As you are preparing for a life together, you may wonder if getting counseling is worth the financial investment prior to marriage? Based on research, the answer for most couples is YES!
Build your chances of success Couples who received Premarital Counseling have shown to be correlated with a higher rate of satisfaction in their marriage and had a 30% lower rate divorce in the first 5 years than couples who did not receive premarital counseling. When it comes to building a life-long relationship, the saying is true; “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
For couples who chose not to have premarital counseling, 80% of those surveyed wish they had and reported they would advise other couples to get it.
Enhance your intimacy
In premarital counseling, you have the experience of a therapist guiding the conversation. Part of the benefit to this is possibly learning things from your partner that you had not thought to ask before. Seeing how the therapist works to identify your partners feelings may help you learn how you can best approach them too in order to connect on a deep level.
Normalize Getting Help When things get tough in a marriage, the couple may need extra support from friends, family, and occasionally, a therapist. Research has found that couples who received premarital counseling are more likely to participate in couples counseling later on when they need help with the relationship compared to couples who did not receive premarital counseling.
Use your passion to your advantage
The beginning of a relationship is often marked by what is referred to as the “honeymoon stage,” where we have intense feelings of love and see our partner through rose-colored glasses. Working through high potential areas of conflict while both partners have such strong positive feelings towards each other can be a massive advantage. It is much easier to empathize and connect with someone you have positive view of and feel passionate about.
For couples who already feel “stuck” in their conflicts, premarital counseling has shown to have a high success rate (~83%) at helping these couples feel satisfied in their relationships again.
Through assessment and feedback from the therapist, the couple will get to see the areas where their beliefs and values align and where they differ. For example with finances and parenting, this can allow the couple to recognize where they will need to have discussions and have appropriate exceptions of each other.
Build Life Long Skills
In premarital counseling, I help couples learn active listening and communication skills. While this may sound basic, it will prove to be invaluable through all the arguments and conflicts the couple will face throughout their marriage.
Recognize Red Flags It is understandable that many couples do not feel a need for pre-marital counseling when early on in the relationship, conflicts are easily side-stepped and each partner has an abundance of patience for each other’s faults. Often it is later in the relationship, as the honeymoon stage ends, that a person may look back and see all the “red flags” that they somehow missed in the beginning of the relationship. Premarital counseling will bring up important areas of discussion in a structured environment, which will increase awareness across the relationship.
Establish Short Term and Long Term Goals Part of a strong relationship is creating shared meaning and visions of the future. In premarital counseling, The discussions will allow you to understand each others dreams and create a shared vision along with the short term and long term goals on how to achieve those goals together.
If your feel like this is something that could benefit your relationship, I would love to work with you! Feel free to send me an email at email@example.com to schedule a free consultation or use the online scheduler at arisedallas.com to book an appointment.
Statistics found from the following research:
Williamson, H. C., Hammett, J. F., Ross, J. M., Karney, B. R., & Bradbury, T. N. (2018). Premarital education and later relationship help-seeking. Journal of family psychology : JFP : journal of the Division of Family Psychology of the American Psychological Association (Division 43), 32(2), 276–281. https://doi.org/10.1037/fam0000383
Carlson, R., Daire, A., Munyon, M., Young, M., & Carlson, R. (2012). A Comparison of Cohabiting and Noncohabiting Couples Who Participated in Premarital Counseling Using the PREPARE Model. Family Journal, 20(2), 123–130. doi:10.1177/1066480712441588
Olson, D. H., Olson, A. K., & Larson, P. (2012). PREPARE-ENRICH Program: Overview and New Discoveries about Couples. Journal of Family & Community Ministries, 2012, 25, 30-44. Also available: www.familyandcommunityministries.org
Karen Ramirez is a therapist at Arise Counseling in Dallas, Texas. She specializes individuals and couples wishing to strengthen their relationships and overcome the challenges keeping them from having the meaningful change they desire.
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