Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW

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"My focus is to help every individual make positive change happen - to help them create a better life for themselves. It is so fulfilling to be part of such an important process."

 
Marriage and Pre Marital Counseling

How do you see premarital counseling benefiting couples?

Too often I see marriages where clients call me either in a crisis or after years of mis-communication and struggles. It can be more complicated dealing with marital problems if there has been years of resentment build-up.

Building a healthy, functioning, framework for a relationship is important. As a society, it seems like couples spend more time planning a wedding than planning a marriage. Granted, you can’t really “plan” completely for what the future holds. However, being a team and seeing your future together as an empowered couple with enhanced coping skills could be fruitful.

Typical issues in pre-marital counseling?

Usually, I see two kinds of couples in pre-marital counseling. A couple with active issues or problems that they want to work through before marrying or a couple who is seeking relationship enhancement help.

Many times, issues come up within the wedding planning that are related to issues within the marriage. For example, arguments around budgeting for the wedding are usually related to disagreements with each other’s budgeting styles. Finding resolution or clear understanding regarding these differences could help prevent future financial conflict.

Typical situation where married couples benefit from counseling?

Unfortunately, couples typically seek out marital counseling when they are already in crisis. Possible examples of a couple in crisis might be:

  1. An extramarital affair

  2. Financial difficulties/job loss

  3. Substance Abuse

  4. Possible separation/Divorce

  5. When “anger cycles” become intolerable and more frequent

  6. Other issues…

However, I think that a lot of good can come out of a crisis. Crisis’ can be indications of issues that have needed to be addressed for a long time. However, it can be overwhelming to try to manage this on your own. We are very comfortable hiring a professional to help us with other aspects in our life-like T.V. repair. Why not our marriages/relationships? I like to say, “Just because you could do it on your own doesn’t necessarily mean you should”.

Making relationships work is part of what our struggle as human beings is all about. To help people in that process is very satisfying. Much has gone into creating this set of circumstances. Having a professional guide you through resolution can be very helpful. A marriage counselor can be especially useful when an individual or couple is feeling hopeless;or when they are feeling unable to resolve these issues on their own.

I had a couple who had come to me contemplating divorce. After counseling, they were having a baby and the dynamics of their relationship had become much more positive. They were so excited about the coming of this baby and their “new” relationship. This couple thanked me profusely and said that they felt I was partially responsible for helping them find this happiness. What could be better than being a part of that?

How best to contact a therapist about marriage counseling?

Setting up an appointment or consultation is very important. Realistically, using just a phone conversation or website as a window into someone’s style,expertise, and their connection with you is difficult. I always recommend an in-person meeting to decide if you feel “safe” and comfortable (or as comfortable as possible with someone you don’t know, yet).