In recent years, premarital counseling is increasingly being discussed in relation to improving communication between spouses and preventing divorce. This is mainly due to the benefits that this type of counseling provides for married couples and their relationships in the future. Although I have never received premarital or marriage counseling during 25 years that I have been married, I do believe that this form of guidance is best before marriage due to a number of reasons.
First, premarital counseling helps couples build stronger interaction and communication skills. Having a trained specialist acting as a neutral party allows them to take a different view on their relationships, learning to discuss problems that may arise, as well as to solve and prevent them. Studies have shown that premarital counseling can reduce couples’ risk of divorce by 30% (Prepare/Enrich, 2021). Apart from learning to discuss issues that may seem awkward and inappropriate, couples learn to understand each other better, to listen to and respect their partners’ opinions and suggestions. Thus, the second benefit of premarital counseling is the ability to address problems that could lead to conflicts or even divorce before they cause serious damage. It is essential, however, that those entering into marriage are able to be honest with each other while attending premarital counseling sessions, as this is the only way to get all the benefits of this practice.
Another major advantage why couples can benefit most from premarital counseling is the fact that they can discover more about themselves and their partners. Some may argue that learning new things about one’s spouse is a part of marriage, but I believe that some issues should be discussed before people decide to get married. This involves a wide range of topics, from more serious ones, such as children and budget issues, to those that may seem less significant, such as division regarding household chores and caring for a pet (Deal, 2012). I think that if two people are considering getting married, they should make sure they feel comfortable when discussing issues like that.
Premarital counseling is also extremely beneficial in terms of setting clear expectations in marriage. People often get disappointed when they discover that some of their goals or dreams for the future are not shared or supported by their partners. Marriages have been ruined by partners’ inability to adapt or renegotiate their goals and eventually achieve their dreams. When this happens, resentment in marriage increases, couples begin to argue too much, become unhappy, and may even decide to separate. In order to avoid that, it is important to discuss both common and individual expectations with respect and understanding, which will allow partners to establish a shared vision of the future. Such an approach will, in turn, encourage them to move in the same or in different directions while supporting and respecting each other’s choices, feelings and emotions. It is also essential to set boundaries that both partners feel comfortable with, using it as a way to declare what is important to both of them. This way, they will know what can offend their significant others or what they consider unacceptable.
Positive attitudes and proper communication in marriage can help people to mature in many aspects, such as patience, endurance, forgiveness, and tolerance. Happy and long-lasting relationship requires self-investment, open-mindedness, acceptance, trust, and honesty. All these qualities can be strengthened during premarital counseling sessions. In addition, getting guidance from a trained counselor, couples learn how to resolve conflicts in marriage productively and constructively.
Deal, R. L. (2012). Dating and the single parent. Bethany House Publishers.
Prepare/Enrich. (2021). Premarital Counselling: The Assessment. Web.