Pre-Marriage Counselling Sydney

Pre-Marriage Counselling Sydney

Set yourselves up for a long, loving partnership.

Are you wonderfully in love and ready to make a life-long commitment, but still having a few niggling doubts about marriage or worried about an aspect of your relationship?

Why not invest in a few hours of pre-marriage counselling at our Sydney practice, facilitated by a trained therapist to start off as you intend to continue: with the relationship skills and connections to have a happy marriage and sustain your lives together.

Our Sydney pre-marriage counselling course can help you deal with issues like these:

  • The extended family you ‘marry’ when you commit to a single person
  • The family you may or may not want to have together; and
  • Parenting styles and expectations about who’ll be doing what if children come along
  • The way you fight and communicate. Or don’t fight or communicate
  • How you’ll manage a blended family or step family dynamic
  • Your expectations about sex and intimacy (and how you’ll keep both of those things alive down the track)
  • Your decisions about whether to live here in Australia or in another country, especially if someone’s career or family could take you overseas
  • And what your life ambitions are once you’ve coupled up and settled.

This is a great course for any couple who value communication and honesty – and want a clear idea about what their partner needs and expects in a relationship.

Doing this work now can not only set you up to really power through your lives together, but it can also build firm foundations to help you manage the tough times that happen inevitably in life.

Course Outline

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    Session 1 – Identifying Red Flags In Your Relationship

    In this session we really dive into your family tree and examine the values you both bring into the room.  It will cover:

    • Culture/religion
    • Children/Combining families
    • Gender roles and expectations
    • Financial expectations and management
    • In what city and country you decide to live

    Session 2 - 4 – Communication Skills

    Because communication skills are vital to a successful relationship we allocate three sessions focussing on different aspects of communication.

    Stage one – The ‘Big Four’ relationship-killing behaviours and how to manage them

    Criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling and contempt

    These behaviours might not look so bad, but over time they quickly lead to resentment. Resentment leads to lack of connection and closeness.  It is really important to know how to manage these four behaviours when they show up.

    Stage two –Owning your very own argument style!

    In this session you will learn how to manage conflict specific to your relationship.  The Therapist will help you identify the roles you both play in the conflict in your relationship and show you how to manage your differences in a healthy and productive way where you both feel heard.

    Not all couples openly argue. Conflict can be verbal and non-verbal. You will learn how to identify when your style of conflict is doing damage to your relationship, and how to short-circuit it when it is.

    Stage three – Non-communication skills

    Many couples fall into the trap of losing connection through a lack of meaningful communication.  The number one cited reason for separation is that the couple drifted apart.

    In this session you will learn how to really listen to your partner and to share feelings in a productive way. You will use these skills to discuss some of the potential red flags or hot topics you discovered in Session 1.

    Session 5 – Sex and Intimacy

    Worried about your sex life and where it might go after marriage or after time? What happens after children come along?  Sadly, many couples come to us for couples counselling because they haven’t had sex for years or are connecting through only a quick peck on the cheek.  In this session you will examine any differences you may have with your libidos and desire for sexual or other intimacy.

    Session 6 – Fostering Closeness

    In this final session we will cover important aspects for each of you to remain close.  We will examine hurdles you may face as a couple and you will be given practical strategies to overcome them as you move forward.

    What will you walk away with?

    • New communication skills and tools that will make sense to you as a couple and you can immediately implement.
    • New skills to develop listening and empathy for your partner which will help you feel closer and connected.
    • A deeper understanding of your values and expectations going forward into the future.
    • Strategies to keep intimacy and sex alive in your relationship.
    • You will be able to identify patterns that lead to conflict, and have some up-the-sleeve strategies to stop them early.
    • A better idea about each other’s parenting styles.
    • A good understanding of boundaries and how to manage extended family expectations through life stages.
    • The opportunity to unpack any hot topics or red flags in the relationship.

    In addition to all that, this course will give you some quality time together to really focus on what’s important to you two. You’ll get to know each other even better, have the time to bond, laugh and be authentic with each other. You’ll also learn more about your partner’s strengths and dreams.

    To enrol please email or phone

    You will be sent an in-depth questionnaire* to fill in before your first session with us. The questionnaire will help us tailor the course to meet the needs of your relationship. Your Therapist will work with you directly to book in the session times that suit you.

