View Full Version : Pre-marital counseling and successful marriages
02-08-2009, 11:19 PM
In answering somebody else's mostly unrelated question, I've thought up a new one. This one's kind of open-ended, I hadn't really given it much thought until now and I'm just kind of interested in seeing where the conversation leads.
For those of you who took pre-marital counseling, what insight/impact do you think it had on your marriage? Follow-on question: how long and well has your marriage lasted because of or in spite of said counseling?
My experience: mandatory RC "pre-Caana" counseling before I got married, so the Church could make sure that after 7 years I knew my fiance well enough to make the decision....anyhow, we took some kind of personality test which was similar to an MBTI, and then the touchy-feely "counselor" made bold pronouncements that our similarly strong preferences for Reason and Closure would lead to spontaneous combustion. 13 years later, our marriage is not a happily-ever-after fairy tale, but we're doing fine.
Seems to me that the idea of pre-marital counseling is good, that the tools are all there, but that individual counselors may be entirely incompetent. Were we both not utterly confident in our own judgment, this might have been a problem.
02-09-2009, 03:02 PM
The first time I did an MBTI was in a similar setting. My soon to be spouse was an ESTJ. We've been divorced for about seven years. A more stern warning similar to what acyckowski received would probably have gone ignored at the time.
02-09-2009, 03:55 PM
I think it's kind of strange to go into counseling before you get married... Maybe it's good if you have unrealistic expectations about marriage or are not communicating well.
As an INTJ there probably wouldn't be much not analyzed before I even made the decision to get married. Wouldn't need formal counseling for that.
02-09-2009, 03:57 PM
That doesn't sound like counseling to me. Shouldn't they be teaching you some skills to make your marriage work instead of discouraging you to get married? I think pre-marital counseling is a good idea for people who haven't known each other very long, some of the questions might raise topics that haven't come up yet or that they were reluctant to discuss.
I had no counseling and I've managed to stay married for for over 20 years. I did date my husband for almost 5 years before that though.
02-09-2009, 04:29 PM
Our premarital counseling amounted to one meeting with the pastor of my church at the time. It was totally useless - I can't recall a single thing he said. It was basically a hoop we had to jump through in order for him to perform the ceremony.
I sometimes wish we'd had some sort of personality testing (unrelated to the church premarital counseling) before getting married. Not that it would've swayed my decision, but it could've given me a bit more insight into how to relate to my husband (I think he's an ISTJ). Then again, I'm not entirely sure our personality types would've been the same back then as they are today, so maybe it wouldn't have helped. Well, we've made it 16 years somehow! :)
02-09-2009, 04:37 PM
I can't really say much about this from personal experience because I haven't been married, but I do know people who have went through it. And as far as I know, they're still together.
Pre-marriage councilors usually you more than just tell you that you should or should not get married (they could just decide not to marry you at all.) It's like going to any marriage councilor before the big problems occur, or so I've heard. I suppose every church is different though.
02-09-2009, 11:42 PM
I had to go through a whole pre-marital counseling course through our church before the pastor would marry us. it consisted of a couple of books, a few videos, and a scantron test. then, we had a sit down counseling session to discuss the results.
basically, it made no impact - because we lied the entire time. the "conflicts" were very minor... so he likes to watch tv more than me, are we really going to get a divorce over something so minor???
we did end up divorced, but it had nothing to do with anything in any of the materials we covered. basically a giant waste of time...
02-17-2009, 08:41 AM
Although my husband and I had dated for several years before getting married, I think we each made several assumptions about the other. We discussed our viewpoints in finances, religion, children and differing communication styles. It definitely made the transition easier for me.
02-17-2009, 10:01 AM
I've received no pre-marriage counselling, except for the free brochure provided by the state of Louisiana.
My marital advice is thus:
*etched in gold onto flaming marble*
The habits that you've developed as a good roommate are more important to your marital partnership than the prowess you think you have as a lover/friend/soulmate/whatever.
02-17-2009, 10:01 AM
My wife and I will be married 6 years this August. I'm an atheist and she's a sometime agnostic so we didn't have any church related hoops to jump through and went without any sort of pre-marital counseling. We did date for 4 years before we got married though. We also made sure we hit all the major topics: finance, children/child rearing, long term goals, etc... Like others have stated, I went through a few million permutations on my own before popping the question so I was reasonably certain about the decision. I think counseling is good for people who can't look at things objectively and from multiple angles, more most INTJs or really NTs in general that shouldn't be an issue.
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