Congratulations on taking your relationship to the next level!
Sharing your life with a partner and making a commitment is an exciting and challenging adventure. It will invariably introduce you to new interactions and new challenges. It is a great idea to look in advance at the issues you will be facing in order to be properly-prepared when the time comes and to give yourself the best chance of making your marriage a success.
Maybe you have been married before or living together already. Whatever your circumstances, it is common to discover that you are attracted to someone who has some values and behaviors that are different from your own. Although it can be refreshing to be around someone with a different perspective that difference can sometimes be annoying and frustrating!
Pre-Marital Counseling covers the essentials of a healthy relationship. It will give you the opportunity to improve coping skills, trust and communication. You can discover and identify what you want in the marriage and what you are willing to give. It will identify areas where you are truly compatible and those that may be less so. It will give you the opportunity to address and resolve differences and issues between you prior to them becoming problems.
Together we will identify what makes marriages succeed or fail, how to deal with criticism, defensiveness, withdrawal and jealousy, how to communicate effectively with respect and empathy, how to avoid power struggles, how to keep the romance and spark alive and how to have long-term success in a loving relationship.
Specific issues couples bring related to their unique situation, will always be a priority in the counseling session. In addition to any specific issue the couple may want to discuss, Denise has also written a Pre-Marital Questionnaire to help couples identify common areas that couples find challenging in marriage.
On your first appointment, I will give you the Pre-Marital Questionnaire. The questionnaire covers issues on the following topics: Money, Children, Extended Families, Vacations, Communication Skills, Sex and Intimacy, Ex-partners, Work, Religion, Friends, Physical Appearance and Holidays. The questions provide a way to prepare you for practical and important situations that often come up in marriage. By addressing these issues a head of time, couples have the opportunity to be pro-active and have a better understanding how to work through issues before they arrive.
The answers and discussion that follows by reviewing these questions together, foster communication, and identifies the values and boundaries that each person is bringing to the relationship. By addressing these issue ahead of time, both people get a stronger sense of their partners views, values and beliefs. This awareness results in an even stronger bond based on love, trust and respect. Unknown challenges are easily identified and resolved, bringing an improved awareness and clarity to your new marriage.
Couples can do all of the topics in the questionnaire or choose specific topics in the questionnaire or bring in topics specifically related to them. It is up to them. Specific issues couples bring related to their unique situation, will always be a priority.
To get an idea of how the questionnaire works, an example is shown below. The first topic is Finances/ Money with the questions that follow. Again, each topic has several questions related to the topic for each person to answer. See how you do with the following topic and questions.
Questions about Finances & Money
1. Do you believe that it is important to disclose your entire financial worth to each other before you get married?
2. Would you expect your partner to disclose to you any personal debt that he/she has prior to your getting married?
3. Are you willing to disclose any personal debt you have with your partner prior to getting married?
4. Have you both already disclosed your current debt situation to one another?
5. Does your partner pay his/her bills on time?
– How much money will we have? From which resources?
– Will all the money become “our money”?
– If one person makes significantly more than the other, how will that affect you emotionally as a couple?
7. Personal Funds:
– What are each person’s personal monthly expenses? List (car payment, insurance, tithing, grooming expenses, clothes…)
– How will these expenses be paid for?
8. Do you believe in living within a budget?
9. Does your partner believe in living within a budget?
10. Who will pay for joint expenses such as mortgages, utilities, meals…?
11. Who pays for which bills?
12. Savings–joint or individual account after marriage?
13. Will there be a pre-nup? Why not?
14. Will there be a post-nup? Why not?
15. Is there money that is NOT to be shared? i.e. inheritance, trusts, stocks…
16. Will your joint income fund include financial responsibilities to other relatives (children, elderly parents)?
17. Do you or your partner plan for the future or live for today only?
18. Do you have life insurance? Who are the beneficiaries?
19. Does your partner have life insurance? Who are the beneficiaries?
20. Would you be resentful if your partner had someone other than you as a beneficiary?
21. Do you have the same financial goals?
We take care of things we cherish. Pre-Marital counseling is a way you can take care of you, your partner and your new life. I look forward to supporting you to have a loving, exciting and fulfilling marriage with long-term success and happiness.