Category Archives: Premarital Counseling

How Long Should Our Engagement Be? Premarital Counseling

engagement

You recently got engaged, and you’re starting to plan your wedding. A big question on your mind is, “How long should our engagement be?” Should you wait six months to get married, or should you stay engaged for a couple years? How long is too long, and how short is too short? We’re here to answer those questions and more, with tips from our premarital counselors in Michigan.

Factors That Influence Engagement Timing

Before we explain the theoretical ‘right’ length of engagement, it’s important to note that every couple is different. There are also many factors that determine how long a couple stays engaged. Some of these might be beyond your control. Some factors that influence engagement time include:

  • How long it takes to plan your wedding
  • When your wedding venue comes available
  • Financial hurdles you have to overcome (paying down debts, making wedding deposits, finding a house, etc.)
  • Personal circumstances, such as a special date for your wedding or an event your wedding must come before
  • How long you have been dating one another
  • Citizenship planning, for international couples
  • Pregnancy and childbirth, if applicable
  • Your personalities

The Average Length of Engagement

If you look up the average timeframe for engagement, the answer will vary based on this source that you read. From our experience working with couples in premarital counseling, most engagements last at least six months, with an average time of one to one and a half years. With that in mind, there are many couples that stay engaged for years and go on to have wonderful marriages. There are also couples that are only engaged for a few short months, and they are able to have successful marriages. You and your fiancé can find a timeframe that works best for your lifestyles and your relationship.

Benefits of Having a Long Engagement

There are some benefits to being engaged for a year or longer. If you decide to live together, this gives you a chance to interact with your future spouse on a daily basis. You can see his or her quirks and notice potential annoyances that you may not have seen before. This is not to say that you will end your relationship because you are spending extra time together. It simply means that you can be prepared for what’s to come in married life.

If you do not choose to live together, having a long engagement still gives you a chance to work out your finances, determine your living situation, get to know each other’s family, and go through other steps in preparation for marriage. The better prepared you are comment the easier what it will be to get to those first few transition years.

How to Ensure a Long, Happy Marriage

The key to having a successful marriage is knowing how to communicate with your spouse. You can prevent or resolve conflicts with ease just by expressing your feelings effectively. This is one of the tasks we focus on in premarital counseling and marriage counseling. It is also something you can work on in your day-to-day life.

If you are interested in premarital counseling, marriage counseling, or couples counseling at Perspectives Counseling Centers, give us a call at (248) 244-8644 to schedule an appointment.

Getting through Your First Big Fight as a Married Couple

first-big-fight

We’re in the wake of wedding season, which is why all month long we’re giving out helpful tips for engaged and married couples. In today’s discussion, we want to talk about arguments, specifically the first big argument in a marriage. No matter how well you get along, you and your spouse are bound to disagree at some point. With these suggestions from our marriage counselors in Michigan, you can learn how to bounce back when that happens.

Remain Calm

You may begin panicking when the argument escalates because it’s your ‘first big fight.’ This might happen right away – on your wedding night, on your honeymoon, or in the weeks that follow. Don’t stress about the timeframe. Disagreements happen in all relationships, and it’s OK that you’re in one. Stay calm to avoid escalating the problem.

Validate Your Spouse’s Opinion

In an argument, most people focus on getting their point across. If your mind is solely locked into that philosophy though, you may be paying full attention to your spouse. Instead of trying to persuade your spouse, spend some time validating his or her opinion. Ask questions that help you understand your spouse’s point even further, and show that you can see his or her perspective. If you engage with your spouse, he or she is more likely to engage in return. That’s the start of productive conflict resolution.

Get to the Root of the Issue (It’s Most Likely STRESS)

There may be an issue below the surface that needs to be resolved. You probably aren’t mad that the dishes aren’t finished. Instead, you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of housework that needs to be done. Those dishes seem like one more task to add to a never-ending list.

Being married is not always easy, and it can be particularly stressful early on. If you can get to the root cause of your arguments, you can come up with a productive solution for them.

Find a Solution, Or Accept That There Isn’t One

Compromise with your spouse and work out a solution for the issue. If there isn’t a logical solution at hand, you may simply agree to disagree. How significant is this argument in the grand scheme of things? Is it a make or break moment, or is it just an annoyance you can get over? Not every argument has a conclusion because some aren’t worth the time or energy to conclude. If this is one of those arguments, agree to move forward.

If you have an ongoing disagreement that you need help resolving, consider talking to a marriage counselor. This person will provide a professional, unbiased perspective on the matter to guide you to a solution. Contact Perspectives Counseling Centers in Michigan to find an experienced marriage counselor near you.

How to Talk about Money before Marriage | Premarital Counseling in Michigan

money-talk

Finances are some of the biggest stressors in a marriage. Debt, bills and big purchases can all be stressful in their own way. If you are engaged and preparing for marriage, it’s important to start talking about your finances. This will better prepare you for money discussions in the future, and it will make the process less stressful as a whole.

