Premarital Counseling and Coaching: For Lesbian Marriages
Are you ready to get married?
The single greatest investment you will make in this life is in your primary love relationship. For lesbian and gay couples, this has not traditionally included a legal marriage. However, times, they are a changing. Lesbian marriages and gay marriages are as available to all US citizens today as they are heterosexual marriages.
How well you invest in your relationship will determine the type of return you can expect, or more specifically, the type of life you can expect to have together. When love feels good, life feels good. When love feels bad, life feels bad. How do you determine whether or not you are making the right investment with the partner you are considering marrying? Have you done your premarital homework? Are you prepared for marriage?
What is premarital counseling?
Premarital counseling for couples planning to wed is like a lamaze class is for new parents. Though, we don’t typically lay on the floor or practice heavy breathing techniques. Instead, we focus on the shoring up your respective basic perceptions about what you are committing to in your upcoming nuptials. Getting married is a bit like giving birth to something, though hopefully less painful, you do end up with something new to take care of: your relationship. Premarital counseling helps you gain confidence and clarity around your decision to marry; clarify, communicate and commit to shared expectations; address any known or uncovered discrepancies in your vision for the future; and an overview of your relational strengths and challenges, with suggestions for how to strengthen your relationship.
What if we don’t live in Indiana, but we want to work with you – can you do premarital coaching online?
Yes. I can offer both premarital counseling and coaching. I use a HIPPA approved client portal at omaratime.com, though some couples still prefer Skype or FaceTime because the do not have HIPPA privacy concerns. That is your choice.
Coaching is generally the same idea as counseling, only it does not pathologize concerns into diagnosable issues. Coaching is a process that values a persons story and recognizes that the possibilities are unlimited. There is no assumption that there is a mental health issue to be addressed. Coaching is my preferred way to work with people because I am not a fan of labeling anyone. Labels seem to harm more than help. Furthermore, not all states will allow me to pracitice via the internet or online counseling without having a license from their state. This varies from state to state. However, because premarital care is about strengthening skills, learning about challenges, and preparing for marriage, this is not typically a reimbursable service through insurance, therefore it naturally falls more in the coaching category, which and I can provide premarital coaching in any state; this is not prohibited.
When is the right time to do premarital counseling?
Ideally, you will begin thinking about premarital counseling as soon as you accept a marriage proposal, or have your proposal accepted. This is a process that can occur slowly for a period of a few months, or quickly with a few sessions close together. It is also an option to do an intensive session where you commit to a one-day experience (typically 4 – 6 hours depending on your perceived need).
Is this done in a group or just with the couple?
Premarital counseling can be done in a group setting or individually. Currently, all premarital therapy is provided with individual couples.
How does premarital counseling for a lesbian marriage differ from other premarital counseling?
The actual process does not vary at all. What varies is what differentiates lesbian relationship issues from heterosexual or gay male relationship issues. There are issues that are more prevalent for lesbians than with other couple dyads (sexual frequency, differing levels of being “out” at work and in life, concerns about equal contributions financially, and often different concerns with family of origin around being gay, etc). There are also strengths that often show up differently in couples planning for a lesbian marriage (such as greater equality in division of labor, comfort communicating, ease of affection, and often better conflict resolution abilities).
How much can we plan to learn in premarital counseling?
We must add new information to gain new perspectives. You will have the opportunity to learn as much as you wish. In addition to the sessions, you will be provided with homework assignments such as worksheets, mini assessments inquiring about your perception of your relationship, and reading suggestions (should you want them).
What can will we be addressed in premarital counseling?
This first session, ideally an 85 minute session, will Include the following:
- assessment of the current status of your relationship,
- review of your relationship history,
- identification of any relationship concerns you have experienced that still persist and what you’ve done so far to address these,
- a review your relational strengths,
- development of a plan for premarital counseling which will outline the suggested number of sessions and our areas of focus (addressing identified concerns, developing relational skills that are not present, engaging in communication exercises, learning conflict resolution skills, repairing existing wounds, creating a shared marital vision, etc…).
Based on the initial 85 minute session, I will provide my suggested course of premarital coaching and counseling. This will include my observation of your strengths and challenges.
How many sessions are involved in premarital counseling?
Typically, premarital counseling can be as few as two sessions, or as many as ten. Somewhere in between there is most likely where you’ll fall. We will map this course together, and continue taking steps toward your identified goals until you both feel satisfied that you have the clarity, confidence and ability to commit to this marriage.
Register at omaratime.com and schedule a 50 minute session.