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Premarital Counseling and Education in Washington, DC, VA and MD


for engaged couples, newlyweds and couples considering becoming engaged (or deciding whether to remain engaged)




Pre-Wedding Tips

Is Premarital Counseling or Education for You?

Deciding to get or stay engaged?

Premarital / Relationship Inventories

Bonding & Marriage Success

Guide to Guys


Cold Feet

Your Mother and You

Interfaith, Intercultural and Interracial Marriage

Balancing Togetherness & Individuality

What's In a Name - Changing Yours?

Pre-Wedding Stress Management

Pre-Wedding Time Management

Pre-Marriage Couples Counseling

Marriage Facts

Radio program on marriage success research that couples should hear!

Seven Keys to Success

Stages of Marriage

Five-to-One Ratio

Demanding Careers & Marriage

What are the most important factors in marriage success?

Differences, incompatibilities and marriage success

Who’s in control in your relationship?

Communication & conflict resolution

Becoming Parents

Financial issues

Balancing Family and Work



Married sexuality

Marriage-Related Books We Like

Guide to Marriage Success, our premarital education book


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"...Easy to relate to and highly effective…. Exactly what I was looking for…. A must."


We offer a comprehensive marriage preparation seminar to meet your needs


Congratulations on your decision to seek professional consultation in preparing for your marriage. But we want you to realize that not all premarital counseling is the same!


We are mental health professionals with over thirty years of counseling, coaching and therapy experience. We have specialized in providing premartial counseling and education services for well over a decade based on our comprehensive review of current relationship and marriage research findings as well as the many different approaches to marriage preparation.


Patricia Schell Kuhlman & Gregory Kuhlman


Patricia Schell Kuhlman, LCSW

& Gregory Kuhlman, PhD


We have carefully constructed and refined our approach to premarital counseling and education based on our experience with hundreds of couples of all backgrounds, ages, etc. We understand that each couple has different circumstances and needs. We can help you understand the preparation that makes most sense for you. We're experienced in engaging partners who may be less interested in preparing for marriage and/or exploring challenges in addition to strengths.


For most professionals and even marriage officiants, premarital counseling is a sideline for which they usually have not received adequate specific training. Even those with some training are often not familiar with the important findings of relevant research. They have a general practice where they may occasionally see a premarital couple and rely on their general counseling background to conduct a few exploratory sessions with them. While we're sure many of these services are valuable, we also believe that most are not inclusive enough to cover all of the optimal preparation.


Premarital or couples counseling, while helpful in its own way, usually doesn't provide the same kind of intensive and comprehensive skill-building and education as marriage prep. The skill-building and education are the key factors in long-term divorce prevention and marriage success.


We encourage premarital couples to complete a premarital education seminar first because it is the most effective means of providing comprehensive coverage of marriage success issues and strategies. Couples who still feel that they need more can then use this foundation to address more specific or problem issues in their counseling. MST starts their counseling on a fast track.


Concerned about privacy? Click to learn how a group seminar can still be very private.


Whatever marriage prep couples choose should include activities to give them real skills, real expectations and real knowledge of self and partner to face the inevitable challenges of a committed relationship.


What to Look For in Pre-Marriage Preparation


Make sure that the pre-marriage prep you choose covers all of the relationship skill and knowledge areas that research has shown to contribute to the success and endurance of marriage:


·        Compatibility and differences (including those that can be gender-linked)
·        Expectations
·        Personalities and families-of-origin
·        Communication
·        Conflict management
·        Intimacy and sexuality
·        Long-term goals

Here are some questions to help you select the pre-marriage prep that's right for you:


·       Is the content based on marriage research?


·       Is the class led by qualified and trained professionals? Are they are married couple who will have credibility in their experience and outlook with both men and women?


·        Does it include a relationship assessment inventory to help you understand your areas of compatibility and strength, as well as areas you may need to address?


·        How many couples will attend? A small group setting is higher quality, more engaging and individualized than large classes. On the other hand, it can also be more comprehensive, systematic and skill-based than most pastoral or couples counseling. A group experience can also be more involving and stimulating than individual counseling.


·        Does the program focus specifically on the needs of engaged couples and newlyweds? Some marriage skills programs mix troubled couples from later stages of marriage in the same class. This can detract from the experience for engaged couples and newlyweds.


·        Is the class or counseling approach flexible enough to allow for your relationship and learning style or is it a one-size-fits-all program? It's best to practice specific communication, conflict resolution and goal-setting skills and strategies, and then select those skills and strategies that are most congruent with your relationship style and best meet your needs.


·        Will the counseling or class help you and your partner agree on goals and strategies for managing and continuing to work on your most important unresolved issues?


The answers to these questions will help you approach selecting your premarital preparation as an educated consumer.


If a couple's premarital counseling with a religious advisor or lay professional does not address some important areas, the couple should think about supplementing with a program that does. Many couples use marriage prep and counseling in combination, covering the foundation issues and skills in a class or workshop, then focusing on religious or other special issues in their counseling.



Click here for info on premarital educaton seminars.


Deciding whether to get or stay engaged? Click here for more info.



Click here for related reading and references list.


Now that you know how important pre-marriage preparation is, consider attending a Marriage Success Training seminar with your partner. MST helps couples handle the increased stress of the pre-wedding period in a much more healthy way, so that they can use the pre-wedding experience to deepen their intimacy--not stress their relationship--during this special time. Click here to learn about the benefits of MST.


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Copyright 2003-2005, Patricia S. & Gregory A. Kuhlman. You may copy this article for non-commercial use provided that no changes are made and this copyright notice, author credit and stayhitched.com source citation are included.




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