1: Premarital counseling works:

Whether measured by a random survey of households, or a review of prior studies, research indicates that premarital counseling results in higher relationship satisfaction, healthier relationship dynamics, and a lower divorce rate.  One study found that premarital counseling led to couples being HALF as likely to divorce or separate after three years.

2: Get help having difficult conversations:

A premarital counselor can help you increase your communication skills, and provide you with tools for taking care of your emotions so that you can navigatie conflict successfully. Some conversations are scary to have, and couples can understandably, and often unconsciously, avoid them.  There are difficult conversations that do need attention, however: when couples don’t make explicit agreements they can feel angry and disappointed later, when they realize that they incorrectly assumed they were on the same page about important issues.  How will finances be shared and managed?  How will aging parents be cared for? Will there be children, and how many? What changes in relationship agreements, if any, are expected as a result of the marriage?

3: Weddings are a huge stressor on relationships:

Premarital counseling can help make your wedding more a meaningful ritual and less a stressful ordeal. Weddings join not just two people, but two families and in fact multiple ancestral lineages.  The couple is at the epicenter of competing expectations, and weddings are a huge amount of work and an incredible expense.  Couples are often unprepared for the challenges and conflicts that this can generate. A premarital counselor can help you navigate these competing demands while focusing on injecting meaningfulness and excitement into this very important event.

4: Create a relationship with a therapist in advance of problems:

Finding a therapist who feels like a good fit can require a little effort, and establishing a trusting relationship can take a some time.  Having completed a course of premarital counseling, it can ease your mind to know that you have a trusted professional relationship in place with someone who has already learned about your respective backgrounds and seen the strength and love in your relationship.  In the event of later problems, you won’t have to catch your therapist up on background information, and can efficiently get the help you need navigating any difficult times in your relationship.

By Robin Levick, MFT

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