Although I do not provide pre-marital counseling myself,
I strongly encourage all couples to do some sort of counseling or
relationship enhancement activities before they marry. The most
obvious choice to work with a counselor or therapist. I understand
that many couples might be reluctant to work with a therapist, but
the counseling can be very helpful for the two of you. Of course,
as with any profession, there are good counselors and bad ones.
If seeing a therapist does not interest the two of you, there are many other things you can do to work toward having a successful marriage. First, here are some web sites that provide some good questions for couples to discuss:
There also are literally hundreds of books available that can help prepare couples for marriage. Below are some books that I have personally reviewed and can recommend. Although none of these books is perfect, each of them has some very good information.
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, by Dr. John Gottman
The Ten Conversations You Must Have Before You Get Married, by Dr. Guy Grenier
Getting the Love You Want, by Harville Hendrix
Just Engaged, by Christine Murray
The Hard Questions: 100 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Say "I Do", by Susan Piver
101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged, by H. Norman Wright
Before You Remarry: A Guide to Successful Remarriage, by H. Norman Wright
Saving Your Second Marriage Before It Starts: Nine Questions to Ask Before (and After) You Remarry, by Dr. Les Parrott
A personal favorite of mine is You Just Don't Understand, by Deborah
Tannen. This is not a traditional "therapy" book. Instead,
the author explains the differences in how men and women communicate,
and the problems that can arise from these differences. The author
even discusses why men typically do not like to read self-help books.
I learned a great deal from this book, and I still refer back to
it from time to time.
Twogether in Texas
"Twogether in Texas" is a marriage enrichment program provided by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. The goal of the program is to help couples strengthen their relationship by improving their skills in communication, conflict resolution and other areas. The program consists of at least 8 hours of instruction, and it is free.
Couples who complete the program receive a certificate to save $60 on their marriage license fee. Couples also can receive a waiver on the 72-hour waiting period before being eligible to marry. For more information, contact The Parenting Center at 817-275-7576 or visit their website, Twogether in Texas