Sealed with a kiss!

Sealed with a kiss!
Laura & Chris' Wedding at JCRaulston Arboretum

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Benefits of Pre-Marital Counseling by March McQueen

I stumbled upon this article on a wedding article blog via Google Alerts this evening. The author apparently shares the same belief I do that pre-marital counseling is a wise investment in your future together. I could not find the original article or anything about the author but here is the link to the blog.

"Many refer to the month of June as wedding season. Others talk about the beauty of a spring wedding. This means many will begin or have already started the process of planning their big day.

Most couples will spend endless hours and resources to make the wedding day the perfect day. And without question, making your wedding day special and memorable should be a priority. However, the real goals of creating a long-term, stable and faithful marriage often get overshadowed.

One popular site states that the average cost of a wedding in the United States last year was $19,581. This figure did not include the costs associated with a honeymoon or an engagement ring. It also reported that the average person spends 20 to 30 hours planning their wedding. This figure seems a bit low. I would suspect it to be much higher if it reported the average number of hours spent stressed and worrying about the details of the wedding day.

The reality is that marriages in the U.S. continue to struggle. Divorce rates remain high and the average life span of a marriage is around seven years. We have all known couples who became disenchanted with their spouse within a few months, shortly after the excitement of the wedding ceremony faded. Comments such as 'they became a different person after we got married' are all too common.

We spend many years in school planning for a career but there is not a required class or national certification for being a good husband or wife. I believe that many relationship difficulties could be avoided if the amount of preparation for the marriage matched the amount of preparation and planning put into the actual wedding day.

Whether it is with a counselor or a minister, I recommend that all couples attend some form of premarital counseling. If couples take on a preventive mindset and address some of the potential trouble spots in a marriage before their wedding day, much heartache can be avoided.

There are five major areas I encourage couples to explore before saying “I do.”

    * 1. Communication: Are couples open and honest with one another? Are they able to ask directly for what they need? Do they have the skills to resolve a conflict?
    * 2. Finances: Likely the most common stress on a marriage is finances. Who is in charge of the money? Will a joint or separate account work best? What is each person’s philosophy about saving/giving?
    * 3. Extended family: What is the role of extended family? Where will the couple spend holidays? What information is shared with extended family and what information is kept within the marriage?
    * 4. Parenting styles: Couples should compare how they were parented, as well as discuss what they believe are the key values they would want to teach their own children.
    * 5. Intimacy: Beliefs and expectations regarding physical, emotional and spiritual intimacy should also be discussed.

There are other key matters that if present should be discussed in premarital counseling: professional and personal goals for the future, any history of abuse, any history of substance abuse and/or mental illness, and previous marriages just to name a few.

Enjoy the wedding day. Make it fun. But reserve some time and energy for planning for a successful marriage."

See this post for more details about my pre-marital counseling program called Marriage Optimization.

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