DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Premarital counseling is a type of therapy that helps couples prepare for marriage. Premarital counseling can help ensure that you and your partner have a strong, healthy relationship — giving you a better chance for a stable and satisfying marriage. Premarital counseling can also help you identify weaknesses that could become bigger problems during marriage.
Premarital counseling is often provided by licensed therapists known as marriage and family therapists. These therapists have graduate or postgraduate degrees — and many choose to become credentialed by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Premarital counseling might be offered through religious institutions as well. In fact, some spiritual leaders require premarital counseling before conducting a marriage ceremony.
- Marriage preparation. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. http://www.aamft.org/iMIS15/Content/Consumer_Updates/Marriage_Preparation.aspx. Accessed Aug. 26, 2011.
- Marriage and family therapist: The family-friendly mental health professionals. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. http://www.aamft.org/imis15/content/Consumer_Updates/Marriage_and_Family_Therapists.aspx. Accessed Aug. 26, 2011.
- Nine psychological tasks for a good marriage. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/marriage.aspx. Accessed Aug. 26, 2011.
- Murray CE, et al. Solution-focused premarital counseling: Helping couples build a vision for their marriage. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. 2004;30:349.
- Larson JH, et al. The relationship evaluation (relate) with therapist-assisted interpretation: Short-term effects on premarital relationships. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. 2007;33:364.
- Markman HJ, et al. The premarital communication roots of marital distress and divorce: The first five years of marriage. Journal of Family Psychology. 2010;24:289.