Premarital Counseling and Issues to Consider Before Getting Married
Many common problems face couples as they are considering marriage. Some of the more important ones are:
- Effective Communication
- Constructive Conflict Resolution – See Conflict Management
The other big concern that often faces soon-to-be-engaged or married couples is commitment issues.
Commitment problems and conflict are more prevalent than ever before in our society. In the past it was considered more of a male issue but in recent years it has become much more frequent that women have worries about committing to long-term, permanent relationships.
For the most part people have simultaneous needs for connection and relationship on the one hand and autonomy/independence on the other hand. It is when these conflicting needs paralyze individuals and couples that intervention is needed. This might consist of reading a good book on the issues or seeking help from a counselor who is versed in the intricacies of commitment dilemmas.
If these types of problems are interfering with your relationship you will need to know several things:
- How to identify the issue as a commitment problem.
- How to talk constructively about the issue.
- How to avoid the ‘running hot and cold’ dynamic or the push-pull dance.
- How to maintain your SELF while have a close, intimate relationship.
- How to resolve differences so that it is not ‘win-lose’ but ‘win-win’.
- How to retain important aspects of your life while having a close partnership.
- What are the underlying fears that drive the fear of commitment (Hint: It is not very much about your partner!)
- What are some active interventions to help you deal with your fears and to help your partner be patient and understanding.
- What are the phases that commitment issues go through and how should they be handled at each stage.
- What are the important do’s and don’ts that the commitment-reluctant person should be aware of and which do’s and don’ts should the partner be mindful of.
These are just some of the interventions that will help manage in a constructive way the myriad of problems that commitment phobias or issues can impose on a relationship.
Without help not only will your current relationship likely not succeed but subsequent relationships will probably follow a similar pattern.
If you are planning to get married, you should learn about commitment issues, how to resolve them and work with your partner to enjoy and prepare for a long lasting life together that you can nurture.