Many relationship experts advocate for premarital counseling before getting married. Couples therapy helps them address the various difficulties they might be going through before ultimately tying the knot.
This article discusses couples counseling for gay and lesbian couples and its impact on their relationships.
What Issues Does Marriage Counseling Help Solve for LGBT Couples?
Just like any other couple, LGBT couples should attend counseling to help them solve common couple issues. It would be best to get into the marriage knowing what to expect and have made some crucial decisions together. Couples counselors are trained in family therapy and possess the necessary skills and knowledge to help couples better their relationship.
Here are some of the issues that will be addressed.
Finances and Money Management
Money issues, when left unresolved, can cause severe damage to a relationship and sometimes even destroy it altogether. Premarital counselors provide a safe space for couples to discuss any fears or worries about their finances.
Gender roles can be a sore topic for LGBTQ couples. Society follows a more heteronormative approach when it comes to love and to date. Men are charged with providing for and protecting their families, while women get nurture-oriented roles.
On the other hand, these norms don’t always apply to couples in the LGBT community.
Gay and lesbian couples have unique interpretations of gender roles as they tend to share labor equally and based on each partner’s strengths. Counseling sessions with a therapist will help couples establish how they’ll divide roles once they get married – who will be in charge of child care ( if they have kids), and so on.
Child-Bearing and Care
To have or not to have children? We understand that some partners may not see eye to eye on the issue. One person may want kids, while the other is against it. Child care and parenting take commitment, and not everyone can handle the massive responsibility that comes with it. Marriage counseling can help couples come to an understanding when deciding whether to have kids.
Communication and Conflict Resolution
Communication is at the core of any healthy relationship, especially open ones. Couples need to learn respectful and honest ways to put across their thoughts and feelings. Additionally, they need to know how to settle differences amicably. Poor communication takes a toll on relationships.
A spouse may sometimes say hurtful things to their partner in the heat of the moment, which is why couples need to learn healthy conflict resolution methods. Disagreements and conflicts are common in a relationship; you and your other half may not always see eye to eye on every matter.
However, these differences should not cause a rift between the two of you. Marriage counseling provides a better understanding of one another so that these LGBTQ couples can have more meaningful connections. The therapists are experienced at helping couples manage conflicts lovingly and respectfully.
Many couples experience difficulties when it comes to maintaining intimacy in their unions. They may have lost the desire that once kept their relationship alive and finds themselves struggling to bond. Their sex lives also get affected, with most clients reporting having less sex and avoiding any physical contact.
Sex is a vital component of marriage; it helps build and maintain intimacy and keeps the couples connected. LGBTQ therapy can help revive struggling relationships by giving helpful advice and pointers on deepening a couple’s connection.
The marriage counselor may recommend activities they can do together, such as hikes, bike riding, painting, and boat riding.
Why Do LGBT Couples Need Premarital Counseling?
Sometimes, couples may think that they don’t need premarital counseling, especially if they have been on good terms for quite some time. However, they need to understand that counseling comes in handy to help them navigate through the transition to a different chapter.
So, is LGBT premarital counseling really necessary? Here are some reasons why couples should consider it.
Gender dysphoria and gender identity issues can be a struggle for gay couples. The partner going through this may become withdrawn and isolated, not only from their community but their spouse too. It may even affect their sex life, with many couples reporting a decline in emotional and physical connection.
Society sometimes aggravates the issue through continuous harassment, bullying, and in extreme cases, physical assault. This, in turn, causes even more distress to the affected spouse, causing even more distance between the partners.
Lack of Social Support
Unfortunately, many members of the LGBTQ+ community find themselves on the receiving end of hate, assault, and discrimination due to their sexual orientation. Family and friends distance themselves from them or even abandon them entirely due to the same.
How Long Does Premarital Counseling Last?
LGBTQ therapy for premarital couples usually lasts between eight to ten weeks, with an average of a session a week. The process depends on the couple, and they can adjust the timelines per their schedules. LGBTQ couples counseling can vary from that of heterosexual couples due to the differences in relationship issues.
The first step entails working out a suitable timing that works both for the counselor and the couple. Here, they also state their goals for the process and the reasons for seeking therapy.
How Do I Find Premarital Gay Couples Counseling?
There are several ways you can get in touch with facilities that offer gay couples counseling services. The internet is an excellent source of information, and a quick Google search will help you locate a therapist near you. Another great alternative is asking for referrals from friends and family.
They can share contacts or locations of therapists within your area and those specializing in the areas you need the most help with. Lastly, local directories are also helpful in locating a fitting therapy clinic.
Benefits of LGBTQ Couples Counseling Before Marriage
Couples counseling helps them develop better communication skills so that they understand one another better. Compassion and honesty are vital for efficient communication between two lovers.
- Creates a safe space for communication
Couples may have a challenging time opening up to each other and discussing issues that weigh heavy on them. Through counseling, they get a chance to discuss their issues in a safe and controlled environment. This way, they don’t have to bottle up their issues, which may eventually become bigger problems once they are married.
- Learn more about each other
Marriage therapists are professionals trained to help partners better navigate their relationships. Through premarital counseling, couples get to learn more about each other, which helps them create an even stronger bond. The therapist can help guide the couple to learn more about each other through direct questions or by having them engage in different learning activities.
- Prepares the couple for the future
No matter how well partners get along, they need to understand that marriage is a different journey altogether. LGBTQ couples counseling helps prepare the couple for what lies ahead of the lifelong commitment. Each person identifies the goals and expectations for the marriage. It also allows them time to figure out their priorities before saying their vows.
You can never be prepared for marriage. It’s an exciting journey that requires intense preparation; that’s why premarital counseling is essential. It provides a stable foundation and advice and guidance on navigating the various challenges of holy matrimony.