Category: Ready To Get Married

premarital counseling Alexandria VA

Newly Engaged? Why Premarital Counseling Can Prepare You for a Happier Life Ahead

If you’re newly engaged, you may be spending a lot of your time planning the wedding. But while you’re focusing on the flowers and the flavor of the cake, here’s why it’s good to spend time preparing for your life together, too.

One of the best ways to fulfill a promising future together is through premarital counseling. Why not go into your life together, already prepared to face life’s challenges in ways that help you both grow?

Some of the top issues that emerge in the first years of marriage include:

  • Discovering the unspoken expectations we all have, about what married life should look like
  • Developing a stronger sense of “us”
  • Struggling to communicate and resolve differences
  • Feeling like your partner’s personal habits are driving you crazy
  • Feeling under-appreciated, taken for granted
  • Dealing with debt or financial problems

Counseling before your marriage helps you focus positively on your ability to communicate, to preserve the love you already have, and deepen the health and wellbeing in your most important relationship.

Who is Premarital Counseling For?

Premarital … Come Read the Rest

Couple able to repair relationship

Finding Love: Good Signs That Your Relationship Is Right For Deeper Commitment

The transition from casual friendship to love to commitment is powered by emotion for many people. Does the “rush” mean it’s all good?  What happens when big gaps appear in how you understand and know each other? It’s hard to know ahead of time what really matters in making a good choice to get more serious.  Strong attractions? Compatible tastes and dreams? Shared interests? Similar backgrounds? Traditional gender roles? Let’s explore both the emotions which are the glue, and also step back to look at the larger picture.

Unveiling the Mystery of True Love

We used to think love was a mystery. Our high divorce rate shows that having a thriving marriage IS a mystery and is difficult for a lot of people. That’s because we often don’t know our own fearful spots, the ones that send an alarm to our hearts: I’m not loved or lovable, I’m not safe, I’m scared.

Which leads us to the biggest clue that love can thrive in your relationship: do I feel emotionally safe with my partner? Does … Come Read the Rest

Building a Great Marriage: Become a team at the start

If you are in the midst of planning your wedding, you are probably already facing some issues that test your commitment and communication as a couple, even before you say “I do.” Wedding planning can be your first important effort to work with your partner as a true team. You will have to find out what’s important to each of you in the ceremony and celebration, and do the same for each of your families. Of course you want to give your marriage a strong and harmonious start. And, wow, can the feelings run high!

Who’s In Charge?

And whose dreams will be played out? Weddings touch on so many parts of our lives: finishing the move from childhood to adulthood, bringing our families together, and providing a sense of where we belong. And, do you want a wedding and a big party, or a marriage? What are you expressing in the way you wed? Can you articulate your dreams and expectations to each other, before talking with your families?

Often the first challenge you … Come Read the Rest

How to Know if Your Partner is ‘The One’

If you are thinking about getting married, you may wonder what to base your decision on. Do you look at how happy you feel with your partner today, and how much you have in common?  If you feel you have found your soul mate, is that enough to decide this person is “The One”?

Are You Ready to Get Married?

“There is no perfect lover. That is only in the movies,” says Dr. Susan Johnson, bestselling author of Hold Me Tight. But we may want to believe that in real life, too, we can find the perfect mate. Our longing for attachment is inborn – we are built to bond, says Johnson. So when we find a person who fulfills our longing for love, and someone who is fun and compatible, we may feel like we’ve found “the one” ideal mate. We may decide to choose this person as our life partner based on faith that such complete happiness and fulfillment will last.

But how important is compatibility in the beginning to a happy … Come Read the Rest

Why Are the First Years of Marriage so Hard? 5 Tips for a Strong Love

The love at the core of any marriage needs frequent renewal to be sturdy. It is a continual work-in-progress. And with the divorce rate over 50%, newly married couples may worry whether they have what it takes to make it through the first rough patches, and build a happy relationship that endures.

In order for a marriage to last, couples need to maintain emotional connectedness and remain responsive to one another.

Responsive Partners Grow Strong

After your married life together begins, your attentiveness to each other is bound to wane. This becomes a problem when, instead of recognizing and addressing this, you let resentment and disconnection grow. This happens when partners are not sure how to talk about their needs and concerns with each other.

Establishing healthy, positive interactions and building on goodwill is crucial. Psychologist Dr. John Gottman discovered the key importance of respect, humor and fondness to the success of a long and happy marriage. His long-term study of couples shows that maintaining a deep understanding of your partner’s history, dreams, likes and … Come Read the Rest

3 Things To Ask Yourself and Your Partner Before Getting Married

You have met someone special, and are at a point where you want to make a happy marriage part of your life.  Now you may be asking yourself some serious questions to help you determine if this person and this relationship is right for you.

But how can you know ahead of time what the future will be like with the partner you have in mind?

In working as a marriage and family therapist, and talking with people who have achieved happiness in marriage, I have thought a lot about what questions to ask before you say “I Do.” Here are three questions to help you make this important decision:

Can We Talk Things Through?

Can you talk to each other openly about anything?  It’s true that some minor topics may be of small interest to one of you and big to another, but what about issues that are more important to you? When it comes to bringing up a problem between you that you need to work out, how does this go? It’s important … Come Read the Rest