Premarital Counseling

Help your marriage beat the odds.

Why premarital counseling? You are spending a lot of time, money, and effort on the wedding. So why not set your marriage up for success from the start?

No one plans or wants their marriage to fail. On our wedding day, we expect ‘until death do us part.’ Then why do so many marriages not make it?

Marriage researchers and social scientists agree that every individual grows up in a unique culture – called their own family. And each family has its quirks, traditions, beliefs, and rules of behavior. And since we are born into this culture, it is ‘normal’ to us. Now, no doubt that you and your beloved have found that your families are different in many ways. But what you may not know is that many of the family rules are so unspoken and deep-rooted that you may not have identified them yet.

For example, you may know that your family has a strong faith, and your partner’s family does not. This may not be an issue now. But have you talked about how you two will approach spirituality? Are you on the same page? What about finances? Are you a saver and your partner a spender? Or are their traits that you see but don’t love about your partner – and you hope will go away.

These are just some of the areas that can be covered in premarital counseling. Now is the time for you to explore and learn more about your life partner.

So yes – enjoy the excitement of the wedding planning. And make sure you know how to manage your differences and learn good conflict resolution skills. Of course, you will not have the same ideas about all areas of your life – your differences are a lot of what brought you together. But knowing how to discuss the tender issues in ways that bring you closer is what makes the difference between a so-so marriage and a great marriage.

Premarital counseling can reduce the divorce rate by 30%!

Do you know what is scary? The failure rate is not only 50% is for first marriages, but 67% for second marriages and 74% for third marriages.

No one expects it to happen to them. But you know what is great? You CAN beat those odds with premarital counseling.

Premarital Counseling  and Newlywed Counseling Can Help With:

  • Resolving old hurts, misunderstandings, and betrayals
  • Preparing for the inevitable stressors (inlaws, finances, work-life balance)

Questions about Premarital Counseling.

We only have a few weeks before the wedding – should we begin premarital counseling?

Yes! You can begin premarital counseling and then continue as a married couple. The purpose is to help you understand everyday marital struggles and have the tools to manage them and become closer.

How long does premarital counseling take?

Couples usually meet with their therapist for 6 to 8 sessions, although some meet for additional sessions to ensure a stronger connection and improve their relationship skills. After all, it is easy to talk about happy things, but when things get complicated, you want the skills to be able to get through those times quickly. It is better to learn the skills while things are still happy.

Does premarital counseling work?

Studies have shown that a few weeks of premarital counseling can reduce the divorce rate by 30%. This seems like a great investment! Of course, as with all therapy, there are no guarantees. If you have a solid relationship, why not set yourself up for more happiness and to “beat the odds?”

At Orange Counseling Center, we offer two types of Premarital Counseling – traditional couples counseling with relationship skills building as well as The FOCCUS© Inventory Premarital Counseling. FOCCUS© is a 5-step process designed to help engaged couples appreciate their unique relationship, learn more about themselves, and discuss topics important to their lifelong marriage. Each partner fills out a FOCCUS© Inventory (questionnaire) which results in a FOCCUS© Couple Report. This report shows patterns of strengths and areas that need a couples’ attention. A trained FOCCUS Facilitator counselor guides the couples’ discussion based on their FOCCUS© Couple Report.

How does newlywed counseling work?

If you are recently married, you might have noticed that misunderstandings and miscommunications are more frequent than you expected. Let our trained counselors help you resolve any old issues and help you with the skills to manage conflict and be on the same page about your life together. We want to help you build a happy partnership.

Do we need to have problems to attend premarital counseling?

Gosh no! Premarital counseling is designed to help you identify your strengths as a couple and to identify future (possible) areas of difference. And as noted, to help you with the relationship skills to navigate difficult times. Think of it as skills-building for the future.

What if premarital counseling brings up issues that might break us up?

This is a widespread concern. However, for most couples, premarital counseling brings couples closer rather than farther apart. And it is normal to be a bit nervous because of the depth of commitment you are making – and the usual jitters that come up with it. In a few cases, premarital counseling can reveal larger issues that need to be addressed before both parties feel comfortable moving forward. While this is certainly not the norm, it can happen, and processing them with a therapist can help bring clarity and resolution.

What do you charge for premarital counseling or newlywed counseling?

Our team of highly trained, seasoned marriage and family therapists have been carefully chosen to help you. And we will be direct here – if you want low-cost counseling, we are not your option. Our rates are between $160 and $195 for each 45-minute session depending on the therapist as they set their own fees. We are out of network providers for many insurance companies and are happy to check your benefits.

How do we choose an excellent premarital therapist?

Most therapists have been trained and are experienced with individual therapy. But sadly,  many psychotherapists who perform Couples’ Therapy have not been trained to do so. We have found through experience and research that the most effective couples’ therapy combines skill-building with feedback and insight on communication patterns and processes and often includes regular homework assignments. You do not need a couple’s therapist to listen to the fight of the week and act as a referee. These types of sessions do not teach you how to be better partners and are not likely to produce any long-lasting changes in relationship patterns.

So when you’re choosing a couples’ therapist, be sure to ask them how active and directive they are in their sessions. Finally, you should also ask your therapist how many couples’ or marriage counseling sessions they do every week. If it’s less than 5-10, they are doing couples’ therapy as a minor sidelight, not as the main thrust of their practice and they may not be as experienced in working with this modality.

Rest assured, the counselors at Orange Counseling Center in Newport Beach, CA have advanced training in working with couples. Each counselor has a full caseload of at least 50 to 75% of couples. You will be in good hands with us.