Updated: Jul 22, 2019
Throughout “Soon to Be Support” we will be asking other wedding professionals whom we trust, close friends, or former brides to write us blogs on topics they are passionate about. Months ago Rachel Butler, a collegiate sorority sister of Mallory’s, reached out to us to learn all that we do at Marmaros. We had a great conversation and took time to think through how we could combine our wedding coordination talents with what Rachel does - counseling.
Today we asked her to write a blog for us on Premarital Counseling - Rachel gives her credentials below but we just wanted to weigh in for a second. A lot of people have a preconceived notion that premarital counseling or just counseling in general is a response to something negative, but that is not the case at all! Talking about big topics before you get married doesn’t mean it’s cursed from the beginning, it’s helping to lay a solid ground before you say yes to a person forever or working on expectations so something small doesn’t become something deal breaking. Rachel gives four major talking points and a few ways to work through these issues that will arise in your marriage at some point.
Hi, I’m Rachel Butler. I am an individual and couples therapist in the metro Atlanta area. I am a graduate from the University of North Georgia with a Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I’ll be talking about Premarital Counseling below and how important it is to have a strong foundation for your marriage. I am open and affirming of all relationships. A few aspects of a healthy marriage I’ll be talking about include: communication, partner habits, conflict resolution, and financial management.
Communication. 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 you & your finances 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, 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
Premarital Counseling is crucial to make sure that you and your partner are on the same page with the above topics and other aspects of life. If you are seeking to complete premarital counseling or you are recently married, please visit my website at www.rachelbutlercounseling.com to set up an appointment with me. I work at Heal ATL in Brookhaven/Buckhead, Johns Creek and Alpharetta Counseling in Alpharetta, and online for those with busy schedules.
- Rachel Butler
If you haven’t picked up on it yet, we are big supporters of Premarital Counseling! Megan & her husband walked through it before they got married and it really did bring up topics they hadn’t thought about before & allowed them time to deal with them in a safe place. It brings a little reality to a Cloud Nine Experience and helps you take off your Rose Colored Glasses before saying "I Do". And as our Accountant (Brandon) reminded us, many states also give you a discount on your Marriage License Fees if you complete Premarital Counseling! We recommend going to Premarital Counseling with your Fiancé (and highly recommend you visit Rachel Butler for any counseling)!
Today we asked her to write a blog for us on Premarital Counseling - Rachel gives her credentials below but we just wanted to weigh in for a second. A lot of people have a preconceived notion that premarital counseling or just counseling in general is a response to something negative, but that is not the case at all Talking about big topics before you get married doesn’t mean it’s cursed from the beginning, it’s helping to lay a solid ground before you say yes to a person forever or working on expectations so something small doesn’t become something deal breaking. Rachel gives four major talking points and a few ways to work through these issues that will arise in your marriage at some point.
-Megan & Mallory