Since You Asked…

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Dear Caroline,

My girlfriend and I are going to be engaged soon. Our church doesn’t require premarital counseling for engaged couples, but I think it’s a good idea. My girlfriend thinks it would be a waste of time. What do you think?


Dear Leon,

Since you asked, I don’t think you and your fiancé should start counseling sessions after you’re engaged. I think you should have a few sessions before your engagement. Here’s why:

Once you announce your engagement to friends and family, everyone who loves you will get involved. Your wedding planning will take on a life of its own. People will emotionally invest in your commitment, hopes and dreams. You’ll soon be handling details you may have never considered. Some will be major, others will be trivial. Overall, you’ll be in the spotlight, and you’ll be busy.

Add premarital counseling to those external pressures and you have the perfect storm, because after you have established your social status as a “future married couple” on all fronts, if a deal breaker comes out in one of your premarital counseling sessions, you’ll have a much harder time facing the facts and postponing the wedding or calling it off.

Hopefully, the two of you have no hidden deal breakers, but on the off-chance you do, the easiest and most private time to find out is before everyone you hold dear feels like a stakeholder.

Do yourselves a favor. Make some appointments with your priest, rabbi, minister or secular counselor and get everything on the table before your official proposal. That way, you’ll feel more secure in your relationship and the future resting upon your union. If you still have minor issues to iron out during your engagement, you can continue with standard premarital counseling for engaged couples, knowing the stakes are lower.

Wishing you years of open communication and happiness,


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