We had to go to counseling with the preacher that was going to marry us. I think it was 2 or 3 times. We also discussed the wedding ceremony. That's all I really remember.
DH wasn't a member of the church. He tried joining, but the times that that class was offered didn't work into his schedule. After we moved, we joined a church together. His work schedule allowed him to take the class.
Yeah, you might want to make sure that your relationship/marriage views align with those of the church before you choose them for counseling. Lots of churches are not okay with divorce. If your church is too far, maybe your pastor can recommend another church that you could go to that my be a little closer. My old church back home had marriage counseling as a one on one (or two on one) thing. No other couples there. Also, do you both attend the same church? If not, maybe you could look into counseling where he goes.
Finding a good therapist for ANY reason is difficult and takes a lot of time. You have to find the right fit. I agree with talking to other couples, and maybe finding a book to read together. One that I loved was The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The concept was just amazing to me.
I'm sure there are enough people on this forum with enough combined years of marriage (and I presume no small number of divorces as well) that we could give you all the marriage counseling you need (and perhaps more than you may ever want).
Marriage counseling? I remember talking with our Catholic Priest a few times, but if anyone, ever asked me questions pertaining to something as personal as sex, I'd be out the door. Geez that is waaaay too much information.
Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.
First advice: Rather than spend $400 on pre-marriage counseling, save the money for a mini-vacation, gifts to each other, down payment on the first car you buy together, or some essential yet pricey item you need for your first home together.
Second Advice: If a church is giving marriage advice, it has the interests of the church in mind and if you ask me, far too often it puts those interests ahead of the two people getting married.
My wife and I have been together nearly 20 years. If we had gone to pre-marriage counseling by a church and they started asking nosy questions they probably would have told us not to get married if we had answered the questions truthfully.
...I don't like the fact that many experiences in the church require you share with the preacher your sexual history. I think that is a personal matter between the two in the relationship. Even if your sexual history is non-existent. Just bothers me...
Originally Posted by Em_Catz
...Whoa, sexual history? That's so personal...the only rationale I can think is maybe they fear one spouse is struggling with homosexuality and using marriage as a way to "overcome" it. Several years ago, my friend went to marriage counseling at my current church and she told me that counseling led to a couple breaking up because the man was divorced from his 1st wife and was there with his new fiance and the pastor said it's a sin to divorce and that in God's eyes he was still married to his first wife and needed to do EVERYTHING possible to try and get back with her before starting a new chapter.
His new fiance was heartbroken and my friend said she started crying during the group session.
I know I said about the topic of sex with the counseling, but I don't think the person's PAST history should be discussed if the couple doesn't want to. What's important is that moment & beyond. Maybe just scratching the surface of sexual beliefs to make sure both members of the couple are on the same page, that is, if the couple doesn't mind. For example, if the man wants a certain sexual practice, but the woman vows that she'll never do that, somebody will have to compromise or work it out somehow. In fact, if the couple doesn't want to talk about sex at all, no one can make them & if any counselor foists that topic on me, I'd get up and leave if the couselor kept persisting.
I personally have known my BF for so long now that we wouldn't participate in any counseling. But, that doesn't mean I don't think it's a good idea.
I think it's a good idea. I attended a pre-marital counseling program with my then-fiancee and it was eye-opening... so much so that we called off the wedding (of course it was far more than the counseling itself that led to that decision, but the counseling led to some intense discussions between the two of us). We were participating in a group program at a church called "Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts." It's apparently popular at lots of churches and created by Christian psychologits. You can buy the workbooks, one for the guy and one for the girl, on Amazon. If you can't find a program near you, it might be helpful to just buy the workbooks and go through the activities together. The group sessions themselves are less helpful than the activities/discussions in the book. I think it would be particularly important to do something like this if you are like me and my ex and haven't known each other for an overly long time.