Premarital Counseling: Premarital Counseling and 7 Reasons Why You Should Do It
Given the staggering divorce rates, one of the best things you can do to help save your marriage before it begins is premarital counseling. Couples that are involved in a specific church or those that want to be married within the walls of a church are often required by the minister or pastor to receive counseling before he or she agrees to officiate the ceremony. Those couples that are not religious may miss out on this procedure simply because it is not required. According to Psychology Today, studies suggest that couples that choose to receive counseling have lower divorce rates than those that do not. This guide will provide you with seven reasons why you should consider some form of counseling.
1) Face Issues
Couples who attend premarital counseling have the opportunity to discuss issues that most couples argue about and most often lead to divorce or separation. Marriage counseling can help you address hot issues before they arise and assist you in discovering what the other person believes about the issue so that you may come to an agreement before you walk down the aisle. For example, you may discuss under what religion you will raise your future children or talk about what you will do if in-laws try to interfere. Having a plan of action on how you will handle serious issues can help you prevent altercations later. In counseling, you will also address the main issues that are currently affecting your relationship. Little problems can turn into major arguments if they are given a chance to fester. Counseling can help you work through any negative feelings before they turn into something bigger.
2) Counselor Wisdom
Oftentimes, it helps having someone to talk to that has already been through the issues you will be facing. A great marriage counselor that has been married can provide you with experience that can only come from being married and living with another person. It also helps to talk to someone who may have felt some of the same feelings about family and relationships. Someone older and wiser can also clue you in on the qualities that make another person a good match for you. This will give you something to consider before deciding to take that big step. You don’t have to follow someone’s advice and call off the wedding because the bride or groom likes to do things you don’t agree with, but it does help to listen to someone who can give you insight on problems that may arise.
3) All Marriages Benefit
Everyone knows that one couple that seems to have it all together. These two people love to spend time together and always seem to be happy regardless of what they are doing. In spite of outward appearances, even that couple has had an argument at one time or another and possibly contemplated breaking up. All couples can benefit from premarital counseling, even the ones that seem perfect on the outside. In reality, the perfect couples are probably the ones that have sought help from outside parties or modeled their behavior toward one another from others who have been in successful relationships. No marriage will ever be perfect or problem-free, but premarital counseling can help you work through your difficulties and learn to keep your love alive even through adversities. Essentially, with counseling you will learn how to compromise and work with the other person to ensure happiness and longevity.
4) Effective Communication
One of the most important aspects of any marriage is effective communication. When a couple stops caring and stops talking to one another, the marriage will eventually fall apart. Counseling can help you learn how to be a good listener, so you know what the other person wants and needs. When you live with someone day after day, it’s easy to take each other for granted, but by keeping an open line of communication and expressing love, you build a relationship that can withstand the test of time. One-on-one therapy helps couples learn to talk to one another and express feelings in a way that will not damage the relationship. You learn to hold your tongue when it’s appropriate and how to speak with honesty. It’s a good idea to sit with one another and discuss what you want to achieve during the meetings, which is your first step toward effective communication.
Related Article: 6 Amazing Couples Therapy Exercises for Improving Communication
5) Review Finances
Many individuals enter into marriage in debt because they financed a wedding that they really couldn’t afford. Counseling can help you create a budget, find out about the credit of the person you will marry, and discover any loans and outstanding balances the person may have. Ongoing financial problems can destroy even the healthiest of relationships, so it helps to sit down with a marital counselor and draw up a plan of action for how you handle your bank accounts and how you will handle paying for your responsibilities. You should already know ahead of time the major issue of paying for the wedding and whose responsibility it will be. If you do not have relatives that intend to cover the cost, it’s wise to plan the wedding well within your means so you won’t argue about the cost later. Learning about your spouse’s spending habits before you say I do can help you avoid arguments about money in the future.
6) Discover Something New
Premarital therapy sessions will give you the opportunity to discuss things that do not come up in normal conversations, such as hurtful past experiences, sex, and expectations. Too often, we think we know our spouse well, but we may not learn of past abuse or how the person expects the marriage to be. The relationship your spouse has with your in-laws will usually reflect on how your children will be disciplined and treated, so pay attention to other relationships and if the person suffered from abuse as a child or young adult, it’s a good idea to seek individual therapy to resolve any underlying issues.
7) Divorce Prevention
One of the most important reasons to seek premarital counseling is to prevent divorce. Studies show that couples that attend counseling sessions are 30 percent less likely to entertain the notion than those who do not. This lowers your risk of divorce to around 20 percent, which is why many churches and religious leaders encourage counseling for couples. Premarital counseling will help increase your likelihood for happiness because you will identify your fears, values, beliefs, needs, and desires and learn how to communicate them to your partner. Many couples cite the reasons for divorce as infidelity or financial issues when in reality the major cause of a marriage breakdown is lack of communication. Premarital counseling will help empower you with the tools you need to build trust for one another and the techniques you can adopt to support one another. Counseling will also help ensure an 80 percent success rate, which can give you an advantage over those who decide to go into marriage without help. With these statistics, it’s hard to see why someone would choose not to seek counseling before deciding to take that big step.
Learn more on how to avoid divorce in our Marriage Counseling Guide.