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Love (and Counseling) Before Marriage

Communication, partner habits, conflict resolution, and financial management.

Premarital Couples Counseling: 4 Ways It Can Improve Your Relationship

Premarital Couples Counseling is under-utilized and under-valued. It’s important to have a strong foundation for your marriage. A few aspects of a healthy marriage I’ll be talking about include: communication, partner habits, conflict resolution, and financial management.


Can you tell your partner everything that is going on in your life? Communication is extremely important in a relationship.

If you can’t share your highs and lows with someone, they may not make the best partner in the long run. Your partner should be able to be a sounding board and vice versa.

How to work on this:

  • Practice active listening and using “I” statements, for example: “ I feel ___ about ___ because of ___”
  • Avoid “You” statements, they tend to make the other person feel defensive
  • Use open body language and eye contact to show your partner you are listening

Partner Habits

Have you accepted that you cannot change your partner? This is a hard pill to swallow for some individuals. Their habits may be different than yours and you will need to find a compromise.

Such habits could be house cleaning, dining preferences, travel, laundry, hobbies, and more. Some couples may decrease their cleaning standard.

Others may make compromises to go out more often. Do you have a good balance of activities together and on your own?

Some couples, in the beginning, want to do everything together. Find some time to explore your own hobbies without your partner.

How to work on this:

  • Explore your personal passions and hobbies and get involved
  • Have a discussion about the habit of concern and find a compromise
  • Identify activities you can do together as a couple if there is a current lack

Conflict Resolution

Are you able to express differing opinions in a healthy way? Conflict resolution is needed to make progress in the relationship and not stay in the same fights.

Each couple has a different way of handling conflict that works for them. Some take a break to cool down.

Others make lists of topics to discuss so they don’t get off track. Suppressing concerns will build over time and can lead to nasty blowups.

How to work on this:

  • Find a time that works for both of your schedules to have a conversation without distractions
  • Identify times in the past that have not helped the conflict at hand and solutions that may work in the future
  • Agree on how you will both work toward the desired result together

Financial Management

Do you have a budget and agree on it? Setting a budget, if you haven’t already, can be scary.

You’ll be sharing your spending and saving habits. Although potentially anxiety-inducing, being honest about your financial situation can make sure everyone is on the same page.

How to work on this:

  • Identify how you value money: as security, enjoyment or status
  • Discuss and decide how you and your partner want to spend your life: big house vs. apartment, public transportation vs. nice cars, etc.
  • Identify short term and long term financial goals as a couple

Rachel Butler Dorneanu, MS APC NCC with Johns Creek and Alpharetta Counseling.