Pre-engagement counseling gives you a deeper insight into your relationship, and prepares you and your partner for the ins and outs of marriage, and the challenges you may face.
In this guide, we’ve explored two places you can find a pre-engagement counselor. After, we’ve explained a bit more about this type of therapy, and how it works.
Pre-engagement counseling near me
Below, we’ve looked at two places you can access pre-engagement counseling, to help you build a successful relationship.
ReGain is an online relationship therapy platform that provides access to licensed pre-engagement and premarital counselors. Using this platform, you can get help from experienced counselors to strengthen the bond between you and your partner.
As an online platform, you and your partner can get help anytime, anywhere, using your smartphone, laptop, or tablet device. Using the ReGain website or mobile app, it’s simple to connect with a therapist at a time that works for you (including outside of work hours). You can easily include your partner in these discussions, or talk privately with your counselor when you want to.
ReGain provides different communication modes to connect with your therapist, including text messages, audio calls, and video calls. Typically, you and your fiancé or fiancée to-be will have a video call with your counselor each week at a time that works for you. And in between each scheduled session, you have the ability to send text messages to your counselor – they will reply during business hours.
To sign up, you need to fill out an online form, answering some questions about you and your partner, and what you’re looking for from therapy. ReGain will then match you with the right counselor, who specializes in helping couples in the pre-engagement phase. Then, you can invite your significant other to join ReGain after you’ve signed up.
The only downside to ReGain is you can’t join the video calls from two different devices. You and your partner need to be in the same location to speak with your counselor using their website or mobile app.
Family Marriage Counseling is a nationwide directory that helps you to find couples counselors and therapists in your area. This website provides the contact information of licensed counselors who specialize in premarital, marital, and family counseling.
To find a pre-engagement counselor in your town or city, you need to select your current state from the main page. Then, the next page will show a complete list of counselors available near you. At this point, you will need to spend a bit of time reading each counselor’s profile, and finding someone who would be a good fit.
Next, you can contact your counselor to schedule an appointment at your convenience. Some of these counselors may also offer to provide pre-engagement counseling over the phone or by email, in addition to in-person counseling sessions.
This directory is a great choice if you live in a major town or city and want to find in-person support for your relationship before getting engaged. However, you’ll need to do a bit of work to find the right relationship counselor – you can’t get automatically matched with a therapist, like you can on ReGain.
What is pre-engagement counseling?
Suppose you have been dating your boyfriend or girlfriend for a substantial amount of time, and are considering engagement as the next step in your relationship. In this case, it might be the right time to consider pre-engagement counseling, before committing to getting engaged.
Pre-engagement counseling involves seeing a relationship counselor prior to getting engaged. You might like to do this to iron out any potential issues in the relationship, plan ahead for each of your roles and responsibilities in marriage, or decide if this is the right time to get engaged, amongst other things.
During the counseling sessions, couples explore a lot about each other, including their specific needs and wants from the relationship. Important aspects of the past may be discussed, to let each individual overcome any previous trauma they may be dealing with. Also, future plans may be discussed, to help clarify each individual’s hopes and desires for the future (such as whether or not you plan to have children).
These types of counseling sessions sometimes have personality tests to give both individuals a better understanding of their partners. However, if you’re sure of your compatibility, and think that these types of tests are a bit superficial, then you can ask your couples counselor to avoid using them.
Topics discussed in pre-engagement counseling
There are a number of different topics that you might like to discuss with your counselor during pre-engagement therapy. These include, but are not limited to:
Sometimes, couples only enquire about each other’s immediate family background, such as each other’s siblings and parents, and what they each do for a living. However, it can be worth digging a little deeper with help from a counselor, to help you overcome any issues that are rooted in your prior family experiences.
If relevant, relationship counselors may you ask questions such as:
- How do you view your parents’ relationship?
- What is your best memory of your childhood?
- Is there anything that haunts you from your childhood?
- If you have a chance to erase something from your memory, what would it be and why?
These questions help the couple understand each other’s emotional baggage, and your counselor will help you to overcome these types of issues. Partners can help each other by exploring past trauma and moving forward together, rather than waiting for these issues to re-surface once you’re engaged.
Likes and dislikes in each other
Most couples know almost everything about each other’s hobbies, interests, personality, education, and profession. However, couples seldom ask each other detailed questions about what their partner thinks of them. This can lead to tension later on in a relationship, which will be more difficult to overcome at a later date.
During counseling sessions, your counselor may ask questions such as:
- What are the things that your partner does that bother you, if any?
- What is a deal-breaker for you in a relationship?
