This week I attended two days training on the topic of preparing couples for marriage/relationship. We had some lengthy discussions about what the benefits of this might be for couples and who would want it.
With this in mind I thought this would be a good time to address my thoughts on the topic and I’ll speak more about the service at the end of this article/blog.
Reduce Your Likelihood of Divorce by 30%
Research has shown us that the divorce rate of those who have done a preparation for marriage course cuts the divorce rate by more than thirty percent.
Every couple hopes that they’ll live happily ever after. Fewer than one in three actually will. What makes the difference? Is it love? Is it luck?
Did you know that most affairs and divorces occur during the years just after the wedding? That living together before the wedding does not increase marriage success? That marriage satisfaction can plummet when a child is born?
Transition from the romance of the pre-wedding period to married life can be much more challenging than most couples expect.
Premarriage preparation, or premarital counseling, is a form of counseling that can benefit every couple planning to marry or enter into a long-term relationship. This is not the same as couple therapy, which may be what’s needed when more critical issues come up. Premarital counseling tends to take on more of an educational role. Its purpose is to help you discover things about each other that you may not have known before giving you an opportunity to confirm for yourself that this person really is the right person for you.
Premarital counseling is also about teaching you the skills you will need to support each other in having a happy and lasting marriage.
So, just like life, the marriage certificate doesn’t come with a set of operating instructions. And, just like life, the skills you need to make a successful relationship aren’t necessarily learned from observing your parents. The truth is that most of them may also still be trying to figure out how to be in marriage/relationship. The skills really are best taught by someone trained who has the knowledge of what it takes to be a couple.
The philosophy behind premarital counseling is that it highlights the strengths of a couple before you marry and to anticipate and prepare you for the challenges and conflicts that could arise in the future by drawing attention to your growth areas.
Premarital counseling will help you identify and communicate your fears, desires, beliefs, values, dreams, needs, and other issues that may have been previously avoided or denied or maybe even never discussed.
Research into the benefits of premarital counseling has found that there is a window of opportunity that exists during the year that precedes the wedding as well as the first six months after the wedding when the most benefits from premarital counselling can be gleaned. As time passes and more stress comes into the relationship, a couple can find that negative habits and unhealthy relationship patterns can develop that can become well established and very hard to break.
Research has illuminated seven areas of knowledge and relationship skills that help contribute to the development, success and lasting quality of a happy, loving marriage.
Planning a wonderful wedding is great, but investing just a little in the success of your marriage and long-term relationship is at least as important.
Anyway let me get back to the training day. The workshop was teaching us, the participants, how to use a software program called “Prepare-Enrich”. We further learned how to read the results, facilitate a feedback session and to discuss with the couple any issues that became evident from those results.
This program begins with having each member of the couple complete a very detailed inventory. While this was developed back in the 1970’s by David Olson Ph.D., as a paper and pen exercise, it is now completed on the computer in your own time. The inventory is designed specifically for your situation based on the details you enter into the computer in the first instance.
The intention of the program is to help build stronger relationships through the following avenues:
- Explore Strength and Growth Areas
- Strengthen Communication Skills
- Identify and Manage Major Stressors
- Resolve Conflicts using the Ten Step Model
- Develop a more balanced relationship using the Couple and Family Maps
- Understand personality differences and maximize teamwork
The follow-up sessions address every one of these areas in order to be of the greatest help to couples.
I’m feeling very excited about being involved in the great work that David Olson and others are doing and would like to offer my readers an opportunity to complete the program as well.
If you would like some more information about this program contact me or check back at my website. We would be happy to help you complete the inventory.
So until next time – Relate with Love