The wedding day is a day that many people dream about and imagine how it’s all going to happen.  It’s all very exciting and there’s a lot of things to plan for like what you are going to wear, the type of cake and flowers you will have, finding the venue, who’s on the guest list and on and on the list continues.  It might all feel very overwhelming and can keep you very busy planning everything down to the tiniest details.  However, the reality of married life after the wedding and the honeymoon phase could be a lot more different than you imagined.   Pre-marital counselling could help couples discuss various topics so that you don’t step into marriage blindly. It helps couples build a strong foundation for their marriage.  It involves having discussions with a qualified counsellor about many topics relevant to marriage so that you can improve your relationship with your partner.

What do you need to know before you plan your wedding?

  1. How to improve your communication/conflict resolution skills- Everyone has varying skills of communicating with others.  Good communication and conflict resolution skills are important for every relationship which involves a lot of listening carefully to what your partner is trying to convey both verbally and non-verbally as well as effectively saying what’s on your mind without placing blame.  It’s very important to learn how to resolve conflicts tactfully without resorting to shouting or totally avoiding which will eventually cause even more bigger problems down the road.  Couples can learn about how each other deals with stress, how to recognize the signs during such situations as well as how to work through it.
  2. Financial planning- its very important for couples to be on the same page about money and expenses.  Money can bring about a lot of stress for couples and it’s helpful to decide or discuss how to manage your finances in advance.  Try to have a set budget for your wedding day which will in turn help you be organized about expenses down the road.
  3. Family planning- many couples have no idea about if and when they want to have kids.  It helps to talk about these topics beforehand so that you know each other’s views.  Most couples assume that when they want to have kids, it will happen smoothly and quickly.  But, it helps to deal with the what ifs that might happen in the future.  What if you have to deal with the diagnosis of infertility?  Would you opt for in vitro fertilization (IVF) or other assisted reproductive technologies?  Dealing with infertility can wreak havoc on relationships both physically and mentally.  Differing coping strategies between the couples could cause conflict and counselling could help couples be there for each other without placing blame, feeling guilty and being more compassionate.  If you want to hold off on having children until later, would you want to freeze your eggs/sperm?  Pregnancy could be wonderful news but what happens after?  Would your parents or in-laws look after them or would you have to stay at home and give up your career?  Would you opt for adoption if having your own kids is not possible?  Do you have different parenting styles like are you a more laid back or more strict type?  These might be difficult or divisive topics to discuss but it’s good to know up front about your partner’s views on such things so that you can think seriously about what the future holds.
  4. Religion/faith- Being of different faiths or even in situations of same faith but differing levels of adherence can bring on conflicts.  So it’s important to discuss where each person stands and learn the art of compromise.
  5. Extended family relationships/dynamics- it helps to know if you are going to live together with your extended family or if you are going to be living alone as a couple.  What are your partner’s views about cohabitating with other family members?  How do you get along with your in-laws or even members of your own family?  How far are you going to go to help them out?
  6. Career and other responsibilities- do you want to continue working after marriage or after having children.  What would be the responsibilities of each person around the home?  It helps to know if your partner is willing to pick up the slack and work together to run the home smoothly.

There are many more things to discuss with your future spouse before you begin planning for your wedding.  Sometimes even the smallest things like how you squeeze out the toothpaste or which side of the bed you sleep in could bring on conflict.  Learn to let it go and don’t sweat the small stuff. Each couple will have different issues and learning to communicate well and work together as a couple can be a key to a successful marriage and these discussions prior to marriage could help prevent conflicts later on.