a Couple's Place

Pre-Marital Counseling

a Couple's Place

Couples Therapy & Marriage Counseling

Pre-Marital Counseling

A woman holds a key to her partner's heart shaped lock during a marriage ceremony.

Pre-Marital Counseling

Utilizing tools from the
Prepare-Enrich Program
and The Gottman Institute

Our pre-marital course includes a comprehensive assessment from Prepare-Enrich designed to identify areas of agreement as well as areas of disagreement about important aspects of your relationship.  It is not a test to see if you are meant for each other.  Of course you will have areas of disagreement as we all do.  In our pre-marital sessions we will identify the items you either haven’t explored or want to understand more deeply as well as the similarities you share.  We combine conversation skill building tools from Prepare-Enrich and The Gottman Institute to help you share your thoughts and opinions on a variety of topics.

The Pre-Marital Course
includes the following...
1 - 60 Minute Assessment Session
1 - 60 Minute Feedback Session
3 - 60 Minute Skill Building Sessions

The Pre-Marital Course includes...

An Indian couple celebrates their marriageAn Indian couple celebrates their marriage

Assessment and Feedback

We start by learning about the stage and structure of your relationship so that we can customize your assessment.  We  adjust for faith based or non-secular,  wedding planned or not, blended family, older couples and more.

After each of you have completed the online assessment, we will meet for feedback. Feedback is very interesting for most couples as there is usually a lot of curiosity about how your partner responded to the items.  We typically start by having you share off the cuff with each other the areas you expect agreement or disagreement.  Then we’ll start exploring together some of the answers you provided and, with our help, decide the ones you want to explore further.

Conversations and Skill Building

As we talk about your future together, given your separate personalities, conflict styles, opinions and wishes, we will be actively coaching and teaching you healthy communication skills from both the Prepare /Enrich and Gottman programs. The idea is to ground your conversations in meaningful ways to help you to turn towards each other in friendship, manage conflict, and discover shared meaning while respecting your individual differences.

A Sampling of Skill Building Exercises:

The skill building exercises below are some examples of conversation starters we may use to keep your communication healthy and positive.

A gay family with child taking a walk
Dream Within Conflict

In the research some relationship conflicts were solvable and some where perpetual. That was true for all couples. Perpetual differences have to do with fundamental differences that don't change much over time.  Happy couples learn to dialogue about their perpetual differences while unhappy couples get gridlocked. In The Dream Within Conflict exercise you will learn how to dialogue with a perpetual problem in a positive way that builds understanding and compassion.

Compromise

The willingness to compromise in relationship is very important. In fact, the only way you can be influential in your relationship is by accepting influence.  In this exercise you will both learn the art of compromising and how to identify the core areas, if any, that you are inflexible on as well as the areas that you are flexible about. You will learn to talk about your common ground rather than getting stuck on the "no deals".  This exercise is a wonderful follow up to the Dreams within Conflict exercise.

A gay family with child taking a walk
A lesbian couple fights about remote controlA lesbian couple fights about remote control
Learn to Process a Fight or Regrettable Incident

In this Manage Conflict exercise you will learn to repair an argument or fight. In this exercise you will take turns and follow six steps to help you have a second conversation that is better than the argument you had. Couple's who don't learn to repair negative interactions build resentment. All couples have fights. Successful couples repair them.

Gott Sex - Love Maps

The Gott Sex series was designed to help couples feel more comfortable talking about sex. It turns out that many couples in the research struggled when they tried to talk about sex. In the Sex Love Map exercise you will build your knowledge of your partner's sexuality by asking them questions (from a list of suggestions) about their inner sexual world - what they like and don't like, etc.

Negotiating Power: Who Does What?

This exercise provides you with a pro-active way to talk about "who does what" around the household and kids if you have them, or are planning to have them.  You will both have a chance to choose from a list of activities and to discuss in a positive way what your ideal would be.

A couple reducing stress by hiking together and creating a ritual of connection
Stress Reduction

The purpose of the Stress-Reducing Conversation exercise is to assist you in the management of daily external stress, stress that comes from outside of the relationship such as job stress. Research has shown that buffering your relationship from external stress is very important.  Incorporating the positive habit of having Stress-Reducing Conversations helps you turn toward one another even when you are stressed out. You will learn how to have this conversation so that it is a soothing one.

Create a Ritual of Connection

In this Shared Meaning exercise you will choose a ritual of connection that you want to establish for yourselves. It may be how you want to celebrate a particular holiday or it may be something done on a daily basis that helps you stay connected. You will talk together about what will be meaningful about this ritual for each of you, when it will be done and how it will be done, etc. The ritual of connection exercise is a great exercise for all couples and especially good for blended families.

A couple reducing stress by hiking together and creating a ritual of connection
The pre-marital course is skill-based in nature and not for couples who are experiencing domestic violence or who are in crisis.
Please contact Lisa with any questions or to schedule.