Premarital & Commitment Counseling for LGBTQIA+ Couples

at Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids

For building a foundation of understanding, compassion, and skills to create stronger relationships for goals of longevity, commitment, and intimacy.

Premarital & Commitment Counseling for LGBTQIA+ Couples
In Grand Rapids, MI and West Michigan At Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids, MI

Health for Life Counseling is now offering a premarital & commitment counseling program for LGBTQIA+ Couples from Gottman-trained therapists. The premarital counseling program includes an initial 8-12 meetings and aims to help a couple be better prepared for marriage and/or a long-term committed relationship. 

Health for Life Counseling’s program is available in the West Michigan area including in-person in Grand Rapids and Ada, Michigan as well as online throughout the State of Michigan. 

Couples Counseling can help build a foundation of understanding, compassion, and skills to create stronger relationships for goals of longevity, commitment, and intimacy.

(Note: Health Insurance Plans do not cover premarital or couples counseling).
Premarital &Amp; Commitment Counseling For Lgbtqia+ Couples​
  • Premarital & Commitment Counseling can be about creating a vision for what your relationship can potentially become.
  • For many LGBTQIA+ folx the idea of “marriage” may seem too traditional or systemically-binding. Thus, our program is also about commitment and working on that in whatever format or terms the couple would like. We also acknowledge that many LGBTQIA+ long-term couples may opt to get married so that they are legally recognized to utilize the benefits of the legal, financial, and healthcare system.
  • Premarital Counseling & Commitment Counseling can help to address potential issues, discuss concerns that may not have been addressed yet, or explore similarities and differences in values before a large relationship milestone such as moving in together, engagement, marriage, or commitment ceremony.
  • Working on building skills to establish a strong and healthy relationship and learn to face challenges in an appropriate team-oriented way.
  • Improve conflict management skills and find a commitment to love approach to disagreements.
  • Improve communication, which for most couples is essential for navigating and working toward a mutually satisfactory relationship (especially in heated moments)
  • To better understand expectations from their partner as well as their expectations for the couple’s “next steps” (moving in, engagement, marriage, long-term commitment, etc).
Relationship Solutions
Relationship Help

Therapists That Provide The

Therapists For Premarital & Commitment Counseling for LGBTQIA+ Couples

Brittani Decess

Counseling through a trauma-informed, inclusive, and equitable lens for individuals, relationships, and families.

To discuss which programs could work for you, call (616) 200-4433 or complete the form below.

What to Expect

Premarital &Amp; Commitment Counseling For Lgbtqia+ Couples

Premarital & Commitment Counseling for LGBTQIA+ Couples at Health for Life Counseling

Session 1: Rapport Building and Intake

  • Establish a safe and supportive environment for open communication and exploration of relationship dynamics.
  • Gather information about the couple’s or individual’s relationship history, goals, and challenges.
  • Identify areas of focus for the counseling sessions.

Session 2: Understanding Fight/Flight/Freeze/Fawn Responses in Relationships

  • Explore the physiological and emotional impact of stress responses in LGBTQIA+ relationships.
  • Develop coping skills to manage stress and prevent emotional hijacking.
  • Identify patterns of fight/flight/freeze/fawn behaviors in the relationship.

Session 3: Gottman-Rapport Communication Method

  • Introduce the Gottman-Rapport Communication Method, a framework for effective communication in relationships.
  • Practice active listening, empathy, and emotional expression in a supportive environment.
  • Develop strategies for resolving conflict and building a strong emotional connection.

Session 4: Emotional Literacy

  • Enhance understanding of emotions and their role in LGBTQIA+ relationships.
  • Identify personal emotional triggers and develop strategies for self-regulation.
  • Cultivate emotional intelligence to navigate complex relationship dynamics.

Session 5: Assumption Checking

  • Understand the impact of assumptions and biases on communication and relationship dynamics in LGBTQIA+ couples.
  • Practice identifying and challenging assumptions in relationships.
  • Develop skills for clear and direct communication to avoid misunderstandings.

