Many people are unsure if they have chosen the right partner to marry. Many couples worry that they are not sufficiently in love. People whose parents have divorced are often afraid that they will also divorce. Some couples are deadlocked debating specific issues concerning where to live, how to spend their money, how many children to have, or how to relate to their parents. Many people worry that they are unprepared for what marriage will require of them. And when painful, often repetitive fights break out, many couples feel clueless about how to manage conflict, and worry that it will only get worse.
All such couples can make use of premarital couple counseling. Seeing such couples has been an interest of mine for many years. My approach is comprehensive, utilizing the best methods currently available in this field. I focus both on the specific problems at hand as well as on the abnormal dances that couples engage in. I look for underlying issues and hurt feelings (psychodynamics) and I teach concrete skills (psychoeducation) including how to fight fair, how to regulate your emotions, and how to systematically problem solve.
My understanding is bolstered by having originated and then taught for many years a popular undergraduate course at Northwestern, “Marriage 101: Building Loving and Lasting Relationships,” that surveys the literature on what makes for successful intimate relationships while simultaneously trying to prepare students to meet the emotional challenges marriages require. This course has given me extensive experience with the concerns of people prior to marriage and with what they need to know to make probably the most important decision of their lives—whether to marry a particular person or to move on and try to find a more compatible partner.
If you are looking for help in any of these areas, I would be glad to try to assist you.