I’ve been providing premarital counseling and psychotherapy to Chicago couples for more than thirty years. During premarital counseling, couples learn to communicate effectively. Each person develops greater self awareness and a deeper emotional understanding of their partner. In addition, couples gain insight into their relationship’s dynamics and an increased ability to work with these dynamics to build and preserve emotional intimacy and the long term health of their relationship.
The couples who come to me for premarital counseling and psychotherapy are typically two career couples with busy professional lives. Most are in their thirties. Some are involved in long distance relationships and others are bi-racial couples or couples who come from different cultural or religious backgrounds.
I work exclusively with couples who are motivated to engage in premarital counseling and psychotherapy for as long as it takes to build a solid foundation for the future. Good premarital counseling and psychotherapy builds relational competence. It helps couples acquire skills in conflict resolution, fosters understanding, deepens intimacy, builds empathy, strengthens emotional bonds and establishes a strong foundation for a healthy marriage.
It’s my belief that emotional and psychological knowledge of one another is necessary for a successful marriage. Conflicts about money, sex, child rearing, infidelity and a host of other issues are usually symptoms of deeper individual or marital problems. Good premarital counseling and psychotherapy addresses both the symptoms and the underlying causes of these difficulties.
After working with literally hundreds of couples, I’ve reached a number of conclusions.
- Most couples lack essential tools for a successful marriage.
- In healthy relationships the connection between partners is easy.
- Long distance relationships often get stuck in the ‘honeymoon phase.’
- Good communication contributes to sexual intimacy.
- Emotional bullying is not uncommon in marriage.
- Infidelity is often a symptom of underlying individual or marital problems.
- Alcohol is a frequent contributor to marital conflict.
- Many two career couples have difficulty moving from “me” to “we.”
Is Premarital Counseling Right For You?
Marriage is a complex relationship that deserves careful thought and reflection. The quality of your marriage has the power to impact your day-to-day happiness and the happiness of your children. While there are no guarantees, premarital counseling and psychotherapy are the best safeguards I know for building and preserving a healthy marriage.
What Are You Hoping To Gain From Premarital Counseling?
Many churches and therapists offer seminars, workshops and programs in premarital counseling. These cover common issues such as money, sex, in-laws, household responsibilities, religious beliefs, etc. All of these will provide you with an introductory exploration of typical marital issues.
However – I believe the best premarital counseling fosters deeper self knowledge, knowledge of your partner and good understanding of the interactional dynamics in your relationship. This cannot occur in a workshop or seminar format. Unfortunately, this is work many couples are unwilling to engage in until they experience problems. By then it is much more difficult to alter the patterns of interaction that have been established in the relationship. In addition, there may be serious problems with trust based on disappointing experiences, which erodes motivation for working on the relationship.
When To Start Premarital Counseling
The best time to begin premarital counseling is as soon as you and your partner know you want to get married. Most couples seek premarital counseling prior to and during their engagement. Many continue to be involved in counseling and psychotherapy through the first year of marriage. This is the optimal plan as there are many changes that occur in the months leading up to and through the first year of marriage.
Am I The Right Therapist For You?
Psychological and emotional understanding of one another at a deep level takes time. My approach is not for those who are seeking an overview of potential marital pitfalls. I think of my work as more akin to helping couples earn a graduate degree in marriage. This kind of premarital counseling process will provide a solid foundation and mutual understanding for your life together.
It takes bravery to be willing to examine yourself, your partner and your relationship. There is always the risk that you will uncover something you can’t accept or don’t want to live with. You may discover that your values, lifestyle preferences or interactional dynamics are too difficult to navigate. But you may also fall more deeply in love with your partner. You may appreciate them more. You may develop greater empathy and compassion and respect for their individuality. And you may experience greater confidence in your ability to be good partners to one another.
If you are sincerely motivated to engage in a process of learning and self-reflection that will help your relationship stand the test of time – then I may be the right therapist for you. I invite you to give me a call so we can schedule an initial appointment.
My Phone is: 312-771-2714