Many couples spend weeks planning their wedding with little thought to what comes after the special day. They are so focused on the wedding day they have not considered to look beyond their wedding and plan how their marriage will operate.  Pre-marriage counselling can assist couples resolve to many issues prior to them becoming a major catastrophe.

Do you share similar values and beliefs? Do you both want children and how do you plan to raise them? Do you both hold strong or similar religious beliefs? Are you on the same page regarding finances, housework, parenting, housing, sex, gender roles etc. All these questions should/could be considered prior to marriage. Pre-marriage counselling can help.

Communication and honesty needs to be developed early in any relationship. Being totally honest with your partner about your needs and expectations can avoid problems in the future. Develop good listening skills while actively thinking about your partner’s needs as well as your own. When discussing relationship problems or issues with your partner try to avoiding blaming them. One of the most effective ways of achieving this is by using ‘I talk.’

‘I talk’ takes the blame out of communication for example: “I feel like this when you do that.” Rather than “you make me feel this when you do that.” ‘I talk’ is an effective way of reducing blame. With the reduction in blame, there is also a reduction in tension which can lead to hostility and conflict.

For any marriage to be successful compromises are required by both parties. One person should not feel they give in or compromise all the time as this may lead to a build up of resentment over the years.

Christopher Swane - Couples and Marriage Counselling - Wellington New Zealand