You are getting married. Congratulations! This is one of the most exciting times of your life. You are happier than you have ever been. As a couple, you and your fiancé are a perfect match. You rarely have an argument. You are making fun memories. You cannot wait to start your life together.
Why would you need counseling, especially before the marriage?
Depending on how long you have been together, you and your spouse may not know everything you should know about each other. In the beginning of a relationship, everything about your partner is acceptable.Even their little quirks which you may find cute early in a relationshipcan turn into a major annoyance after years of marriage. There will also be other reasons for disagreements that are more serious than little quirks.
Some of these disagreements can lead to negative outcomes.40 and 50 percent of American marriages end in divorce, according to the American Psychological Association. If it is your second or third marriage, the odds of divorce increase.
There are things you can do before you get married to prevent divorce. The top preventative measure is to attend counseling together. Below are five reasons supporting pre-marital counseling.
Learn How to Fight
You may not believe this now, but you and your spouse will disagree. You may even argue. You may slam doors and storm out of the room vowing not to speak to one another ever again.
This means you are a normal couple with normal problems. In fact, if you do not argue occasionally that may make your relationship abnormal in our society.
There is a healthy way to argue as a couple. A counselor can help you learn how to communicate, be heard, disagree, and resolve a conflict with respect. You can learn to set rules for arguing and how to use your words effectively in an argument so that you avoid regretful actions such as physical violence.
Setting goals for your marriage is different than setting goals for yourself. As a couple, you have goals for your life together. It is important to make sure your goals are the same.
Your goals may include moving to the suburbs, having two babies and thriving in the same job until retirement. Your spouse’s goals may include pets instead of kids and no desire to keep a job for more than a year.
When dating, it is easy for you to think your partnerlying on the couch and watching reruns is a cute little phase that will end after you say, “I do”. However, what if a phase does not end and what if each time you nag your spouse about getting off the couch for a job, they respond with, “Well, you knew how I was before we got married.”
Prevent statements like this by letting a counselor help you find out what goals you each have for your life as a couple.
Important topics for discussion will include having children, religion, where you live, where you will work, and finances.
Setting Bounderies During Pre-Marital Counseling
In-laws are great when you are first married. You spend time together and then go your separate ways until the next visit. This can all change after the wedding, especially when grandchildren arrive.
Your in-laws may have parenting advice, financial wisdom and relationship comments. They may express their opinions and advice more often than before you and your partner married. Eventually this could have a negative impact on your marriage and drive a wedge between you and your spouse, who could be stuck in the middle.
A counselor can help teach you how to set proper boundaries between you and your in-laws. Having boundaries enhances your relationship within the family. Each person knows their limits and they stick to them to avoid negative consequences.
Your in-laws may not mean any harm. They love you. However, having boundaries established before the wedding will eliminate built up tensions and strained relationships.
Religion, Spirituality or Not at All
It is easy to assume you and your fiancé agree about religion. Even though you do not really talk about it much, you both have similar beliefs in what happens after death. Neither of you attend church or temple right now but you are confident that if you do start attending, you will agree where to go.
This type of belief system can add a lot of stress in a marriage if one of you has a life changing experience and becomes very religious. When one person in the relationship believesin religion and the other does not this can be difficult. Also, varying religions can often be problematic if this issue is not discussed beforehand. Determining what religion or religions you will raise your children in and what traditions will be honored is a topic of conversation that is helpful to be discussed and solutions determined before marriage.
Events like the birth of a child, serious accidents, and loss of a family member or other tragedies can inspire one to reach towards spirituality and religion.
When we are changed by a spiritual awakening of some sort, we throw ourselves into learning more about the religion of our choice. This may be a way of helping us cope and figure out why things happen the way they do.
Religious and spiritual values are one of the most important topics to discuss before you marry.
Working with a counselor can help you and your spouse figure out your spiritual or religious paths together, even if you are various levels in the journey.
When you are engaged, you and your fiancé are a team. You are ready to conquer the world together. You both take your personal and job duties seriously and you do not see either of you changing after marriage.
Imagine this, five years after marriage, you have two infants, no sleep and you feel like the team you were once on is now unbalanced.
This happens to even the closest couples. Soon you both start feeling like you take on more than the other. The truth, you are both overloaded, just in separate ways.
One way to avoid this division is to attend pre-marital counseling. Here you can set role separations and the counselor can teach you to manage your time and share responsibilities.
There will be times when it is necessary for one to carry more of a load, if one person loses a job or when one person is injured. However, for the most part, it is beneficial to be balanced.
Getting pre-marital counseling does not mean that you have a bunch of problems. It means you are taking precautions from encountering potential problems. Start your marriage on the right track by meeting with a marriage and family counselor prior to saying I do.