If you’re engaged, you’ve probably got a lot on your mind and a lot on your plate as you and your partner prepare for the big day. One thing that you may not have considered, amidst choosing floral arrangements and sending out wedding invitations, is attending couples counseling.

Trying couples counseling before getting married doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with the relationship—rather, it can be a good way to strengthen your bond and ensure that you and your partner are on the same page going into the marriage. After all, if you’re committing to spending your lives together, you’ll want to be able to communicate well and give yourselves the best chance of having a satisfying relationship.

3 Benefits of Couples Counseling before Marriage

Focus on the positive during a stressful time. During all the chaos that comes with planning a wedding, it’s important to remember why you want to be with your partner in the first place. Couples counseling can help you learn how to better verbalize the positive you see in your partner and how to dialogue in a way that’s productive when you disagree.

Establish long-term goals together. You and your partner most likely have some ideas about what your lives will be like after you’re married—but are they the same ideas? Make sure that you and your partner fully understand each other’s long-term goals in terms of your careers, family, and financial planning. These subjects aren’t always the easiest to broach, especially if you’re worried that your partner will see things differently than you, but counseling gives you a safe space to be open with your partner. A trained marriage counselor can help you and your partner work together to come up with shared goals and to support each other’s individual goals.

Increase your emotional intelligence. Research has shown that relationship satisfaction is strongly linked to emotional intelligence, which is a person’s ability to perceive and relate to emotions. When you have a high level of emotional intelligence, you’re able to identify how you’re feeling and why you’re feeling that way and to pick up on your partner’s emotions. The good news is that you can improve your emotional intelligence with practice, and counseling can give you the tools to do that. Learning Imago dialogue exercises at Houston marriage counseling can help you and your partner to better understand one another and to enjoy a more satisfying relationship in the long run.