Premarital & Marital Counseling with Rev. Rebecca
If you knew that an 8-hour commitment would increase your odds of a lasting marriage by 70% would you take it?
When we synthesize all the research data around premarital counseling that is what the statistics seem to tell us - 8 hours of your time at the start of the adventure can mean the difference between arriving on the far shore of your dreams of happiness, or, being dashed to pieces in a rocky divorce.
If you think about it like a journey it makes sense that starting out with a good map, a trusty compass, and some the essential tools will increase your chances of getting where you want to go. But most couples simply plunge off in a blind excitement of passion and romance and only realize too late that they’ve forgotten to pack all the most essential supplies for the long journey ahead!
Premarital counseling is like sitting down with a sherpa before going to climb Mt. Everest – there are some things you’ll want to know before you begin your ascent! Why would you leave something that important to chance? We’re not born with all the skills we need to get us through life – which is why we spend so much time getting educated. Isn’t our personal health, wealth and happiness of equal value to the preparations we give to our professional lives?
In the last analysis, our personal lives count for a lot more than our careers in the tally for how satisfied we are with our lives. Having loving relationships is the single greatest factor in well-being – far more important that the bank account or whether we got the corner office or the Ferrari or the Ph.D. All the research confirms this truth that should be obvious, but seems to get lost in the rush towards “success.” In the end, you can’t take it with you. The only things that last are love and wisdom.
Yet, somehow, we think we “ought to know” how to do love; that it is something so instinctual that to give it actual thought might somehow spoil it. That feeling is coming from your biological instinct to reproduce at any cost – nothing more. But you do not have to be ruled by your mammalian brain. You can bring your higher mind into your relationship and the light will not destroy the beauty and mystery of what you have with each other. In fact, it will give it a firmer foundation.
The Counseling Process
When you work with me as your wedding minister, the premarital counseling is part of the package, which is why I don’t do “quickie” weddings. I want the opportunity to get to know you and be able to fully support who you are and what your goals for your relationship are, and then I’ll be able to guide you toward a ceremony that serves those ends.
Our first meeting includes that superb tool called Prepare-Enrich which entails a questionnaire that you fill out ahead of time, the results of which are sent to me so that I can focus our conversation along the lines that will be most helpful. This is a non-religiously-specific questionnaire based on the latest research about best communication techniques and how to address the issues that most often pose challenges to couples. Time and again couples have told me how much insight they gained from using this tool, so I offer it to everyone now.
Out second meeting settles into a more soulful perspective as I use my own questions and experience to begin to fill out the contours of the often-unspoken soul yearnings and promises that have drawn you together. Being able to articulate the deep reasons you have chosen this path with one another forms the basis for our design of the ceremony itself. That planning constitutes the last half of our second meeting. We emerge with a rough draft of the ceremony which I type up and send to you so that we can all work from the same page.
Over the next few weeks or months we continue to reflect upon and refine the words and images for the ceremony, adding music, readings, and rituals where appropriate. A few days (or weeks, according to your comfort level) I type up the final revision which is emailed to everyone involved in the ceremony and includes all the details, like a stage script, so there is no confusion about the who/what/when/where.
In all except the smallest, most intimate ceremonies I recommend a rehearsal the day before the ceremony. You’d be surprised how those last minute questions about where to walk and stand, or what to say to whom can make you anxious on the very day you’d like to feel most gorgeously free and happy. Don’t add to your stress by depriving yourself of this time-tested method of confidence-boosting — have a rehearsal! It comes with the package and you’ll be so relieved to know that everyone, including you, knows just what to do at the appointed time.
I only book one wedding on any given weekend, so on your wedding day I am yours for the duration. If you’d like me there early to meet with the DJ or the florist or the wedding coordinator - or an unruly relative! - I’m happy to be there. I stay after the ceremony to greet your guests, to sign the marriage license, and toast your happiness.
Any time in the years following the wedding I make myself available to have another counseling session with one or both of you as needed. There are frequently unexpected realizations that loom in the seasons following the honeymoon where having a little perspective and processing of feelings can be a welcome help. Because I have been there at the beginning to assist with the foundations I can often perceive how best to respond to a current situation. You are not obliged to see me and I’ll never nag - but I’m there if you need me! That, too, is included in the package.
I offer premarital counseling for all couples - whether or not you are having me officiate your wedding. I am certified in the Prepare-Enrich counseling technique which offers an excellent online questionnaire to help you focus your thoughts and provide important background for discussing your relationship. I have also developed my own 4-part program of a soulful approach to Mindful Marriage Mapping based on my 25 years of work with the ideas of C.G. Jung and the mythologist, Joseph Campbell.
If you are interested in this kind of premarital counseling, please ask for my full description of the process here.
I also offer a less formal style of counseling called spiritual direction, spiritual guidance or soul coaching. This is helpful if you want to focus on your own life path and the issues that are presenting themselves right now.
We can discuss in more depth the types of methods to use during our sessions together, but one of my deep beliefs is that the soul and ego become estranged when the ego refuses to listen to anything but words. Part of my modus operandi in spiritual guidance is to renew our acquaintance with the language of the soul - metaphor. Thus I may introduce poetry, myth, dreamwork, art, mandalas, labyrinths, tarot or soul cards or any number of other avenues that will strengthen the communication between the visible and invisible realms.
I like to spend at least an hour and a quarter, ideally an hour and a half per session. My normal fee is $90 for the session but I do work on a sliding scale and you should feel free to tell me what you feel you can afford. Meeting every other week or once a month keeps the energy high and focused on our work together.
Feel free to get in touch for a free, no-obligation phone conversation.