What is Premarital Counseling & how does it work?


What is Premarital Counseling & how does it work?

Every year, over 2 million people get married in the United States. Plenty of couples choose to tie the knot, but many of them fail to seek premarital counseling before doing so.


There’s a lot of confusion out there regarding premarital counseling, how it works, and the benefits it has to offer. These questions, and others about premarital counseling, are discussed in more detail below.


What Is Premarital Counseling?

Premarital counseling is a unique form of counseling. As the name suggests, it is geared toward couples getting ready for marriage.


This type of counseling can help partners to learn more about each other, assess their compatibility, and ensure that their relationship is strong and healthy. It can also help them to identify potential weaknesses that could hinder their ability to have a lasting marriage.


What Topics Are Covered in Premarital Counseling?

Couples and counselors work through a variety of topics during their Premarital Counseling sessions. The following are some common issues that tend to come up:


  • What marriage means to each partner
  • Individual goals
  • Combined couple goals
  • Expectations for the relationship (how many children each person would like to have, the roles each person will play in running the household, etc.)
  • Expectations regarding finances
  • Living arrangements (where each person wants to live, the kind of home life they want to have, etc.)
  • Plans and expectations for resolving conflicts



Is Premarital Counseling Religious?

Some religious leaders offer premarital counseling. Certain religions may even require couples to complete a specific number of counseling sessions before their marriage can take place and be recognized by the church.


However, premarital counseling doesn’t have to take place in a religious context. Plenty of traditional counselors also offer premarital counseling services, including Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (or LMFTs).


At ALL IN Therapy Clinic, we do not offer religious-based services. However, many of our couples counselors are Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists.


How Much Does Premarital Counseling Cost?

If a couple is receiving premarital counseling from a church leader, it may be available to them free of charge.


When seeking counseling from a therapist or another type of counselor, costs typically range (according to the most recent national averages) from about $125 to $175 per hour. Some counselors may offer a discount if couples book a certain number of sessions, though.


Does Insurance Cover Premarital Counseling?

Marriage counseling and premarital counseling typically aren’t covered by insurance. This is because “relationship issues” aren’t considered mental health diagnoses.


There are some potential ways to work around this, such as using out-of-network benefits. However, most people end up paying out of pocket for their premarital counseling.


It can be expensive to pay out of pocket up front. The advantages outweigh the costs for many couples, though.


If Premarital Counseling is part of a client’s overall mental health counseling, Premarital Counseling may be covered by insurance.


How Long Does Premarital Counseling Last?

Premarital counseling generally lasts for about 8-10 weeks. The couple and counselor meet once per week, on average.


Some couples might choose to speed up the process and meet twice a week for a shorter period of time, or they might extend it if they plan on having a long engagement.


When they schedule their first session, the couple and therapist can work together to figure out a timeline that works well for everyone.


What Is Prepare/Enrich Counseling?

Prepare/Enrich Counseling can be used for premarital sessions, couples counseling sessions, family therapy, and more.


Prepare/Enrich counseling starts with a customized couples assessment that identifies two people’s strengths, as well as the areas in which growth is needed. The assessment covers a variety of topics, including the following:

  • Communication
  • Conflict resolution
  • Partner roles
  • Sexuality
  • Financial management
  • Spiritual beliefs
  • Personality
  • Couple and family dynamics
  • Relationship roles


Based on the assessment results, a facilitator (who has received specific training in the Prepare/Enrich methodology) will then provide feedback sessions.


During these sessions, they’ll discuss the couple’s results, offer guidance, and teach relationship skills that will help them to navigate the ups and downs of marriage.

Is Premarital Counseling Worth It?

Most couples say that, yes, premarital counseling is worth it. They’ve found it to be beneficial to their marriage and would recommend it to others.

The following are some of the most noteworthy reasons why a couple might consider premarital counselling:


Improved Communication Skills

According to a report published in the journal PLOS ONE, a lack of communication is one of the most common reasons for divorce. Fortunately, many people who attend premarital counseling find that their ability to communicate with their partner improves.


Couples counselors have years of experience and education under their belts. They know what is needed to improve couples’ communication and teach them about different communication.


Learn to Confront Challenges Head-On

Premarital counseling gives couples a chance to identify and address potential challenges head-on.

For example, if each partner has a different idea about how finances should be handled, they should address these differences before getting married. This is better than after when they go to the bank to create a joint checking account.

With the counselor’s help, the partners can talk through these obstacles and come up with a solution that works for everyone. In many ways, Premarital Counseling is as effective as Marriage Counseling and Discernment Counseling.


Plans for the Future

Premarital counseling allows couples to create a clearer vision of what they want for the future, too. They can talk to each other and to their therapist about their goals and dreams. Then, they can work together to create a plan for how they’re going to achieve them.


Learn More About Each Other

When they attend premarital counseling, partners can learn more about each other before they commit to spending the rest of their lives together.


Two partners might assume they know everything there is to know. However, when they sit down and start talking to the counselor, they may learn answers to questions they never would have thought to ask.


Increased Marriage Satisfaction

Some research shows that couples who go through premarital counseling are more likely to have happier marriages. This, in turn, can reduce their chances of getting divorced later on.


This study published in the journal Family Relations, for example, revealed that couples who completed some type of premarital counseling experienced a 30 percent increase in marital satisfaction compared to couples that didn’t go through counseling.

Disclaimer: ALL IN Therapy Clinic aims to improve people's lives through providing effective mental health counseling by passionate professionals. We publish quality material for your own education. Our publications are researched, cited, reviewed, and edited by licensed mental health professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.