To pre-marital counsel or not to pre-marital counsel? (and if so, where?)

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Em_Catz, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Nov 18, 2012

    Sooo...DB took my dad out for beers and had "the talk" with Dad about his intentions to marry me. According to dad, DB said "Catz makes my heart happy" :wub: He's also purchased the ring already. (I think he's going to pop the question when we visit his family during the Christmas holiday)

    Anyhow, we've been debating pre-marital counseling. Both of us are interested in attending, but we're having a REALLY hard time finding one.

    None of our married friends did counseling, so they can't recommend anyone. One friend said her cousin & her hubby went to a particular counseling agency that she liked.

    I filled out their online application, then they called to schedule our 30 minute, free phone consultation. We gave them all our information (except credit card) and the receptionist swore she was going to send us a confirmation with the number and extension of the counselor.

    We never heard from them again.

    (I found them a little shady anyhow b/c it was $400 for their 4 hour pre-marital program. Basically you receive 3 DVDs, which you watch at home, discuss and answer questions about it with your fiance, then you discuss over the phone with a counselor. If you wanted to do an in office session, it was an additional fee. I can't remember all the breakdowns, but 60 minutes was about $175.00)


    I emailed another counselor that offered group sessions, no response.

    My church offers premarital counseling, but it's two 10 week long courses from 5 - 9 p.m (DB has a 1.5 hour commute, so he can get home by 6 at the earliest, sometimes 7:30 at the latest if there's subway delay)


    So my question is, for the married couples out there, do you recommend marriage counseling and if so, where did you do it?
     
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  3. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Can you find another church that has it? My church didn't have any on site but we were told where to go for 2 workshops. We had to travel but at least it was all done on Saturdays. We could not get married without it so we just did it. I hope you find something!
     
  4. geoteacher

    geoteacher Habitué

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    We attended our church marriage preparation sessions - and those included meeting with already married couples to discussion different facets of married life - but I guess I never considered counseling. Are there some issues that you feel need to be addressed that are outside of the regular marriage prep sessions?
     
  5. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Yes, we had those prep sessions too and could be considered as counseling just in group setting.
     
  6. Ms. I

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    I'm not married yet, but counseling is a good idea to get off on the right foot & hopefully help eliminate surprise discoveries later in the marriage.

    I think church is the best place if you both are religious, it's that faith in which you both believe in that will help guide & mold your marriage regarding what's right & wrong, such as sexual practices, philosophies about life, living the right kind of life, being a good spouse, etc.

    So find some church that has your same beliefs. Plus, churches shouldn't be charging an arm & a leg, like other non-religious facilities.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    If you both do the church thing, then church is the place to go for your pre-marital counseling. Find out if there's another, more convenient time and location where you can do your counseling together. Certainly you aren't the only two people in the world who don't live in the same area while you're preparing to get married. Your priest/pastor/whatever can get this information for you.
     
  8. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    We did ours through our church as well. It was helpful in some respects, but not really anything out of what we had talked about already.
     
  9. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    If it's something you want to do, then by all means do it. We'd been together for years before marrying and didn't feel the need. I can now say years into the marriage that there have been no "surprises" couseling would have caught.

    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.

    Also, it's important to understand that while you both may agree on religion, children, finances, and so forth NOW, people change.
     
  10. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    I'm looking into some other options because while I enjopy my church, I am willing to attend another for counseling as long as it's a Christian one. I think it's a bit ridiculous to expect people to meet on Tuesday nights for almost 4 hours, for 20 weeks, but I'm sure the pastor would say, "If you're not willing to put in the work you don't need to be married." :eek:

    It's so funny reading your quote because i just spoke to my friend and she said almost the exact same thing -- that while we are looking for counseling I should consider sitting down with married couples and just talking to them and getting advice. :thumb: Great minds...


    Whoa, sexual history?:eek: 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. :(
     
  11. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I think that's horrible about the couple, Em. :(

    Yes, the few couples I know who had premarital counseling through the church included sharing your sexual history. My brother and his wife met only once with their preacher and they had to share this. I don't believe it has anything to do with homosexuality, though.
     
  12. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    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.
     
  13. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    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).

    All of it absolutely free.

    So what do you need to know?
     
  14. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Yes, yes! Let the session begin! :)
     
  15. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    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.
     
  16. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    We won't be getting counseling, but we've been living together for almost 2 years. We already know each other's dirty secrets;)
     
  17. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    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.
     
  18. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Great advice, Sarge!
     
  19. Ms. I

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    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.
     
  20. thirdgradebuzz

    thirdgradebuzz Comrade

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    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.
     