These questions help each individual understand their personality and their partner’s personality. Opening up in front of each other with a counselor present can help to make sharing this type of information much more easy.
Future expectations and life goals
Future expectations are very important to discuss prior to engagement or marriage, as this is one of the biggest causes of frustration after commitment. Prior to getting engaged, counselors help couples identify each other’s expectations of the partner and their relationship.
During these discussions, you’ll explore each other’s expectations in a number of key areas, such as:
- Division of household chores.
- Career goals.
- Where you’ll live (whose family will you be closest to?).
- Aspirations about having kids, or more kids.
- What your sex life will look like.
- How much time you’ll spend together, especially if one or more of you lives a very busy life.
- How finances will be split, in terms of how income will be divided (will you share a bank account?) and how bills will be paid.
It’s impossible to plan out every little detail before marriage, but you can develop a much clearer vision of the future through these types of counseling sessions.
Moreover, through these discussions, the counselor can help you to find a middle ground if there are any disagreements, which may be more difficult without help from a third party.
Even after seeing a counselor for a long time, it’s impossible to plan everything out exactly. This is why your counselor might teach you some communication and conflict resolution strategies, to help you overcome any issues that arise later on in the relationship.
For example, you may be encouraged to use “I” statements to express your feelings on certain matters, rather than using a more accusatory tone that may lead to conflict escalation.
Benefits of pre-engagement counseling
Pre-engagement counseling prepares you and your partner for the rest of your life together. It gives you the certainty that both of you are compatible with leading a peaceful, happy life in a relationship together for years to come.
This type of counseling reminds you that a relationship is not just about love, laughter, fun, and togetherness. In fact, marriage brings with it significant responsibilities and challenges, which you will need to plan for.
Pre-engagement counseling helps the couple understand that searching for perfection in a relationship is not the best approach. In contrast, you can achieve a strong bond with persistent effort and never-ending attention to the details of the relationship.
Pre-engagement counseling does not necessarily mean that the couple is facing problems in their relationship, nor does it mean that you have to get married in the immediate future. This type of counseling helps couples to understand each other better.
It’s often a good idea to do this prior to getting engaged, because there can be significant social stigma attached to breaking off an engagement, having already made a commitment to one another.
Pre-engagement counseling vs premarital counseling
There are a number of differences between pre-engagement counseling and premarital counseling, although they share similar goals.
Pre-engagement counseling often covers more ground
Pre-engagement counseling covers almost all aspects of a relationship, rather than focusing specifically on marriage. Thus, it allows you to discuss all of the thoughts, misunderstandings, questions, or issues related to your relationship with your therapist.
The pressure of commitment
Though premarital counseling also focuses on resolving any relationship issues, couples attending premarital counseling often have a lot of wedding-related thoughts on their minds. Thus, it can seem more difficult to follow your therapist’s advice in premarital counseling. For example, if they give you homework to do together, you might not have time if you’re planning a wedding.
Moreover, it’s easier for both the partners in pre-engagement therapy to talk openly about their hopes, fears, and expectations without considering their partners’ emotions. This is because you haven’t yet made the commitment to get married at this stage.
Pre-engagement counseling may discuss compatibility in more detail
Since you have not yet agreed to get married, in pre-engagement counseling, you may spend more time discussing any compatibility issues with your partner, compared to premarital counseling.
However, if you are certain of your compatibility with your partner, you don’t have to discuss this in pre-engagement counseling if you don’t want to. Simply let your counselor know that you’re looking to talk about whether it’s the right time to get married, or your roles and responsibilities post-marriage, or any other relationship-related topics that the two of you want to discuss.
Pre-engagement counseling gives you more space and time to understand each other, your goals for the future, and expectations post-engagement.
If you are in a relationship and are considering asking your partner to be your fiancé or fiancée, pre-engagement counseling sessions can help you establish a stronger bond with your partner while planning for the future, under the guidance of a licensed professional relationship counselor.
If you’re still not sure where to find the right pre-engagement counselor for you and your boyfriend/girlfriend, feel free to leave a comment below, and we’ll help out.
About the author
When people experience mental trauma or face severe stress, their lives can unravel. My job is to help begin the healing process. I help my patients improve their mental health, strengthen relationships with others, and begin to overcome past traumas. I practice a large range of psycho-behavioral therapies, and have more than three years’ experience in clinical psychology and counseling.
In my spare time, I’m also a professional writer who spreads awareness about mental health issues. I have written many articles on this topic over the years for numerous different publications.
My educational background includes an M.B.B.S from the University of Health and Sciences, Lahore, majoring in Behavioral Sciences, and a Bachelors from G.C University, Faisalabad.