-A happy, healthy marriage. Every couple’s dream!
Lamentably, too few couples are truly prepared to make that dream a reality.
Before they know it, their marital problems escalate into divorce proceedings.
Can that outcome be prevented somehow? Perhaps.
Far too many couples choose to forgo premarital counseling before getting married. But that may be the single most important step to managing the issues that often lead to divorce.
How does it help?
How Premarital Counseling Helps Tame Potential Problems
Basically, premarital counseling helps you address your issues before you walk down the aisle. With the guidance of a trained counselor, you’ll talk about various areas of your relationship and learn how to work through any problems.
You will also learn what your perpetual problems are likely to be. Those are the problems that aren't really resolvable. They continue to come back around. Every couple has them. When you know what they are, you can learn to dialogue about them rather than get stuck every time.
Examples include one spouse being a saver, the other a spender; one is a clutter bug; the other is a neat freak; one wants to vacation in the mountains, the other loves the beach.
Consider 3 of the top reasons for divorce and how pre-marital counseling can help you deal with these issues amicably.
1. Lack of Communication or Failure to Communicate Effectively
Many couples simply don’t know how to talk to each other, or even listen well. Yet, openly and honestly talking with each other is the easiest way to build emotional connection and trust in a marriage. If you can’t communicate well, you can’t solve disagreements. And if you have too many unresolved problems, you’ll begin growing apart.
How premarital counseling helps: It can teach you effective communication and conflict resolution skills. For example, you’ll learn to set ground rules so that both of you feel respected and heard even during conflict situations. You’ll also learn how to express love, show empathy, and extend forgiveness. Those skills will help you work together—as a team—even when you have completely different opinions about how to handle a situation.
2. Failed Expectations
Both men and women tend to make a lot of assumptions when it comes to marriage. However, those high expectations rarely match the reality of married life. When spouses become unhappy in their marriage, they may resort to complaining, criticizing, or threatening their mate to get them to make changes. And when that doesn’t work, they may end up looking elsewhere for fulfillment. An affair often follows.
How premarital counseling helps: It allows you to discuss your expectations and goals—leaving all the guesswork out to see if they match those of your future spouse. If they’re just too different, you may decide not to take the step to get married. If they do align, you’re still asked to look at your own contribution to the marital unit and your happiness. You’ll learn that it’s okay to ask for what you want, but, in the end, you can’t expect your spouse to be solely responsible for your happiness in the marriage.
3. Loss of Intimacy
Far too many people hold the misguided belief that marital intimacy—emotional as well as sexual—can thrive without much input from either spouse. In their opinion, if it’s meant to be, it should just work out. They often ask, “What’s wrong with my marriage?” but seldom ask,“What can I contribute to making it better?” It’s much easier to blame other factors than to consider the personal changes you can make to help your intimate connection flourish.
How premarital counseling helps: It teaches relationship skills that foster emotional engagement, responsiveness, and personal effort. When you understand how important it is to work on strengthening your marital bond, you can stop looking at your marriage as something separate from you. You can see it a connection made up of the two of you. By sharing your interests and exploring them together, you can create the deepest kind of intimacy. One that will last you a lifetime.
The point of all this? Seeking premarital counseling is the best decision you can make as a couple. It can help you avoid many of the reasons that lead others to divorce. It teaches you to deal with the realities of marriage, the disagreements that inevitably arise, and the situations that could disconnect you from one another. Why not give it a try?