I’m all for the real talk. The hard conversations. Taking risks. It’s important that we challenge ourselves constantly… what can I do to improve? Why am I doing things a certain way? Is it because I’ve been told that’s just the way it is?

It’s easy to make our social media accounts look like sweet, happy and in love couples ALL THE FREAKING TIME. Truth be told that’s just not real life…Divorce happens often and it’s challenging to discuss. The super low parts of relationships can leave us feeling shame. Triggers from past traumas can surface and if we don’t have the tools to communicate in a healthy way we’ll feel the impact on our friendships and relationships now and in the future. So let’s talk about it.

I polled my Instagram people about pre-martial counseling/couples therapy [view post HERE] and found out some interesting info and wanted to share some of your answers. Here’s the scoop & some direction if you’re looking for counseling options:

What did you find helpful about pre-marital counseling?

☑️ We learned how to disagree in a healthy, respectful way… how to truly compromise when necessary.

☑️ Helps to clarify goals around a lot of topics where many people have baggage.

☑️ It helped us sort out what was our shit and what was shit from our parents.

☑️ Helped with getting on the same page with how to handle family at the wedding…if they showed up.

If you decided against pre-marital counseling…why?

☑️ Couldn’t afford it. Couldn’t find times that worked for all schedules.

☑️ Couldn’t get past assumed gender roles. Felt like we were put in a box from the start.

☑️ The only people I ever knew ho did it were forced through their church, so it rubbed me the wrong way.

☑️ Didn’t think it was common to do outside of religious practice.

So now Let’s talk about Bandit

I don’t partner with people or brands I don’t believe in. There’s a good chance I’ve probably worked with them in some capacity before and approve. Bandit offers pre-marital counseling, online courses and workshops. I worked with the founder at THIS event and spoke on the importance of LGBTQ+ representation and inclusivity within the wedding industry.

But who is this workshop for?

Engaged folx, soon-to-be engaged folx, and people who aren’t into labels who just want to dig deeper into their commitment early on into their relationship.

Is it inclusive?

This workshop is secular, non-religious, and non traditional – no assumed gender roles or pronouns! Bandit is well aware of the religious association of premarital counseling. It’s one of Egan’s, the co-founders, frustrations with the premarital counseling space as a whole – why is it just reserved for religious couples? Why wasn’t there an alternative for non-religious couples? Surely prep work for marriage doesn’t have to be religious, right? And to take it a step further, why did it seem so many premarital counseling programs were heteronormative, leaning towards pushing a more traditional and discriminative view of marriage? Egan’s been a longtime advocate for creating safer spaces in the wedding industry via her company, Modern Rebel, her NYC based business in which 40% of her couples identify as LGBTQIA. It was a no-brainer that Bandit provides a safe space as well – from the topics to the language used throughout the workshop. For example, starting a family looks very different for a lesbian couple than it does for a straight couple – so, talking about future family planning needs to be met with this broader understanding. Bandit’s hope is that all couples feel welcome and they’ll be able to raise the standard of premarital counseling while also opening up the accessibility. The stronger our relationships, the happier we are – that starts with a solid foundation and that work should be offered to everybody.

Wait. Is this therapy?

Premarital counseling is NOT therapy – think of it more like educational work to get on the same page prior to long term commitment. It covers things like money, kids, future goals, and some of the basics like trust, communication, intimacy. You walk away knowing you did your homework prior to a lifelong commitment.

Who’s running this show?

Bandit was founded by Amy of Modern Rebel after feeling frustrated that we have SO many wedding tools and SO few relationship tools – not cool. Hope Mirlis is the premarital counselor and she has 10+ years coaching couples specifically in premarital space.

I’m low on funds. What’s the pricing scoop?

The workshop is AFFORDABLE! It’s $100/session and each session is 90 minutes – and because everyone loves a discount: Use my discount code, STEPH10, you get 10% off that price – a legit investment.

I want to know more. Where do I sign up?

Peruse courses and sign up HERE. Deadline is July 10! There are 2 six week workshops – the first begins on July 12 [Monday evenings for six weeks] and the other begins July 21 [Wednesday evenings].

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