Natasha Taffet
& Family Therapis

Call 215-815-1279

for a phone consultation, or send me an e-mail:

232 South 4th St.
Philadelphia, PA. 19106


Premarital Counseling




©2010 Natasha Taffet
232 South 4th St.
Philadelphia, PA. 19106
(P) 215-815-1279


Premarital counseling has become more and more popular since the divorce rate in our country has gone up. Now more than ever before couples are taking matters into their own hands to ensure that their marriage will have happiness and longevity.
What I offer in my Premarital Counseling sessions

I recommend at least ten sessions for premarital counseling. This will give the couple time to go over such important issues as:


Our home is the most immediate expression of who we are and how we view life. It is a place we retire to after giving of ourselves in the all day long. It is the one place in the world that should be a safe space. Marriage often begins with agreeing to share a home-to share the financial burdens of maintaining it, the joys and hassles of decorating it, the creation of a way of living together. After the ceremony, after the honeymoon the newlyweds go home. Even if they lived together before the wedding, this particular trip home is different. Now we are a family. Now we are here to stay. Now my things are also yours. Now your cloths on the floor mean something different and are particularly terrifying. Is this what I will come home to everyday? Let the fears begin.

It’s crucial to discuss the space; you and your partner will live in together. Form can give rise to content. No matter how much you love each other, the feeling and properties of the space you share will affect the course of your relationship. A small space may feel cozy to you but suffocating to your partner. Casual housekeeping may denote relaxation to your partner and slovenliness to you. It is important to hear your lover’s needs on these topics, and to express your own.


Of all the subjects couples can discuss, money is the most metaphoric. Money can mean security, love, power and/or freedom. Perhaps because of its various levels of meaning, it is one of the subjects most often battled over. Financial disagreements cause probably as many failed relationships as do sexual/romantic disagreements. It is almost guaranteed that each partner holds undiscovered assumptions about money, from “My husband will always support me” to “Separate checking accounts mean a lack of trust”.

It’s important to examine them all- but almost everyone I know cringes at the thought of discussing money. Money is often the final frontier in terms of intimacy between two people.


Work can be the center of our lives or simply the means to an end, or both. In any case, outside of family, work often houses our most important relationships. Professional relationships and goals can have a powerful impact on the life of a couple. Often, men and women hold quite specific views of their spouse’s work (My wife will never/always have to work,” “My husband’s work will never/always support us,” “My travel and time needs for work will often/never take precedence over family commitments,” ect). It’s important to examine these assumptions and confirm or deny them with your partner.

Most likely, both partners will require each other’s emotional and/ or financial support to reach their professional goals.


The erotic, sexual connection. It lives. It dies. It is reborn. Or not. What aspect of a relationship is more mysterious than this? Where do trust and passion and anger and adoration and need and ennui live most directly between you and your partner?

Perhaps we marry for romance. Perhaps we mar for security. Perhaps we marry to start a family. Perhaps we marry because it is time to do so. Perhaps we marry because we found our soul mate. No matter. Ultimately, we end up in bed naked with the person we have married, no matter what got us there or what we imagined marriage to be about.

Then what? The body is incapable of lying. Even when it behaves unexpectedly, inscrutably, it is still telling the truth, albeit a truth born of its own internal logic. I believe that who you are is who you are in bed. This is the place of most glorious intimacy, horrible treachery and stinking boredom, which makes it the most fun, richest, and the likeliest place to numb out. Your sexual relationship with your beloved is a place of powerful honesty, like it or not. Who can bear that for very long? Who can bear to be with out it?

Over time you and your partner will undoubtedly notice that your levels of desire don’t always match. You want to. He doesn’t. You are in the mood for something wild and aggressive when he wants to linger and go slow. How do you meet in the middle? How do you even know what your partner is in the mood for? Do you ask? Do you offer silent clues? If you have already developed your own language, some combination of talking, gesturing, grabbing and sidling up, do you like the way these communications go? Are they accurately rich? It is worth spending some time figuring it out.


Attitudes toward food and the ways we eat shop, prepare, and serve it are wonderfully reflective of deeper values, as are attitudes towards exercise, body image and aging. For some couples, grocery shopping, preparing meals and dining out are a source of relaxation, a way to continually court each other, a time to reconnect and relax. Mealtime is often the time of family togetherness; especially if a couple has children. Without children, it is often the time that a couple spends “decompressing” or creating romance and togetherness. Some people find food and the act of dining together to be one of the great sensual joys of life. Fine wines, gourmet cuisine, and excellent conversation: These are time-honored sources of pleasure. Others consider such things to be a nuisance, an expense, inexplicably complex.

There can be great satisfaction in being extremely formal or extremely causal about food. If you were raised that dinnertime is precisely at 7:00, and reserved for strict conversation about current events, as an adult you may find it delightful to watch TV and eat pizza. It’s important to make not of these things.


Relationships with your partner’s parents, siblings and/or children can reveal deep truths about where you place value in personal relationships. I may believe that all family members are welcome in our house at any time of day or night, while my spouse may feel that 3 am is not an acceptable time for visitors of any sort, even a sibling in crisis. I may wish to invite my mother over to discuss decorating questions; my partner may view this as intrusive or overly dependent. It’s valuable to examine assumptions like these.


I counsel some couples that have agreed never to have children. I have other couples who want to have them right away. I have some couples who have felt strongly one way or the other, then changed their minds. This is hardly surprising, since few decisions in life are as important as whether or not have children.

Childless couples hear all sorts of stories from their friends who are new parents: “We are completely sleep-deprived.” “We never make love anymore.” “We are depressed”. “We can’t stand to be away from our baby, even to go to work.” “We had no idea how drastically our lives would change”. “Our baby is driving us insane”. “We are completely in love with our baby”. “We never have time to spend with each other”. Having a baby is the most natural thing in the world-yet nothing can prepare you for life as parents.

I recently saw a couple in their late thirties who became pregnant on their honeymoon. They definitely wanted to have children and knew they had little time to waste. But while they were ecstatic to learn of their pregnancy, they also really missed having had time to be alone together as husband and wife. In your relationship, do you want to have plenty of time to get to know each other and establish a household before having children? Do you want to have children right away? If nature allows, it’s wonderful to consider such questions while you still have the ability to make choices.


One of the great complaints of modern life is lack of community. Whereas our parents or grandparents may have been born to consciously create one. A contemporary couples life is often full of micro-communities, based around work, working out, hobbies, or spiritual or cultural pursuits. Community can also come from specific friendships: With these people we do sports; with these we talk about books; with these we go to parties. Both partners bring to the relationship a set of existing friendships; new, historic, dysfunctional, meaningful. Because it’s not always easy for one’s beloved to naturally fit into other’s existing communities and relationships, it is valuable to take a look at them one by one and see where the possibilities for deeper community or the risk of distress lie.


For many of us, religion is something that we observe when someone is born, marries, or dies. Suddenly, at such moments the religion you were raised with , the traditions your family may have followed, become vitally important. Any impulse your beloved may have to devalue or ignore such traditions can become very, very hurtful. It’s important to examine what you will do, if anything, to mark the passages of life, including death. If you are married, it is likely you encountered this curious arousal of attachment to tradition while planning the marriage ceremony.

Also for many of us, spirituality has become increasingly important in our day-to-day lives. Many people have “practices” ; yoga, meditation, communal gatherings, discussion groups, that are central to their lives. It is important to share such practices with your beloved? If so, why? If not, why not? And what happens when one partner holds childhood religious traditions dear while the other has created a unique spiritual practice, totally apart from the religion he or she grew up with? How are both belief systems honored and blended under one roof?

copyright 2010 Natasha Taffet