You may belong to a religious organization that offers (or maybe requires) free or low-cost pre-marriage counseling sessions. They may offer Christian counseling or other religious counseling. These sessions can be great ways to explore your upcoming marriage and how it relates to your faith. It may make sense to try a couple of additional sessions outside your religious institution to get an additional perspective.
Religious pre-marriage counseling is typically not conducted by licensed therapists. However, licensed therapists learn things that can be beneficial for anyone considering marriage, regardless of their faith background. For example, licensed therapists may have more training regarding scientifically sound communication strategies, effective intimacy, what makes for happy relationships, and evidence-based tools for dealing with potential problems. Check on common questions on premarital counseling.
There may also be things you are not comfortable discussing with clergy. For example, maybe you live together and have an active sex life and don’t want to mention that to your pastor. Perhaps you have different beliefs than your church and want an open forum where you feel comfortable saying so. Maybe you want to combine a religious perspective with a neutral perspective.
This is not to discourage religious pre-marriage therapy. On the contrary, it is probably a great opportunity that can only help if offered to you. It just may make sense as well to get guidance and feedback from a licensed marriage therapist. Those who do not want to or can’t get pre-marriage counseling from a religious organization are always welcome to do so at Cardinal Point Counseling. If you wish to discuss your faith as it relates to a pending marriage, you are more than welcome to do that too.
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