  21. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Our church wouldn't marry us until we took the workshop. I can't remember how much it was...something like $150 but now I hear it's more than double that. I think it's wrong to force people to do this if they don't want to or don't have the money for it. We also gave the church a "donation" of $500 to get married there. Sometimes it seems like it's more of a money maker for them than actually helping people. All we got was a workbook and we did most of it on our own. I don't think I learned anything from them that I didn't already know.
     
  22. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    LOL! Okay, I'll take you up on that.

    1. Who pays for what and when? (ie: we go out to the movies Saturday night w/friends, then grab drinks and dinner. Does he pay for everything? Do I cover drinks?)

    2. What happens when he occurs bills as an individual (ie: earlier today he groaned b/c he has a $300 bill for comcast. He goes, "Crap, we've gotta take care of this." and I was like :eek: for a second because I am secretly squirreling away money to buy him a new laptop for Christmas)

    3. How will be eventually get a house? Like what's the process?

    4. How much money should each of us pay for rent? (my take home pay is about $850 after taxes, summer fund and $200 they take out for my savings account w/my credit union. His pay is like $1,700. The place we are planning to move into together is $1,490.)
     
  23. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    All your questions are about money. Maybe it would be wise to sit down with a financial planner before you get married.

    My hoosband and I combine all our money. All the bills get paid out of the joint account. There is no "my" money and "his" money. We both have full access to the account. If he wants to go out for lunch, he does. If I want to go to the movies with friends, I do. Whatever we spend gets deducted from the joint account. We each know the balance, and we don't make big purchases without a heads up to the other person--not for permission, but just to make sure that we don't overspend. When we go out to dinner, he hands over his debit card, but it's for the joint account that we share. For us, this arrangement is easy and stress-free. It works for us. It might not work for everyone.

    One of my best friends and her husband have separate accounts. They split household bills down the middle, each paying half. If he wants to buy something, he does so with his own money, and vice versa. They have had some squabbles over money when it comes to buying groceries. Like, she doesn't want to pay for half the groceries when more than half the items are foods that only he eats. They've also argued over money spent on the kids. If she take the kids to the zoo, she thinks that counts as a family/household expense, but he thinks she should pay for it from her own account. To me, their setup is stressful and confusing. For them, evidently it works (aside from the arguments).
     
  24. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    My fiancé and I are planning on combining all of our money. We plan on discussing big purchases, but not little things. I understand that combing doesn't work for everyone, but I think it's easier to think about it as "our" money.
     
  25. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    1. Who pays for what and when? (ie: we go out to the movies Saturday night w/friends, then grab drinks and dinner. Does he pay for everything? Do I cover drinks?) and 2. What happens when he occurs bills as an individual (ie: earlier today he groaned b/c he has a $300 bill for comcast. He goes, "Crap, we've gotta take care of this." and I was like :eek: for a second because I am secretly squirreling away money to buy him a new laptop for Christmas)

    It would never, not for a moment, work for us to divide expenses. It's our money. So, in both circumstances provided, there is no need to determine who pays...you pay as couple. I do admit that it's easier for us because we're very blessed to be in a good financial situation, so there is no need to argue over him spending money on this or that and me spending money on this or that. If you're not there financially, you will need to set ground rules. For example, how much can you two spend without consulting each other? We usually "casually" tell each other we spend over a few hundred. Much earlier in our relationship we told each other when we spent a hundred or so. That said, he just donated a $1000 to a scholarship fund he values. He made the donation then told me and I didn't have a problem with that. (Note, he did get a little something in return for the donation...it wasn't all out of the goodness of his heart. :haha:)

    3. How will be eventually get a house? Like what's the process?

    Assuming you buy the home as couple, you both meet with a loan officer at a bank and find out how much you're preapproved for. You'll need to bring various documents such a pay stubs...they'll tell you what to bring. Then you shop with your budget, fall in love (okay, maybe like) with a home, make an offer, and start life as homeowners. You'll both own the home and both be responsible for the home financially. The only reason to not go in as a couple would be if one of your credit scores hurt your in the application process. That's the ridiculously condensed version. When you're ready for that we'll be here to help.

    4. How much money should each of us pay for rent? (my take home pay is about $850 after taxes, summer fund and $200 they take out for my savings account w/my credit union. His pay is like $1,700. The place we are planning to move into together is $1,490.)

    Again, my personal take on this is that you pool your money and you pay rent from that. I wouldn't factor in how much you earn and how much he earns. I believe that could, for some couples, result in hurt feelings, a sense of greater entitlement, and then bitterness.
     
  26. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    You're right...I guess I've focused so much on finances because I've always heard that the two biggest things most couples argue about are money and intimacy. A financial planner is a great idea I hadn't considered.

