In a recent blog post, we discussed what premarital counseling is and how it can help couples prepare for marriage. In this post, we’ll be discussing the timelines of premarital counseling and what causes the duration to vary.
While there are no set rules about how long premarital counseling should last – meaning you may require more than three hours to reach your goal. Most experts agree that 2 hours per session for 3-6 months is sufficient time to make sure you have covered all your bases and gone over everything with your partner.
Here are the best resources that go hand in hand with this guide. (Available on Amazon--Start a 30-day free trial here)
- Preparing for Marriage Couples Guide
- Preparing for Marriage Leaders Guide
- The Meaning of Marriage-Timothy Keller
- Devotions for Engaged Couples- Gary Thomas
Not sure where to start with a premarital counseling conversation, start here.
In the same way, there are no set rules about what causes premarital counseling to last longer than six months. Even if your counselor is successful in helping you make a 3-months commitment to premarital counseling, there may be some situations that require the sessions to last longer.
Let’s look at five circumstances that might prolong counseling and what the therapist will work with you on:
Issues With Communication
When you and your partner cannot communicate effectively with one another, premarital counseling will probably last longer. The therapist can work on giving you tools to help strengthen the bond between both of you in order for communication to flow more smoothly.
We recommend taking as much time as possible to build better communication before committing to a lifelong relationship.
This is because strong communication will be the key to any success in your marriage.
Issues Surrounding Trust
Trust issues can often lead to longer premarital counseling sessions as couples spend time rebuilding trust. The therapist will work with you and your partner on communication, trust-building exercises, and how to identify patterns in the relationship that indicate a lack of trust.
Forcing communication may not always be an option when it comes to rebuilding broken trust. This is because one person might be resistant to communication.
The most important thing is making sure that you both feel comfortable in the relationship, and not forcing communication.
Going through an extra 2-3 months of premarital counseling with the purpose of trust-building will help make communication more effective – which will lead to a deeper commitment in your relationship.
Issues With Finances
The duration of premarital counseling will vary according to the nature and severity of a couple’s financial concerns. Couples dealing with significant debt or large loans may have longer counseling periods due to the work involved in creating a plan for their future.
Therapists may meet with the couple two to three times a week, and for premarital counseling sessions that last longer than six months, an hour-long couples session every month is recommended.
It is important to be as transparent about finances as possible with your partner before you get married – this will help build trust between one another and work together to create a plan for the future.
Pre-marital counseling does not cure financial problems, but it can help to underline both partners’ strengths and weaknesses which will serve as a support in the long run.
Issues With Religious or Cultural Differences
It is not surprising to find premarital counseling sessions that last longer than six months in a relationship where one partner has different beliefs and practices when it comes to religion.
The key here, as would be the case with other circumstances leading to premarital counseling lasting longer, is communication. It will help partners understand one another’s beliefs and practices.
It is good to marry someone who is of the same religion as you. See this post for more.
Issues With Family
Issues surrounding premarital counseling lasting longer can often stem from issues within the couple’s respective families. One partner may wish to please their parents by marrying someone of a different faith or culture, while the other is not interested in following through on tradition – this could lead to pre-marriage counseling sessions that last longer than six months.
It is important to make sure that you are both on the same page when it comes to premarital counseling – understanding one another’s beliefs and practices will help partners come together in their marriage.
Pre-marriage counseling should not be about pleasing or disappointing parents, but rather working towards a lifelong partnership with your partner who understands you and your beliefs.
Conclusion: How long does premarital counseling last:
Research has found that premarital counseling sessions can vary in length due to the nature of an individual’s or couple’s circumstances.
This is because pre-marriage therapy does not always have one set timeframe but rather it will depend on what work needs to be done with a couple.
Pre-marital counseling is not a one size fits all type of therapy, which means that premarital counseling sessions are different for every couple. It may take longer than six months in some cases to work through certain issues or concerns. This can mean premarriage counseling will last anywhere from two weeks up to six months long depending on the couple.
You should note that premarital counseling is never a quick fix.