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So my boyfriend and I have recently been discussing marriage quite a bit as we've now been together for coming up on 4 years. He's implied that maybe within the next year or so I can expect a proposal, which is great and I can't wait to marry him. However, when I mentioned to him that I've always wanted to go to pre-marital counseling before getting married he seemed pretty against it. He said that he can't imagine what a therapist could possibly say to us that we wouldn't already know. I told him the point is that he doesn't know what they might say, and that I've heard from multiple married couples that counseling was a great thing for them. And neither of us has been married before so we don't really know what it's like, and I just think it can't hurt to get some advice from a licensed counselor. Any advice on getting him to be more open to the idea?

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Not to necessarily disagree with there being a reason for the stereotype, but I'm actually the one who has insisted on pre-marital counseling in our relationship. We've got a number of factors that we're both absolutely fine with and I don't doubt will be fine with in the future, but it can't hurt for a professional to suss out any relevant concerns that could come up later that neither of us have thought of. I'd rather go into a promise to share my life with someone as prepared as possible. Your fiance can suffer the boredom for a few evenings.

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Wait for that discussion if and when he proposes and you are engaged. That is the time premarital couples counseling happens. It is not to convince one partner to suddenly want marriage because the other partner does.

He's told me repeatedly that it isn't a future with me that he's unsure about, but just that for some reason the idea of marriage freaks him out. He says that he keeps waiting for us to stop having these huge fights so that he feels like we actually are stable enough for a bigger commitment. But the thing is, we keep having these fights because of the fact that he wouldn't ever commit to the idea of marriage.
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Not to necessarily disagree with there being a reason for the stereotype, but I'm actually the one who has insisted on pre-marital counseling in our relationship. We've got a number of factors that we're both absolutely fine with and I don't doubt will be fine with in the future, but it can't hurt for a professional to suss out any relevant concerns that could come up later that neither of us have thought of. I'd rather go into a promise to share my life with someone as prepared as possible. Your fiance can suffer the boredom for a few evenings.

Well done j.man.

Is the wedding soon?

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Wait for that discussion if and when he proposes and you are engaged. That is the time premarital couples counseling happens. It is not to convince one partner to suddenly want marriage because the other partner does.
Well that certainly puts a twist on the thread.
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I'm not trying to convince him of anything. For one thing, the post that you're quoting (as if I'm not aware of what I said) is from several months ago, and was about issues that we have worked past. He has admitted that for a while the idea of marriage scared him, but that it doesn't anymore because he realized that there was no real reason for him to be afraid of it, and it was all pretty much just him letting other people's marriages and things that had happened to him in the past freak him out.

 

If I'm to take him at his word, which I think I should probably do if we're going to have a successful relationship in any capacity, he is sure that he wants to get married.

 

We've taken this unnecessary detour all to say, I want premarital counseling and have always wanted premarital counseling, in order to prepare for the challenges of marriage and go into it with open hearts and minds. That, and that alone, is the reason.

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I can tell you one thing, I wish I had gone to couples counselling before I got married. I've picked up a few gems from it when needing to go because something was wrong.

 

There's certain things that are such big decisions and have such huge potential ramifications I think you should essentially be certified before being allowed to do it. One is getting married. The other is having kids.

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Premarital counseling happens after couples are engaged in preparation for marriage. Many faiths suggest or require it. That's why they call it premarital counseling not "dating, but maybe in a year or so" counseling.

He has admitted that for a while the idea of marriage scared him, but that it doesn't anymore because he realized that there was no real reason for him to be afraid of it, and it was all pretty much just him letting other people's marriages and things that had happened to him in the past freak him out.
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So my boyfriend and I have recently been discussing marriage quite a bit as we've now been together for coming up on 4 years. He's implied that maybe within the next year or so I can expect a proposal, which is great and I can't wait to marry him. However, when I mentioned to him that I've always wanted to go to pre-marital counseling before getting married he seemed pretty against it. He said that he can't imagine what a therapist could possibly say to us that we wouldn't already know. I told him the point is that he doesn't know what they might say, and that I've heard from multiple married couples that counseling was a great thing for them. And neither of us has been married before so we don't really know what it's like, and I just think it can't hurt to get some advice from a licensed counselor. Any advice on getting him to be more open to the idea?

 

 

You should wait for the proposal to come, but it sounds wishy-washy at best.

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I don't think there's any way you can open him to it. I think when people feel good about a relationship, they feel naturally inclined towards doing things that will benefit their partner. I mean, you don't lose yourself in that other person by doing things that may actually harm you. But in this instance, it's just counselling. I wonder why he feels threatened by it. Maybe there's a way you can invite him to share that.

 

Have you had a really explicit conversation with him about why it's important to you? Not why it might be important to other people, but why it feels important to you. Keep it on that very personal level. The idea isn't to push or suggest or try and guide him to a particular response or reaction. Just providing him with information about you. Important information that may help him feel more open because he can see what you value.

 

I think some people have hangups about asking for help, or laying out some of their personal business for some "stranger" to "judge or analyze". Maybe there are some attachments to the idea that counselling is all about "fixing" things. I'd have an aversion to it if that's where my thoughts went.

 

Just an idea, but if you're able to express to him that you're not wanting to push him towards something he's not comfortable with, maybe he'd be open to exploring the idea from a distance. Maybe you could find some profiles or info on specific counsellors and let him read about it. Maybe if he felt he had some input in the matter it wouldn't feel so threatening?

 

Tough to really say anything without knowing why he feels the way he does. You're in the best position to figure that out.

 

Good luck!

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