    :hugs:Thank you for all the advice, especially about the house. I really appreciate the condensed version because I had no idea how to get started.
     
  27. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    You're welcome. :)

    It's probably another reason to meet with a financial planner now...not only for your relationship, but so you two can start making choices with your future in mind (building credit, improving credit, etc.)
     
  28. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that the key is to be truthful about what you want/need and to really listen to your partner's wants and needs. Try to come up with compromises wherever possible, but also be honest with each other (and yourself) about dealbreakers. If you want kids and he says, "No way! No how!", then you might have to make a decision that you don't want to make--either no kids or no him. It might not be fair that you have to make those kinds of decisions, but that's how it works. You can't count on a person changing in order to suit your needs and desires, even if you both really love each other.
     
  29. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Mom and I were just talking about how important trust it. She and dad have had some issues with that in the past and she told me that it's very hard to be happy and enjoy your spouse if you can't trust them.

    DB and I have a lot of trust in each other and compared to my previous relationships, I feel like we deal with conflict well. (we both grew up in households where our parents screamed at each other when they argued and both want to avoid doing that.)

    He actually ordered this book online that's called something like, 101 Questions to ask before you get engaged. We've been working through it slowly, by writing down our answers in a journal, then discussing them with each other.

    It's been really helpful but I think an actual person would provide even more guidance.
     
  30. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    We did counseling through the church. It was required to get married there. We did individual sessions and group sessions.

    We had already talked about things we felt were important, such as religion, finances, and children. We also discussed little things like household responsibilities, which seems small until they aren't getting done. Then it is a big issue. We talked about family roles and extended families. For the record, nothing we talked about in those sessions or in our conversations was our undoing.

    I am a fan of prenuptual agreements as well. It is much easier to deal with the "what if" questions when everyone is getting along than after things go awry. I never imagined I would be divorced. Ever. My family--and his--were people who married for life. But it didn't turn out that way, and several people said they never saw a faster or easier divorce. If you never need it, great. If you do need it, you'll be glad you had it.
     
  31. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    I am showing my ignorance here, but I am not very familiar with pre-nupts. It's basically an agreement that whatever you come into the marriage wiht is what you leave with right? So if he owned a house and I was living in an apartment, if we divorced, he would keep the house instead of me getting half?

    Do you update prenupts throughout the years as your situation changes (ie: having kids?)
     
  32. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    A prenupt can say that...but it doesn't have to. You have the ability to write it as you see fit. And yes, you can update it through the marriage.
     
  33. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    They can be set up however you want. A lawyer can help you with what you need. Wills are important as well.

    Laws vary by state, so a lawyer will be your best bet.
     
  34. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    My novio and I have just finished going over our prenup. Usually for prenups each of you will need a lawyer. Just contact them (family law) and get one set up. Our prenup is about 20 pages long. Lots of legal jargon. But it's basically the same thing written over and over again. You should sign your prenup at least a month before getting married.

    For finances my novio and I live together. We split everything. Everything is 50/50. EXCEPT FOR the debt he already has. That he takes care of.

    When we marry and move back to the USA we plan to have "yours", "mine" and "ours" accounts. "Our" account will be for everything. All the money we earn will go into it and that's how we'll pay for everything. But I will continue to have "my" accounts which is basically my savings, retirement, stocks, etc. It is not allowed to be touched by him. He knows that. I'm happy with pooling all the money I make from this day on with his earnings and splitting everything. BUT the savings I already have stays mine. (that's also basically what the prenup says)
     
  35. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Even the DH and I did not do premarital counseling I know couples who have and I think it's a great idea. I think it would only benefit the two of you.
     
  36. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    The teachers at my school the other day tell me that their therapist cleans the house for them. They further explained that they refer to their housemaids as their therapists. They're cheaper, and your house stays clean. (Seeing as 90% of all the fights I have with my BF are about our respective messes in our apartment, I can see their point -- If you're lucky, you might even get one of the wise old woman housecleaners and she would be able to give you better advice than a therapist would.)
     
  37. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    :lol: I like that.

    Thank you for the clarification.

    Thank you for clarifying and for the further breakdown of how you and your novio are planning to do finances. That's the thing that is stressing me...I'm not so much worried that I am going to be taken advantage of, I just don't want us to get in over our heads or for him to feel like I am taking advantage and using "I make less money than you" as an excuse not to pull my weight.
     
  38. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    We don't have his or her accounts. It's one account. Other then the grocery store I don't go shopping anywhere on a regular basis. I almost always check with him before I go shopping, just to make sure that we have money.
     
  39. sjnkate

    sjnkate Rookie

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    Nov 20, 2012

    Yes I do. We took our counseling through our church.
     

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