Written with love, by Pastor Dave Page
In the process of planning for your wedding, are you also planning for your marriage? Experience your wedding to the fullest but also consider investing in your marital relationship by getting premarital counseling – it just might be the best investment you ever make.
Here are ten great reasons why every couples has to have pre-martial counseling:
1. Strengthen Communication Skills
Being able to effectively listen, truly hear and validate one anothers' feelings is a skill that can be learned. You can tune up your communication skills through a simple speaker-listener technique.
2. Learn Conflict Resolution Skills
Conflict is inevitable. The goal is not to eliminate conflict but to learn how to resolve conflict in productive way. Premarital counseling teaches couples how to fight fair. John Gottman's research has shown that couples that resolve conflict well are less likely to divorce. (www.Gottman.com)
3. Discuss Role Expectations
Premarital counseling can uncover unspoken and unconscious expectations. Many couples have never discussed who will be doing what in the marriage. This applies to work, finances, chores, sex, kids and more. Having an open and honest discussion about what each of you expect from the other in a variety of areas leads to fewer surprises and a better marriage.
4. Explore Spiritual Beliefs
I believe we are all on a spiritual journey. The ability to discuss your faith with your partner is huge. Your beliefs and practice of those beliefs will affect your marriage and impact your kids down the road.
5. Identify Family of Origin Issues
We learn so much of how to "be" from our parents, primary caregivers and other early influences. If one of the partners experienced high conflict or an unloving household, it can be helpful to explore that in regard to how it might play out in the marriage.
6. Develop Family Goals Together
It amazes me how many couples have never discussed their relationship goals, personal goals or family goals. Working toward joint goals gives strength to your marriage.
7. Learn Financial Compatibility
Money is a big issue in marriage and a leading cause of divorce. It's not usually the lack of finances that causes the divorce, but the lack of compatibility in the financial arena. Imagine the conflict if one is a saver and one is a spender, one is focused on the future and the other believes in living for today, one has no problem buying on credit and the other believes in saving up for what one wants.
8. Understand and Appreciate Personality Differences
It’s been said that opposites attract and then opposites attack. The things that attracted you to your spouse can later drive you crazy. Learn how to appreciate your personality differences.
9. Dismantle Fears About Marriage
One or both of you might come from a divorced family or a dysfunctional background where fighting and manipulation were the norm. Premarital counseling can teach you how to make peace with your past and break the cycle.
10. Reduce the Odds of Divorce
In the Western world, half of all marriages end in divorce. Those aren’t good odds. A survey published in the Journal of Family Psychology found that couples with premarital counseling reported higher levels of marital satisfaction and experienced a 30% decline in the likelihood of divorce over five years.
Premarital Counseling is often misunderstood. The popular belief is that there must be something wrong with your relationship and therefore you need premarital counseling. Rather, I view premarital counseling as a preventative measure that can lead to a happy and healthy marriage.
I provide different options and packages for premarital counseling. Although I don’t make it mandatory, I highly recommend it to every couple I marry. I do premarital counseling face to face and also via Skype for couples who live in different parts of the world. It really is a great investment in your relationship that will serve you well for the rest of your life. In addition, I think it provides for a better wedding ceremony as I really get to know the couple I counsel, which helps me personalize the ceremony.