Thinking about marriage or committed cohabitation?
Some popular beliefs about relationships are more romantic than realistic. Nonetheless, these ideas continue to show up in all sorts of places, such as wedding ceremonies, magazines, and everyday conversations. There are many compelling reasons for investing in pre-marriage counselling (see last month’s post Before you move in with your partner…) but you might want to consider how it can prevent some common beliefs from sabotaging your relationship.
Belief: Love will conquer all.
Love can forgive, sacrifice, and support you through really tough times but problems that existed prior to marriage tend to worsen, not get better, after you move in together. Identifying sources of stress and concern and what each person brings to the table is one important task of pre-marriage counselling.
Belief: The two will become one.
This might be true for your dreams and sex life but, hopefully, not for your identities. A counsellor can help with safeguarding your identity and authentic ways of being in the world while, at the same time, safeguarding your partner’s too.
Belief: Sex is natural and will naturally be awesome.
Sex can be awesome indeed! But figuring out how and when to pleasure yourself and your partner can be complex and downright awkward. What do you do if you feel mismatched in desire or experience? What about pornography or sexual dysfunction? A counsellor can create a safe and confidential space for any questions or concerns a couple has.
Belief: Relationships complete me and give me what I need.
Partners are not mind-readers and many relationships end as a result of chronic unmet expectations. A counsellor can support skill-building exercises in areas of communication, personal agency and relational well-being, and how to protect and strengthen the “us” as well as the “you” and “me”.
Peace be to you and your household,
Shari van Spronsen, MC, RCC