Most couples spend months of planning and thousands of dollars in preparation for a wedding but invest very little time and money in preparing for marriage. This is a huge mistake! I encourage couples to participate in at least 6-8 sessions of couple counseling in which they will explore their relationship in depth.
We use a premarital inventory called FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understnding and Study). It is designed to provide a couple with a personalized profile of their relationship – areas of agreement and disagreement, areas of strength and those that need improvement. FOCCUS pinpoints issues that need time and attention so that a couple can identify priorities for reflection, discussion, problem-solving, skill-building and decision-making.
This inventory covers the following areas: lifestyle expectations, friends & interests, personality match, personal issues, communication, problem solving, spirituality & values, parenting, extended family, sexuality, finances, readiness, covenant, family of origin, and dual careers. Most engaged people never get the opportunity to hear their future spouse’s beliefs and thoughts about these topics. Couples who take the time to explore these issues prior to marriage are better equipped to handle the stresses of marriage.
Those who go through pre-marital counseling also have an opportunity to master communication skills that are vital to building a strong marriage. They learn scriptural principles of marriage in areas such as decision making resolving conflicts, and spiritual leadership within the family. To accomplish this, I utilize a well-known curriculum for building lifelong marriages called Marriage Savers.