    *A Relationship Assessment
    Before commencing the course, you will be offered the option of completing a questionnaire to help identify current and potential challenges that might arise in your relationship. It’s the most empirically supported relationship assessment available; the Gottman Relationship Checkup. This tool has been developed from over 40 years of research with thousands of couples and relies on intensive and detailed findings on why relationships succeed or fail. It is both clinically and psychometrically validated. It takes up to two hours to complete and provides the most rigorous and accurate assessment available.

    About The Therapist

    Alex Ryder

    After almost a decade of therapeutic work, Alex became interested in what would help couples to stay close, connected and happy in their relationship. Especially after external stresses like children, extended family, financial issues, or mental ill-health entered the relationship.

    He’d counselled many couples who had committed to their relationship with the best intentions, and who absolutely loved each other. But they’d lost their way – often because they weren’t communicating effectively, or because constant conflict had worn down all the good things they’d started out with.

    Read more

    Alex who is married with a child himself has also experienced the journey of commitment and the pitfalls that can occur when external stressors occur.

    When he repeatedly heard his clients say “I wish we’d done this sort of couples counselling years ago”, or “In hindsight we just chose the wrong partner”, he saw the potential for a pre-marriage/pre-commitment course.

    This course is designed to help protect you from relationship mistakes and deal effectively with hurts before they become too damaging. It will give you skills for building a strong relationship and enjoying closeness, love and intimacy with your partner. But it also gives you a safe platform for discussing any niggling doubts or worries before you make a life-long commitment or have a baby together.

    Alex at the Sydney Couple and Family Specialists, is one of the few Therapists in Australia who has trained in the Gottman methodology. Here, we use the most empirically validated assessment tool available today – the Gottman Relationship Check-up – to look at the health of your relationship and identify areas that could trip you up if left unattended.

    With Alex’s warmth, skill and experience, backed by the insights from the Gottman Relationship tool, you and your partner will be supported to make your relationship and future together the best it can be.


    Are the sessions confidential?
    Everything discussed in the sessions is completely confidential, meaning that it will not be discussed outside the therapeutic relationship. You’ll have the same therapist for all your sessions.
    What age group is the course designed for?
    This course is suited from young couples just starting out to older couples who may be marrying again. The course takes your life stage, and your life experiences, into consideration.
    We have children from previous relationships and are combining families. Is this course suitable?
    Yes. Blending or joining families is very tricky to do well – so this course is strongly recommended.
    Do you cover parenting skills in this course?
    We ensure that you are on the same parenting page when it comes to key aspects like discipline. However, if you would like to focus on learning parenting skills we recommend booking in with our Family Therapist.
    We are a same sex couple. Is this course suitable for us?
    Same sex couples face the same challenges as heterosexual couples, plus some. So yes. You’ll be welcome in a non-judgmental environment.
    Do both partners need to be present for all sessions?
    Ideally, yes. As this is a time-limited course we require both people to be present for all sessions to ensure you get the best results.
    Do you give homework or things to do between sessions?
    You will receive homework after each session to enhance your new skills and foster closeness in your relationship.
    Over what time period should we complete the course?
    At the time of enrolment we will arrange your schedule to suit you both. It is generally recommended that you allow a week in between sessions and complete the course over a three month period. The course must be completed within six months of enrolment.
    Can bookings be rescheduled?
    Yes appointments can be rescheduled with 48 hours notice if they are during normal business hours. If you have requested a block of time after hours then sessions must be committed to as these are highly sort after times.
    What if we miss a session?
    If you miss a session without notice [please refer to the notice requirements above] you will be billed for the session. However you will be able to book a make-up session to ensure you don’t miss any course content. You will be charged for the make-up session.
    We have children. Can we bring our kids to the session?
    It is okay to bring children up to the age of 12 months of age. However, you will get less from the session if your child is present. We strongly recommend you arrange care for your children so you can get the most from the sessions.
    What if we need more sessions?
    From time to time we do find that some couples uncover aspects in their relationship that require a lot more work. If this is the case will we will discuss this with you both and work out a plan that suits everyone. Future sessions are always an option.
    How do we arrange payment?
    Payment is by direct debit either through your bank account or your credit card. We will send you paper work for this. Please note you will receive a 10% discount for payment of the entire course upfront.
    When and where is the course held?
    The course is held in our practice at Suite 305, 185 Elizabeth Street, Sydney. Each session can be booked specifically to suit your schedule. After hours appointments are also available.
    What if we can't easily travel to Sydney CBD?
    We offer sessions via Zoom for people who cannot travel to Sydney CBD.

    Invest in your life partnership now.

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