Premarital counseling is one way to intentionally evaluate your compatibility with your future spouse. Even if you and your significant other get along great with few squabbles, premarital counseling provides a safe environment for you to open up about concerns and practice conflict resolution and communication skills.

Why seek premarital counseling?

Often, couples rush into a relationship, never stopping to ask the important questions, such as:

  • How well do we communicate?
  • How do we deal with conflict?
  • Do we want to have children? If so, how many and when?
  • What are our expectations for sex and emotional intimacy?
  • Where will we live?
  • How will we engage with extended family, and what boundaries will we set?
  • How do our personal goals fit in with our relationship?
  • What are areas in our life where we are rigid, and where are we flexible?
  • How will we manage finances?
  • How do we align in our values and religious beliefs?

Premarital counseling opens the door to these discussions and uncovers possible hurdles. It allows you to work out problems before they occur and prepare for future conflicts. Armed with conflict resolution strategies, you can remind each other about finding a solution and defusing a potential argument before it gets out of hand.

Choosing Christian premarital counseling will combine faith-based principles with the researched-backed methods of Psychology.

Marriage expectations

How you were raised may influence what you expect in your own marriage. For example, do you expect your spouse to do most of the housework because you work full-time? Do you expect to have sex most nights of the week? When arguing, will you resort to what your mother may have done and storm out of the house or slam the doors?

Perhaps you have an ideal of marriage regarding your spouse. Maybe you expect your husband to understand your every need without being told, want flowers as weekly gifts, and expect patience at all times. Although these are ideals, they seldom all happen at once.

Your spouse is human, just as you are, and will not meet every expectation that you place on him. Likewise, you will probably not meet every expectation he has for a wife, either. This is why it is crucial to address these expectations now.

Dreams for the future

Have you discussed your dreams for the future? Deciding now where you will live can save you some heartache in the future. For example, if you plan to finish nursing school over the next two years, you may want to live in a city near the hospitals. Does your future spouse want to live in the city or a suburb? What does your spouse want to do?

Maybe your spouse plans to work while you finish school and then open his own business after you take a nursing job. Will you be willing to relocate to an area closer to his business?

Premarital counseling asks these tough questions and invites you both into a conversation to find solutions. You are more likely to skim over these hypothetical situations while in love, but counseling helps you cover these topics thoroughly. Learning to experience conflict in a healthy way, practice compromise, and move toward each other when you disagree will lay an important foundation for your future life together.


Money is often a pinch point for couples. You may find it difficult to combine income into one shared bank account if you are both highly independent. Will you share a checking account, or each have your own? What account will you pay bills out of, and how much will you save? How will you manage emergencies and investments?

Finances also include budgeting to ensure that all the bills are paid, you have savings in the case of an emergency, and you plan for other expenses like vacations and Christmas. Who will manage the budget? Will you work together on this or tell the other person what they have to spend?


Do you plan to have children in the future? If so, how many do you want? Does your future spouse feel the same way? Some people are surprised to learn that their spouse only wants to have one child, or they want to wait five or ten years before having children for various reasons. It may be that your spouse is building their career, finishing college, or does not feel ready for the responsibility of child-rearing. Some people do not plan ever to have children.

Parenting styles can also cause rifts. For example, maybe you want to follow a gentle parenting style while your spouse believes in more discipline. Remember that parenting styles may also change as your children grow. What worked with your three-year-old will be different with your fifteen-year-old. Talking through similarities and differences can help move you both toward a unified parenting style or approach that will save heartache later on.

Conflict resolution

How you handle conflict is based on your childhood, relationships in your family of origin, important life experiences, environmental factors, and personality. For example, do you ignore your future spouse’s behavior or words until it builds up and you explode? Do you try to keep the peace and feel run over most days? Do you explode with anger and assumptions, voicing your own opinion and refusing to hear others?

Conflict resolution is a skill that means that anyone can learn how to defuse tricky situations. But just like with any skill, you need to practice. Premarital counseling provides a safe environment to voice your concerns and practice conflict resolution.

Extended family and boundaries

When you marry, you marry into a family. If your spouse is close to his family, you may find that the extended family ignores boundaries. For example, perhaps your new mother-in-law is fine with coming to your home at all hours of the day and night. Or your husband’s brother borrows anything he wants at any time.

Setting boundaries should start as early as possible. Your extended family should respect your wishes regarding your private spaces and marriage. You may need to sit down with a few family members and discuss what you want for your marriage, such as peaceful evenings with no phone calls or visitors after 7 pm unless it is an emergency. In counseling, the two of you can talk through where you want your boundaries to be and how to put them in place.

Intimacy – physical and emotional

A marriage is built on intimacy. Both physical and emotional intimacy bring a couple closer. Both are important to the relationship’s well-being, but emotional intimacy will serve you as you age into your golden years. For example, you may enjoy an active sex life with your spouse for decades, but in the latter years, the small touches as you pass, the sweet words, hand-holding, and mutual understanding will carry you through some of the most complex parts of life.

To ensure you are ready, express your expectations in these areas. Are they the same as your spouse, or do you need to adjust your expectations? Build on emotional intimacy just as diligently as you do physical intimacy. If something does not feel right or you are uncomfortable, speak up. Your spouse should always be willing to work with you so that you both enjoy all aspects of intimacy.

Values and religious beliefs

How you walk with God and live out your faith will play a large role in your future marriage. If you are not attending the same church, it is important to discuss the kind of church you want to attend.

It is also helpful to discuss how often and how involved you want to be with the church. Some people attend church several times a week, while others mostly just attend on Sunday mornings. Understanding the expectations and hopes each of you has can be discussed in premarital counseling.

If you choose to marry a non-believer, you may experience issues several months or years later. Will you celebrate holidays the same way? How will you manage religious celebrations with your extended family? Will your spouse honor your religious beliefs, especially if you spend time at your place of worship or teach classes at church?

Are you ready to take the next step?

If you are ready to take the next step in your relationship, I can take you through the Prepare-Enrich premarital counseling program. It has been used for years to help couples identify and talk about the important topics brought up in this article. Reach out if you would like to have a risk-free initial session to see if this is a good next step for you, your future spouse, and your marriage.

“Love”, Courtesy of Mayur Gala,, CC0 License; “Couple and Dog”, Courtesy of Elisabeth Jurenka,, Unsplash+ License; “On the Beach”, Courtesy of Kobby Mendez,, Unsplash+ License; “Down the Garden Path”, Courtesy of Alvin Mudmudov,, CC0 License