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Premarital Counseling: Why bother?
Posted: 11/21/2011 | Relationships Comments
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I’ve heard people say that if you need to see a counselor before you are married, you are with the wrong person. Au contraire.  Getting ready for marriage often gets eclipsed by all the planning and details for the wedding day. 

We’ve all heard the sobering statistics: 50% of marriages end in divorce and the numbers for second marriages are even worse. Those are intimidating odds against hopeful couples ready to tie the knot.  Of course, most of us who marry believe we are among the 50% who’ll make it, that our love will last a lifetime. The good news is that we can improve our odds with high quality premarital counseling. In fact, a 2006 University of Denver study found that premarital counseling reduces the risk of divorce by 30%. Why is that?
Most people marry when they’re in love, aided by wonderful hormones that help us bond. This romantic stage with all its endorphins lasts about three months to three years, and then the real work of love and relationship begins. Conflicts often arise around finances, communication, beliefs and values, for example. So it seems like a wise choice to explore with your partner before the marriage begins. Many areas could be explored together, including: roles in the marriage, affection and sex, children and parenting, family relationships, dealing with anger, decision making, time spent together and social activities.
Many religious traditions encourage premarital counseling, too. Think about it: what life, work or career path doesn’t require training and education to ensure success? Why wouldn’t it be true for marriage? It would be great if the perfect manual existed to help every couple to know just what to do in every situation. But then that manual would also have to heal our inner psyche as well. The fact is, we only know what we’ve learned from our personal experience, the media, cultural expectations and parental examples. That’s often an unreliable, confusing and unrealistic foundation for marriage. 
Even before they walk down the aisle, with the help of a well trained psychotherapist, a couple can gain new skills and insights that will improve their odds for a successful, life long marriage. You will have the benefit of the safety that can be present in the office of an experienced relationship expert that can support you and your partner in exploring what might come up. Here are just a few good reasons for premarital counseling:
  1. Communication becomes easier. You can identify your communication styles and learn to listen better while feeling heard. This will directly improve almost everything, including shortening arguments, leaving room for more enjoyment together.
  2. You’ll really get to know your fiance. As much as you think you know your future partner, the truth is everyone marries the best and worst of their mothers and fathers. Each person contains a universe, and you and your partner can begin to travel this territory, learn to speak the language and become more familiar with the landscape before the big day. 
  3. You’ll really get to know yourself better. A surprising advantage to couple’s counseling is that you’ll learn so much more about yourself, than you already know now. Developing a healthier, more effective way of relating to your partner provides the best opportunity for personal growth there is. This is true because intimate relationships usually bring up our deepest earliest historical woundings for healing.
  4. You can safely anticipate and address potential issues before they become an obstacle. Your therapist can help pinpoint issues that could potentially become a problem later. You can then be better equipped to recognize the early signs of problems instead of getting blindsided. Sometimes we don’t recognize these on our own, or we don’t realize they’re important. We all have our own ways of not seeing. 
  5. You’ll learn to resolve conflicts swiftly and with greater ease. With good premarital counseling, conflicts become less scary and we begin to see them as opportunities to clear the air in healthy ways, restore affection and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and relationships.  
A wedding day is a monumental event in our lives. Marriage actually begins after that big day is over. The more you know yourselves and the more you know your partner, the greater the satisfaction in your relationship will be. You can move from the lovely first blush of romance to the exquisite experience of emotional intimacy. And isn’t that really why you’ve come together? 
Did you and your partner choose premarital counseling? How did it make a difference for you? Your comments make a difference for all of us.


counseling Atlanta       Posted: 1/10/2012 12:28:04 AM

This is a reasonable idea as these days, divorce and separation is very prevalent. Many relationships last earlier than it should be because couples are getting married for reasons that are different from what makes a bond last a lifetime. Counseling prior to marrying can probably help open the eyes of couples more in order to forge a forever bond.

Premarital Counseling Baton Rouge       Posted: 11/23/2011 12:01:30 PM

You have explained well the importance of premarital counseling. It is an investment, yet the dividends are well worth the time, effort and finances.

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