Session 6: Assessment and Preparation for Second Half of Program

  • Review progress made and identify areas for continued focus.
  • Conduct a more in-depth assessment to tailor the second half of the program to specific needs.
  • Prepare for more challenging discussions that may arise in subsequent sessions.

Session 7: Navigating Gender Roles, Implicit Biases, Masking, and Societal Pressures

  • Address the influence of gender roles and implicit biases on LGBTQIA+ relationships.
  • Identify and challenge personal biases that may impact communication and decision-making.
  • Develop strategies for navigating societal pressures and expectations in LGBTQIA+ relationships.

Session 8: Coming Out, Discrimination, Microaggressions, and Family Dynamics

  • Explore the challenges of coming out as LGBTQIA+ to family and friends.
  • Develop strategies for coping with discrimination, microaggressions, and unsupportive reactions.
  • Discuss the impact of LGBTQIA+ relationships on family dynamics and communication.

Session 9: Sex, Intimacy, and Boundaries

  • Explore healthy and fulfilling sexual expression in LGBTQIA+ relationships.
  • Discuss consent, boundaries, and safe sex practices.
  • Develop strategies for navigating intimacy and communication around sexual needs and preferences.

Session 10: Codependency vs. Co-Regulation

  • Understand the differences between codependency and healthy co-regulation in LGBTQIA+ relationships.
  • Identify signs of codependency and develop strategies for cultivating interdependence and healthy boundaries.
  • Foster mutual respect and support while maintaining individual autonomy.

Session 11: Religion, Politics, and Family

  • Discuss the importance of open communication and respect for different viewpoints on sensitive topics.
  • Develop strategies for navigating disagreements and finding common ground.
  • Explore ways to integrate family dynamics and expectations into the relationship.

Session 12: Closure

  • Review progress made throughout the program and celebrate accomplishments.
  • Discuss strategies for maintaining healthy and fulfilling LGBTQIA+ relationships.
  • Provide resources for ongoing support and address any remaining concerns.

Additional Sessions Might Include:

  • Family relationships/in-laws
  • Time spent together/leisure time
  • Dealing with anger or other intense emotions
  • Work/life balance


Level 3 (Enhancing Your Love)

12 sessions at $120= $1440 Total

What does this include? What are the differences between programs?

Includes: 1 Introductory session, 6 sessions of skill building, Assessment to garner areas of focus, 4 sessions directed on common relational topics, 1 closing session, and a Relational Skill Building Booklet to take home and guide throughout the program.

Pay Up Front in a Lump Sum Discount = $1300 Total

Level 2 (Growing in Love)

10 sessions at $135 = $1350

What does this include?

Includes: 1 Introductory session, 6 sessions of skill building, Assessment to garner areas of focus, 2 sessions directed at common relational topics, 1 closing session, and a Relational Skill Building Booklet to take home and guide throughout the program.

Pay Up Front in a Lump Sum Discount = $1200 Total

Level 1 (Foundations of Love- )

8 session at $145 = $1160

What does this include?

1 Introductory session, 6 sessions of skill building, 1 closing session, and a Relational Skill Building Booklet to take home and guide throughout the program.

Pay Up Front in a Lump Sum Discount = $1000 Total

(Note: Health Insurance Plans do not cover premarital or couples counseling).

Research about Premarital & Commitment Counseling for LGBTQIA+ Couples

Couples counseling also offers various benefits for LGBTQIA+ relationships. While many of the core issues faced by heterosexual couples are also relevant for LGBTQIA+ relationships, there are additional layers of complexity, such as societal attitudes toward sexual orientation and gender identity.

A 2006 study published in the Journal of Bisexuality focused on mixed-orientation couples, where one partner is heterosexual and the other is gay, lesbian, or bisexual. The findings revealed that counseling is instrumental in helping spouses clarify their needs, goals, and values when it comes to the disclosure of sexual orientation (Buxton, 2006).

