Below, our conversation about the importance of premarital counseling continues as Megan provides insight on her process and keys to setting the foundation for a happy marriage.
EP: At what point in a relationship should a couple seek counseling? Should they wait until they’re engaged?
MB: You definitely do not need to wait until you’re engaged to seek counseling. I see couples who are committed to one another and/ or contemplating marriage, as well as couples who are engaged.
It’s great to seek this kind of relationship-enrichment counseling if you both are invested in the relationship, want to develop skills to enhance your connection, process current or potential challenges, and if you’re genuinely interested in taking your relationship to the next step—whatever that next step is for you.
MB: Prior to the first session, couples will complete an online assessment, and the results are detailed in a comprehensive report outlining the strengths and opportunities for growth in the relationship. In the first session, the three of us will discuss the top issues to work through and will formulate some goals for our work together. Couples get to choose a counseling package that works for them, and we then discuss payment options and plans. All package options include: 2 Prepare/Enrich workbooks, 2 copies of the customized comprehensive couple report, and a complimentary 1-year wedding anniversary check-in session.
Over the course of 6 to 10 sessions, we review the results of the couple’s assessment and complete coordinating skill-building exercises and discussions based on the goals we originally set. The premarital couples counseling experience is often described as fun and insightful, and it provides couples with a foundation for effectively dealing with current and future issues. Couples can expect specialized and unique attention and direction based on the needs of their relationship – which may vary from other workshops or group settings. Everything we discuss is completely confidential and does not leave my office.
Throughout the process, I aim to help couples overcome any difficulties they may have, while simultaneously helping them to become closer partners, friends, and lovers.
EP: How does your practice address the ways in which religion and spirituality influence marital relationships?
MB: I have the unique experience of having a few theology degrees, so I’m definitely interested in spirituality and the ways in which it weaves in and through a couple’s relationship.
A couple’s spiritual connection can be an important part of their overall connection and compatibility, but it doesn’t have to be the whole of it. I encourage couples to embrace differences and similarities and to approach spirituality and religious conversations with curiosity instead of judgment or narrow-mindedness. This will make all the difference in the world! A healthy spiritual connection absolutely involves being open and affirming of one another’s experiences and sharing them with one another.
EP: Do you offer couples counseling services to same sex couples?
MB: There were so many! I think the best part was when my husband first saw me as I walked down the aisle. In that moment (and throughout the day), I felt beautiful, secure, optimistic, totally present, hopeful, and loved beyond measure. I often go back to that moment in my mind when life gets in the way and we get bombarded by things and tasks and issues. Years from your wedding day, it’s so important to be able to go back and remember how you felt at that moment—the genuine connection, promise, love, and hopefulness.
EP: As a wife, what’s the best piece of marital advice you give to newlywed couples?
MB: Have a sense of humor. I recently came across a post on Pinterest that read “Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly”. I love this! When my husband and I first married 6 years ago, I began a log (basically a word document) in which I documented particularly funny conversations or events we had. It’s so great to look back at these and start cracking up while remembering how it felt to be in the silly moment. While humor can often be a huge distraction and a tool aiding in avoidance of issues, it can also be incredibly healing and connecting. My sessions are infused with humor and I work at infusing my marriage with it as well.
Research shows us that couples who attend a quality premarital counseling program are 30% less likely to divorce than those who do not. I personally have sought counseling as an individual and within committed relationships and have gained an incredible amount of wisdom and insight about myself and how to communicate with those I love. If you would like to meet Megan and experience her expertise first hand contact her at 404.236.9730 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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