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Why should we go through premarital counseling?

Why should we go through premarital counseling?

By: Brooke Sellhorn, MA, LMFT

Couple going through premarital counseling

“Why are you getting married?”

“Because we are in love and we make each other happy.  We don’t want to spend time with anyone else.  We are ready to start our life together.”

These may be typical answers given by an engaged couple.  And, they are legitimate answers as well.  The belief of most couples in love is that they will get married and live happily ever after.  This is the goal, however, so many couples fail at accomplishing this goal.  There is love, there is belief, there is hope, and yet, bitter breakups, ugly divorces, and shattered family homes permeate our society.  

“And they lived happily ever after” is the last line of a movie.  It may be the last page in the book.  And then, the story ends.  However, in a marriage, when the wedding ends: real life begins.  The wedding is not the end, it is only the start of challenges, triumphs, crisis, celebrations, ups, downs, aging, changing, and many different seasons of life.

Premarital counseling can prepare a couple for real life.  It can introduce the potential challenges, give management ideas for the crisis, address the changing, and teach the skills necessary for forever love.

Couples who complete premarital counseling reduce their divorce rate by 31%.  Churches often require premarital counseling to utilize their facility.  It is recommended to participate with a pastor or marriage mentor, but engaging with a premarital counselor can be even more beneficial.  A premarital counselor or coach will be able to address any potential caution flags, emotional health issues, or interpersonal weaknesses that could impact marital satisfaction.

Premarital counseling reveals expectations, helps couples to learn how to speak each other’s languages, and assists in healthy developing interpersonal skills.  Couples will better understand each other’s tendencies regarding conflict and stress.  Difficult topics are discussed like intimacy, past wounds, unresolved childhood issues, and unhealthy habits.  Each person will learn how to become a life partner, including how to build a household, manage finances, plan for children, and set long term goals.

Premarital counseling can be the best investment a couple can make in their marriage.  It may be one more expense on a couple’s budget sheet for the wedding and can be argued to be the line item with the longest impact on the marriage.  It most likely is not the most expensive item, but it may be the most important.  Making the declarative statement “I want to invest in the health of this marriage.  I want to make preparations for a healthy household.  I want to a vision plan for our life together.  I want to be a spouse who commits, communicates, connects, and cherishes the love of my life.”  With this vital investment, enhanced skills, and increased awareness: there can be a happily ever after.

 

Brooke Sellhorn is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and also a certified SYMBIS (Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts) facilitator.  Brooke has been married for over ten years and benefits from the investment of premarital counseling every single day.