation Deck. We recommend choosing a timeframe (one month is usually a good target) to complete your exploration of all of these topics. The topics include:
- Mindful Communication
- Becoming Us
- Family of Origin
- Roles & Responsibilities
- Sex & Intimacy
- Practicing Financial Love
- Navigating Differences
- Our Future
Deep Dives are designed to facilitate your exploration as a couple on specific topics. Each Deep Dive includes a series of skills to learn, activities, reflection prompts and plans to make. They are designed to take about an hour each, but can be longer or shorter depending on how deep you go and how relevant the topic has been in your relationship to date.
Conversation Decks include questions to ask each other to have meaningful conversations. They are a lightweight way to keep the conversation going after your Deep Dive and can be done from your couch, on a walk or hike, in the car, on a dinner date… make it your own!
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 a platform and 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.