Is Premarital Counseling for You?

You don't love someone because they're perfect, you love them in spite of the fact they're not. Jodi Picoult

Getting married without marriage preparation is like building a house without a blueprint; starting a business without a business plan; learn to drive a car without taking Driver's Ed; or starting a journey without a destination. Many couples spend more time planning their weddings then their marriages.

Research suggests that successful marriages aren’t about luck, choosing the right person or being more in love. Successful marriages are about having effective relationship skills. Happily married people aren’t any more similar to each other than those who divorce. They just learn how to handle their differences. They have skills for dealing with conflict.

Marry the person, don't marry potential.

The good news is that these relationship skills can be taught. Couples can learn how to have constructive conversations about money, sex, parenting, careers, household chores, in-laws, free time, and so on. They can learn to find acceptance and forgiveness, and to build upon the bond of friendship that drew them together in the first place.

Many states today have passed legislation requiring marriage education as part of the state’s high school curriculum and are offering incentives for couples taking a course before applying for a marriage license. Similarly, a growing number of churches and synagogues are requiring couples to take pre-marital classes.

Research by four studies has found that taking a skill-based marriage preparation class can reduce the divorce rate by 30% . Also, research has found that couples who increase their positivity, learn how to resolve conflict, prioritize their marriage, and avoid relationship traps are indeed able to increase satisfaction and longevity.

- "Premarital counseling is associated with higher levels of marital satisfaction, lower levels of destructive conflicts and higher levels of commitment to spouses," says a study recently published in the Journal of Family Psychology. Their conclusion was that, “premarital education was positively and significantly associated with marital satisfaction and commitment and negatively and significantly associated with divorce and marital conflict.”

Because premarital education aims to lower the risk of divorce and identify problem areas before the wedding, experts suggest couples start such programs six months to a year out.

The effects in their study were consistent across race, income, and education levels, suggesting that premarital education/counseling is generally beneficial for a wide range of couples.

- Engaged Couples who took a premarital inventory called FOCCUS were contacted 5 years later to see if their scores would predict their future marital success. Results showed that FOCCUS successfully predicted the future marital success of most couples, supporting the predictive validity of FOCCUS. - Lee Williams, University of San Diego, Joan Jurich, Purdue University.

Premarital counseling doesn’t have to be a long drawn out process, but it can be a very satisfying and worthwhile experience by enhancing your core relationship skills.

Let me help you prepare for your marriage.

Questions? Please contact me for further information.

To become "one flesh" means two people become completely one, in body, soul, and spirit and yet remain two different persons. This is the innermost mystery of marriage. Walter Trobisch

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