Premarital Counseling & Coaching
Contemplating marriage?… Engaged? …Or perhaps wishing you were engaged?
Taking this next and big step in a relationship requires courage and commitment. In the past fifteen plus years, I have counseled over 1,000 couples preparing for marriage through the marriage preparation programs at several churches, and bring that expertise to my practice. As part of the process, I regularly use a inventory called FOCCUS, which stands for Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding & Study. FOCCUS assesses the core areas that all couples must address in making the commitment to marry, and thus becomes a great conversation starter – both in therapy and for the couple independently.
Core areas that are discussed include communication and problem solving – the foundational skills used to address all areas of the marriage. We also look at the “bonders” – the values that can bring a couple closer together or be the hot button points of tension in the marriage. The bonders include religion, children, in-laws, sex and money (yes, those issues we always hear couples fight about). Other issues discussed include personality and personal issues, and lifestyle issues (e.g., time, work, managing a home).
Building off the work of FOCCUS, further activities such as creating a marriage vision and developing effective communication tools are additional steps couples can take to build a solid foundation for their marriage. The goal is not to have every issue resolved prior to the wedding – differences are an inherent part of any relationship, and in fact can provide some spice! The goal is to have those issues out on the table, so that you feel good about how you will go about dealing with them throughout your marriage. This work can be done in individual sessions or through the “Start Right, Stay Connected” workshop which I highly recommend.
The one-day “Start Right, Stay Connected” workshop is designed to provide couples with the education and tools to strengthen their foundation for marriage. Over the course of the day, couples will learn about the journey of marriage, craft a vision for their marriage, understand how personality differences & conflict provide opportunities for growth (and not signs to run!), learn cutting edge communication tools that take advantage of latest in brain science to promote connection, and much more. The workshop is based on Imago Relationship Therapy, the groundbreaking work founded by Harville Hendrix in his bestseller, Getting the Love You Want, and now practiced in over 38 countries around the world. It’s a fun, informative and insightful day.
Why we know this work is important
Two clicks on the internet and you’ll see that 50% of marriages end in divorce. Keep clicking and you’ll see many other statistics that can lead you to wonder if whether or not you stay together is a mere flip of the coin. While many of those statistics are actually quite misleading, here’s two that are accurate and underscore the importance of engaging in marriage preparation.
Sadly, there is a spike in divorce rates early in marriage – in years 2-4. Why is this? Because the issues needing to be addressed now – living together as husband and wife, balancing careers and time, combining finances, dealing with in-laws, perhaps moving, changing jobs or having a children – become a lived reality in those first five years of marriage. As legendary coach John Wooden said, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
On the flip side, couple who engage in formal marriage preparation report 30% increase in marital satisfaction and lower divorce rates. Quite simply, it is because we’re talking about all these important issues of married life and learning effective communication tools to navigate through them.
(Newly married and wishing you had seen this earlier? Don’t fret. I like to say marriage preparation goes until your fifth anniversary. These programs are excellent for you too!)
For couples struggling to make the next step, couples therapy (and possible use of FOCCUS) helps to illuminate just where you are stuck. Often, it is what has remained unspoken that is keeping the relationship from moving forward.
1. The FOCCUS Premarital Inventory & Counseling Sessions
Contact me directly to start the process. You will be able to take the FOCCUS inventory online prior to our first meeting. Once you’ve completed the FOCCUS, we will schedule our initial meeting. Generally, I recommend four meetings to provide us ample time to review the results, identify your strengths and address any unspoken areas or concerns. While four sessions is recommended, we can meet for two to six sessions, depending upon your particular needs. Fees: $175 per session.
A one-day workshop developed by Imago Relationships International, “Start Right, Stay Connected” is designed to provide couples with a solid foundation as they begin their journey of marriage. This one-day workshop will help couples nurture the strengths and address the challenges of their relationship. In the workshop, couples will learn…
- to communicate effectively with your partner through an important relationship skill: the Imago Dialogue
- why you pick the partners you do
- what stage of relationship you’re in now and what to expect next
- how your brain is wired for love but can keep you mired in conflict
- practical tools for dealing with your relationship hot buttons
- to create a vision for your relationship
- ways to continue to nurture and grow your relationship
- to deepen your spiritual connection
3. The Premier Package
- The FOCCUS inventory
- Four premarital counseling sessions
- “Start Right, Stay Connected” workshop
The perfect package to make the best possible investment in your marriage! Fee: $899 ($1,ooo if priced separately).
Please contact me directly via phone or e-mail to discuss options which can best work for you, obtain further information, ask questions, or set up an initial consultation.