Pre-engagement Counseling

Updated: Apr 24, 2019

Q: What is pre-engagement counseling, and why should I consider it?



A: Pre-engagement counseling may look very similar to pre-marital counseling.The main differences are the timing and intent/goal of these sessions.


Often times, when a couple signs up for premarital counseling, the flowers have been ordered; the venue has been booked; the invitations have been sent; everyone has seen the beautiful photos of radiant joy and engaged bliss.


For this reason, it can be difficult - and honestly, a bit scary - to approach pre-marital counseling with open eyes and open heart. There is too much at stake. Too much to risk. If there are deep cracks in the foundation of your relationship, it can be easy to overlook them and hope they resolve on their own.


"What if we normalize the idea of seeking clarity before rushing into the final commitment stage of a relationship?"

There's a way that involves care and intentionality.ences are the timing and intent/goal of these sessions. Often times, when a couple signs up for premarital counseling, the flowers have been ordered; the venue has been booked; the invitations have been sent; everyone has seen the beautiful photos of radiant joy and engaged bliss. For this reason, it can be difficult - and honestly, a bit scary - to approach pre-marital counseling with open eyes and open heart. There is too much at stake. Too much to risk. If there are deep cracks in the foundation of your relationship, it can be easy to overlook them and hope they resolve on their own. "What if we normalize the idea of seeking clarity before rushing into the final commitment stage of a relationship?"

Let's paint a picture:


Juan and Maria* - gorgeous couple, gelato enthusiasts, Georgia fans (#godawgs) - have been seeing each other for about one year. They consider themselves a serious couple; they have spent holidays with each other’s families and have already talked about how they can support one another’s future careers. Maria sees deep potential in Juan and has started browsing Pinterest’s wedding dress boards. Juan realizes that he has strong hopes for Maria being in his future.


PAUSE THERE! Emotions are high and love is strong. I think this is the point where Juan and Maria might want to consider pre-engagement counseling.


Juan: “Mi amor, I feel like our relationship is going really well…”

Maria: “Yeah. I don’t know why, but I feel so comfortable when I’m with you.”

Juan: “Have you thought about...our future?"

Maria: “Yes, I have. All the time, actually. I really, really like you."

Juan: “What if we...go talk to a counselor? I know we care about each other, but I also know I’ve got some stuff I haven’t dealt with. I just want to make sure it isn’t going to come back to hurt us later.”

Maria: “I hear you. Plus, I know my family is still not sure about you. I think that could be something we should talk about. "


And...scene! What if we normalize the idea of seeking clarity before rushing into the final commitment stage of a relationship? Not slamming our feet on the gas pedal, making decisions solely based on the emotional high of falling in love?


So, what could this mean for you?

Should you decide to give pre-engagement counseling a try, three main paths become apparent:


  1. Green Light: You and your significant other receive confirmation that your relationship has a solid foundation and a clear direction. You are, for the most part, on the same page - and able to communicate through your growth areas. Go get that ring!

  2. Yellow Light: You realize there are a couple areas that need attention, and are glad for supportive parties (your counselor or mentors) that will help you improve or address them. You are at a decision point: further counseling may reveal if you simply need to slow down, or if your relationship may need to come to a stop.

  3. Red Light: You are surprised to find that you and your significant other are not as compatible as you once thought. Whether it be in finances, values, lifestyle, past choices, or communication... something is not its healthiest in your relationship and has imminent potential to become toxic (if it isn't already). Red lights require bravery from you: are you willing to let go now in order to avoid prolonged pain and damage in the future?


Look, I get it. This is a big ask! This is asking you to be courageous and step into the vulnerable conversations that will lead to a healthier life (whether alongside your Person or without them). But love, I believe, asks for more. It asks for more giving, more sacrifice, more attention - both on the mountaintops and in the valleys. Pre-engagement counseling is your time to test the relationship and see if it is ready for the challenge.


#engagement #counseling #proposal #premarital

Sadé Ferrier, M.S.

Sade Jovanne, LLC

hello@myintimacytherapist

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