A 2019 systematic review also proves that couples therapy can be an effective intervention for enhancing relationship satisfaction. The study focused on psychological interventions for same-sex couples (SSC). It showed that psychotherapeutic interventions like Relationship Education and Gottman Method Couples Therapy (which is usually used in relationship counseling) can lead to outcomes such as high satisfaction and improvements in health-related behaviors, relationship enhancement, and substance abuse issues (Kousteni & Anagnostopoulos, 2019).

A 2017 study on Gottman Method Couples Therapy with 106 gay and lesbian couples further reveals the efficacy of couples counseling in the LGBTQIA community. The findings show significant improvements in relationship satisfaction for both gay male and lesbian couples after just 11 sessions of therapy (Garanzini et al., 2017).

A 2019 meta-analysis published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy summarized 33 studies and showed that Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFCT) and Behavioral Couple Therapy (BCT) are effective in improving relationship satisfaction for up to six months post-treatment (Rathgeber et al., 2019).

A 2022 meta-analysis on Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT) which included 20 studies and 332 couples, suggests its effectiveness as a treatment method. According to the findings, EFT is effective in treating a variety of issues, including depression and PTSD. Specifically, 70% of couples were symptom-free at the end of the EFT treatment (Spengler et al., 2022).

Codependency vs. Co-regulation in Relationships

In some relationships, one person’s emotions and behavior have too much control over the other person’s well-being. This is called codependency. In codependent relationships, one person is often the “giver” who sacrifices their own needs to please the other person, who is the “taker.” This can lead to the giver losing their sense of self and relying on the relationship for their self-worth.

Codependency is linked to mental health problems like emotional abuse and domestic violence. Studies show that people with higher levels of codependency have more negative coping skills and less life satisfaction.

Co-regulation, on the other hand, is a healthy way for partners to support and regulate each other’s emotions. It involves empathy, understanding, and respect for each other’s emotional needs. Co-regulation helps partners feel secure and valued in the relationship.

Psychologists describe co-regulation as a way for people to manage stress and emotions together. It allows partners to calm down and feel balanced in the relationship.

Codependency and co-regulation can be seen as two ends of a spectrum. Co-regulation is on the healthy side, where partners support each other in a balanced way. Codependency is on the unhealthy side, where one person controls the other person’s emotions and well-being.

We understand that there are levels of discrimination, stigma, and phobia as well as the progress we have made in the USA/Michigan in regards to marriage equality laws and not having a heteronormative and/or monogamous relationship(s). We are committed to helping you and yours navigate these cultural circumstances.

Blossom Together: Build a Thriving Relationship in an Inclusive Environment

This program welcomes couples who are committed to fostering healthier, happier connections. Whether you’re navigating unique challenges or simply seeking personal and relationship growth, this program is here to empower you.

Is this program for you?

  • Feeling disconnected, even though you’re committed: Do you crave deeper intimacy with your partner? Do daily interactions lack the warmth you once shared?
  • Struggling to communicate effectively: Do arguments and misunderstandings leave you feeling unheard? Do you find it difficult to express your needs constructively?
  • Seeking to reignite the spark and excitement: Has the initial passion faded, leaving you longing for more? Do you miss the shared adventures and playful connection?
  • Wishing to model a healthy relationship for others: Do you believe in the power of love and support, regardless of who you love? Do you want to build a foundation of respect, trust, and understanding?

Remember, this program may not be suitable if:

  • Respect or love is absent, or someone is leaving: If fundamental issues exist, individual or couples therapy might be a better option.
  • Unsure about staying committed: This program focuses on strengthening existing relationships, not navigating breakups. Consider couples or individual therapy if commitment is in question.
  • Dealing with recent infidelity: Specialized support is recommended for healing after infidelity.
  • Experiencing domestic violence or abuse: Seek immediate help from domestic violence resources.

Additionally, this program cannot address:

  • Addiction or active substance use: Individual or addiction counseling is recommended first.

Regardless of your unique journey, this program offers tools and understanding to cultivate a connection that thrives. Explore how it can help you build a fulfilling and joyful relationship!

Lgbtq Couple

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