The first and foremost instinct of humans is not sex nor aggression.
It is to seek contact and comforting connection.
— Sue Johnson, Love Sense
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You've found each other, and are well on your way to building a lasting, thriving, LIFE-giving marriage.

But wait! Before you say "I do," here are some things to consider to give your future the BEST SHOT at surviving whatever life throws at you:

  1. Who's going to do what chore?

Does this sound like the two of you? You are not alone. Many couples feel hurt when the very person who's supposed to love, comfort, and support them seems to criticize, ignore, or reject them.

As moments of disconnection, rejection, and betrayal build up, it becomes harder to trust and easier to attack or ignore the one you love.

joanne kim marriage family premarital therapist san jose counseling couples fighting

Healthy couple relationships are built on three components:

  1. Accessibility: Can I reach you, even when I feel insecure?
  2. Responsiveness: Can I rely on you to respond to me emotionally? 
  3. Engagement: Do I know you will value me and stay close? 

When these are threatened, even small moments can stir up past hurts and pull couples apart. On the contrary, when these are strengthened, the couple draws closer together than ever before.

It all depends on your "dance".

Will you turn towards each other?
Or turn against/away from each other?

Whether your relationship is "hot" with conflict, "lukewarm" from busyness, or "cold" from apathy, you can revitalize and rebuild your relationship.

What is Premarital Counseling like?


In ten to twelve* 75-minutes sessions, you and your partner will explore the crucial areas of married life:


6. Personal Habits
10. Values and Beliefs

  1. Communication
  2. Conflict Style
  3. Family of Origin/In-Laws
  4. Sex
  5. Money

I use the Prepare/Enrich assessment (see below) to help couples explore their experiences and expectations.

Generally, the sequence of sessions look like the following:

Session 1: Introduction, relationship strengths, set up Prepare/Enrich assessment
Session 2: Review Prepare/Enrich outcomes
Session 3: Communication & Conflict Patterns
Session 4: Family of Origin/Genogram
Session 5-12: The remaining sections

*The number of sessions may vary for each couple, especially if one or more partners have a history of trauma and abuse, addiction patterns, or ongoing life stressors. I may recommend additional sessions or individual therapy.

About Prepare/Enrich Assessment


Prepare/Enrich is an


10 Questions to Ask Before "I Do"

3 Quick Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship Every Day

Money Matters: How It Can Help and Hurt Your Marriage

5 Ways to Deal with In-Laws

SEX: How to Enjoy It for a Long, Long Time

Safe Haven, Secure Base