Before You Tie The LGBTQ Knot, Take Note Of These Important Points

How pre-marital therapy in a same-sex couple can help.

Therapy 15th Aug, 2021

Although couples are similar regardless of the sexuality of the individuals, LGBTQ couples have to deal with slightly different issues. Pre-marriage counseling can help you and your partner understand what a marriage between you two will look like. To help you make your decision, be sure to choose a counselor who is qualified to handle the specific challenges faced by same-sex couples, as described below: 

Specific Challenges Faced By Same-Sex Couples: 

In preparation, here are some of the challenges most frequently faced by same-sex couples in their marriage:

1. Always Look For Legal Protection: 

It may be vital for you to have the legal protection that verifies your relationship, legally and emotionally. Unfortunately, few laws protect the rights of same-sex couples. Even if you marry in a jurisdiction that recognises same-sex unions, you can move to another one and find that your marriage is not recognised. Due to the lack of legal protection, you and your partner must decide what is best for you. For some couples, it is essential to move to a state where their marriage is legally recognised. Under the legal framework, it is important that you and your partner decide how you want your union to be recognised. 

2. Always Be Mindful Of Cultural Influences: 

Unfortunately, not everyone will like your union due to homophobia and heterosexuality’s dominance in our culture. You and your partner may have different levels of comfort in dealing with homophobia. Despite these different levels of comfort, it is crucial that each member of the couple shares their expectations about homophobia. 

When interacting with others, you need to understand how to support each other. You need to explore how your partner copes with the pressure of homophobia to identify strengths and areas for improvement. It can be essential to address self-care issues when dealing with these stressors. Think about how each partner gets the personal care they need to deal with homophobia and heterosexuality. 

Although each couple has different ways of dealing with this stress, all same-sex couples need to identify self-care methods to participate together. Doing activities that meet your self-care needs, and allow you to spend time with your partner, can promote intimacy and strengthen relationships. 

3. Define What “Being Out” Means To You Both: 

Defining the degree of “outness” of a partner involves setting expectations. Some same-sex couples have different degrees of “relationships.” Some people are just at various stages of identity development. For others, their degree of “outness” is influenced by their culture or ethnicity. For those from minorities, where they expect to be discriminated against by their family or racial/ethnic group, may choose to hide their homosexuality. Even if you disagree with your partner’s degree of extroversion or introversion, you must understand and respect their behaviour. It may be helpful to discuss the ideal level of public interaction that is acceptable to both of you. 

4. Include Your Partner In Your Family Life: 

There is often tension between an individual’s family and his desire to integrate his partner into family life. Even if family members recognise homosexual partners, they may still be treated differently. You and your partner may find it helpful to explore how to integrate your partner into family life without making your partner feel marginalised. Always consider the possibility that your family could eventually still not accept him. In that case, what are you willing to do for your partner? Always have a contingency plan for this eventuality. In that case, you could only interact with certain family members, or choose certain family activities in which to participate.

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