So much time and energy is spent preparing and planning for a wedding, however many couples don’t consider planning for their marriage or having premarital counselling.
We all come from different backgrounds, have experienced different upbringings, and most of the time enter into relationships with differing expectations and ways in which we deal with conflict.
With around 40 per cent of marriages ending in divorce (Australian Bureau of Statistics), and an even higher rate of divorce for second marriages (Bambling, 2007), it makes sense to look at entering into counselling prior to becoming husband and wife, to help prevent or to understand and resolve relationship difficulties that may arise, or have already arisen, before saying “I Do”.
Studies show that couple who engage in premarital counselling are between 70-80% better off than those who don’t (Bambling, 2007). Premarital counselling can help to ensure a strong and healthy relationship, by providing a safe place for the couple to discuss a range of important and intimate topics related to marriage, such as:
- beliefs and values,
- roles in marriage,
- sex and intimacy,
- dealing with anger, and
- decision making.
Through this process, counselling aims to compare and clarify expectations, strengthen communication skills, explore conflict resolution strategies, and set goals (both individual and relationship-orientated) for the future. This focus on relationship skills has been shown to deliver positive outcomes for couples engaging in premarital counselling (Bambling, 2007). By talking out any problems prior to them becoming an issue, and getting an outside opinion from a someone trained in facilitating communication, it can strengthen your bond and keep your feet warm for the big day.
In addition, premarital counselling can help couples establish a positive attitude about seeking help with your marriage further down the road – and lead to a long-lasting and connected relationship with your future spouse. By discussing differences and expectations before marriage, you and your partner can better understand and support each other during your life long journey together.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2012) Love Me Do. Cat No. 4102.0. Retrieved from www.abs.gov.au
Bambling, M. (2007). Does it Work? Research on the Effectiveness of Couple Therapy. In Crawley, J. & Shaw, E (Eds.) Couple Therapy in Australia: Issues Emerging from Practice (pp23-48). Victoria: PsychOz Publications.
Gordon, L.H., Temple, R.R., Adams, D.W. (2005). Premarital Counselling from the PAIRS Perspective. In Harway, M (Ed.) Handbook of Couples Therapy (pp7-27). New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Inc.