In this guide from our Michigan premarital counseling centers, you’ll learn how to talk about money before marriage.

Be Honest about Your Debt

Most people enter a marriage with some form of debt, whether it be outstanding medical bills, student loans or otherwise. If you are planning to marry someone, you need to be honest about your debt. After you get married, the weight of that debt will fall on both your shoulders. Your future spouse needs to be prepared for that. If you do not know the current status of your debts, take a moment to figure that out. That will be an important element of the budgeting process, which we will discuss in a section below.

Be Honest about Your Income

When you started dating your significant other, you may have exaggerated about your income. Now that you’re planning for marriage, it’s time to come clean. Tell your future spouse how much money you make and how those funds are distributed throughout the month. This will give you both a clear idea of what your budget will be after marriage.

Go over the Monthly Budget, Including Every Household Bill You Will Have

If you start your marriage off with a budget, you are far less likely to get stressed about your finances. Budgeting is part of living together. It is something you will do for the rest of your lives. Once you know your income and debts, you can better assess your monthly finances. Tally up all of your bills, including:

  • Rent/mortgage
  • Gas, electric, water, sewer, trash and other utilities
  • Food costs, including eating out and groceries
  • Car payments
  • Loan payments
  • Insurance (house insurance, car insurance, medical insurance, life insurance, etc.)
  • Fuel and transportation
  • Cable, internet and phones

If you have other expenses, such as a subscription service or an annual credit card fee, add those to the budget as well. Then use your combined monthly income to determine how much money you will have leftover each month. Use average amounts for bills that fluctuate, like your utilities. Keep estimates on the high end to make sure you have enough money each month. Create a plan for saving or paying down debts quickly, all within your means. If you notice any major issues with the budget, work together to come up with a solution.

Create a Plan for Extra Expenses (Date Nights, Clothes, and Fun Purchases)

There is nothing wrong with treating yourself. You need to have a little fun with your money every now and then. The key is learning how to make those plans without going wild with your money. If you have a small vacation coming up, you might want to eat every meal at home for a few weeks to keep costs down. In a month where your expenses are low, you might be able to splurge with a fancy dinner every Friday. Think about your budget, and plan extra expenses that fit within your means. As long as you remain honest with one another, you can avoid unnecessary debt before marriage.

Keep Your Wedding Costs Down

According to a recent study from Finder.com, 80.6% of couples borrow money for their wedding. The average amount borrowed is $3,082, which adds up to $3.48 billion throughout the country. Whether you want a small wedding or a large one, try to keep your costs as low as possible. This will minimize your debt before marriage, and it will keep the stress low in the household. You deserve to have your ‘big day,’ but you don’t have to spend a big chunk of money making it happen. Every dollar saved is one less burden later on.

Take time to fully discuss your finances before marriage so you can create a plan as a couple. If you need help along the way, talk to your premarital counselor. He or she can guide you through this and other relationship obstacles so you can set yourselves up for success.

How Long Should Couples Be Engaged Before Marriage? MI Premarital Counseling

premarital counseling

How long should a couple be engaged before getting married? Is there a certain timeframe that is ideal for a successful marriage? We hear these questions a lot at our premarital counseling center in Michigan, and the truth is that there is no definitive answer. With that in mind, there are some guidelines you can use to determine how long you should stay engaged before you say “I do.”

The Average Engagement Time In America

On average, couples stay engaged between 13 and 18 months. That range varies throughout the country, but most couples stage engaged at least a year before getting married. This is not necessarily the “right” amount of time for an engagement, but it may help you get an idea for what other couples go through.

There Is No Right Or Wrong Time

Every couple is different. Someone else’s engagement time may be shorter or longer than yours. This largely depends on how long a couple has been together, how old they are, if there are any children involved, what their finances look like, etc. For instance, two people in their 60’s who have already been married before might have a short engagement time because they know what married life is like. A couple that has only been together for a year may spend two years or longer in the engagement phase to make sure they’re ready for marriage.

You have to figure out what works best for you. With a premarital counseling program like the one we offer at Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers, you can build communication skills that strengthen your relationship and set you up for success from the start. Contact our Michigan couples counseling center to learn more.

Benefits Of A Long Engagement

While there is no specific timeframe for engagement, there are benefits to staying engaged at least one year before getting married. This gives you time to complete a premarital counseling program and really get to know your future spouse. Spend time together, learn each other’s quirks, find out what annoys you most about one another and how you can improve on your current issues. If the relationship isn’t meant to be, you can figure that out before walking down the aisle.

Also keep in mind the immense amount of stress you will be under while planning your wedding. The shorter the planning period is, the greater the stress will be. Give yourselves plenty of time to work out your finances and plan for your new life as a family. Our marriage counselors here in Michigan will gladly assist you every step of the way.