Premarital and Commitment Counseling Program

at Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids

Premarital and Commitment Counseling Program
In Grand Rapids, MI and West Michigan At Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids, MI

Health for Life Counseling is now offering a Premarital Counseling Program 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. 

Premarital 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 Counseling
Relationship Solutions
Relationship Help

Therapists That Provide The

Therapists For Premarital Counseling Program

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

What to expect from the initial 12 sessions of the premarital counseling program at Health for Life Counseling:

  1. Rapport Building and Intake
  • Establish a strong connection with the couple to gain their trust and cooperation.
  • Gather information about their relationship history, current concerns, and expectations for counseling.
  1. Education on Fight-or-Flight-Freeze-Fawn Responses in Relationships (Lid Flipping)
  • Explain the different types of stress responses and how they can manifest in relationships.
  • Provide coping skills for managing stress and preventing lid flipping.
  1. Gottman-Rapport Communication Method
  • Teach the couple the Gottman-Rapport Communication Method, which is a structured approach to expressing feelings and needs in a respectful and constructive manner.
  • Practice the method with the couple to help them develop effective communication skills.
  1. Emotional Literacy
  • Help the couple identify and understand their own emotions and those of their partner.
  • Develop strategies for expressing and managing emotions in a healthy way.
  1. Assumption Checking
  • Teach the couple how to check their assumptions about each other’s thoughts and feelings to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Encourage open and honest communication to prevent misinterpretations.
  1. Assessment to Set Up Second Half: Areas Most Concerning to Couple/Relationship Grouping
  • Based on the intake session and ongoing discussions, identify the areas that are most concerning to the couple.
  • Group related topics together to create a structured plan for the second half of counseling.
  1. Love Languages: Meeting Bids for Attention
  • Introduce the concept of love languages and help the couple identify their primary love languages.
  • Encourage the couple to express love and appreciation for each other in ways that resonate with their partner’s love language.
  1. Finances
  • Discuss financial concerns that may be affecting the relationship.
  • Provide guidance on developing a shared financial plan and managing money effectively.
  1. Sex/Intimacy
  • Address any issues related to sexual intimacy and satisfaction.
  • Provide education and resources on healthy sexuality and intimacy.
  1. Religion and/or Politics
  • Discuss how to navigate differences in religious and/or political beliefs.
  • Develop strategies for respectful communication and compromise.
  1. Parenthood
  • Address parenting challenges and concerns of having children or not.
  • Provide guidance on effective parenting strategies and communication with children and/or pets.
  1. Closure and/or Reassessment to Additional Sessions
  • Evaluate the progress made in counseling and determine if additional sessions are necessary.
  • Provide closure and recommendations for continued healthy relationship maintenance.

Additional Sessions Might Include:

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


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 Counseling

  • Premarital Counseling can be about creating a vision for what your relationship can potentially become.
  • Premarital 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 couples “next steps” (moving in, engagement, marriage, etc).

Couples and/or Premarital counseling is a type of counseling that usually covers essential aspects of married life, such as communication, conflict resolution, financial planning, intimacy, and expectation management, without integrating specific religious or spiritual guidelines. The aim is to help couples develop essential skills for a healthy and sustainable relationship and long-term marital satisfaction. Studies have shown the effectiveness of secular premarital counseling on intimacy and marital satisfaction (Alizadeh et al. (2021).

Premarital counseling is a type of therapy that couples engage in before getting married or before a next step in commitment like moving in. Its primary aim is to prepare couples for the various challenges and responsibilities they may face in married life. Studies show that premarital counseling can effectively prevent future marital conflict and increase relationship satisfaction.

Specifically, a 2004 meta-analytic review published in Family Relations found that premarital prevention programs show significant immediate and short-term benefits. In fact, couples who received premarital counseling experienced about a 30% increase in measures of relationship quality and interpersonal skills (Carroll & Doherty, 2004).

A 2012 study published in The Family Journal further supported the benefits of premarital counseling and found that couples who completed an average of 8 counseling sessions experienced significant improvements in relationship satisfaction, compared to 80% of couples who did not receive such counseling. Among them, men also showed significant improvements in individual distress (Carlson et al., 2012).

The 2016 study, conducted in a U.K. setting, surveyed 877 participants undergoing psychodynamic couple therapy and found significant improvements in both individual psychological well-being and relationship quality. Interestingly, the study found that while women in heterosexual couples tend to present with higher levels of distress than men, the therapy was equally effective for both genders (Hewsion et al., 2016).

Secular or non-religious premarital counseling typically does not involve religious teachings and is more focused on general relationship skills and compatibility. Considering that clergy or lay ministers often lack the training for clinical interventions, secular counseling involves trained therapists or counselors who use empirically proven psychological principles and practical approaches to address relationship issues before marriage.

Build a thriving relationship: Is this program for you?

This program can help you if:

  • You’re committed but feel emotionally distant
  • You argue often or have difficulty communicating
  • You want to reignite the spark and excitement
  • You wish to set a positive example of a healthy relationship

This program focuses on:

Personal and couple growth: Discover new ways to think, act, and express yourselves, individually and together, to strengthen your bond.

Understanding challenges: Recognize how goals, family, intimacy, and age impact your relationship and learn to navigate them effectively.

Rekindling satisfaction: Find solutions to overcome obstacles and bring back joy and happiness in your connection.

Vision building: Define your shared vision for the future and create a roadmap for achieving your relationship goals.

However, this program may not be suitable if:

The relationship lacks basic respect and love, or someone is already leaving.

  • You’re unsure about staying committed and are “half way out.”
  • You’re dealing with the aftermath of recent infidelity.
  • You’re experiencing domestic violence or abuse.

If you have any questions or are unsure if this program is right for you, please reach out for more information.

Option A Premarital Mixed Ability Couple

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