The Pros and Cons of Premarital Counseling

Reviewed May 30, 2017

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Summary

There are eight critical areas that couples should address before they marry—premarital counseling can help with this.

According to the current estimates from the National Center for Health Statistics, 43 percent of all first marriages end in divorce. Sadly, divorce has become an accepted remedy for ailing relationships in spite of the fact that marriage is still recognized as the prime source of personal happiness among Americans. Marriage continues to be the most popular voluntary institution in our society and the basis for stability in raising healthy children, so every effort should be made to help married couples succeed.

How can I tell if my marriage will work?

Research has shown that many ill-fated relationships contained the seeds of eventual breakup from the very beginning. If these “seeds” could be identified and addressed in counseling—before the wedding—couples could be spared the anguish and heartbreak of divorce or from years of dealing with a marriage destined to fail.

What are the problems that cause marriages to fail?

Marriage and family researcher Dr. David Olson has identified eight critical areas that couples should address before they walk down the aisle.

Realistic expectations of romance and compatibility

Many couples confuse romance with compatibility and intimacy. When the emotional excitement of new love subsides and our real selves are revealed, some couples are woefully unprepared for the reality of marriage life. Keeping the romance alive is a skill that must be learned if marriage is to survive.

Personality issues and habits

Little things such as grooming or sleeping habits or big things such as alcohol overuse or a bad temper can create incredible tensions and pain in a marriage. Many couples recognize annoying or downright bad habits before marriage but are afraid to address them out of fear. Many people enter marriage believing that matrimony will magically change someone’s bad habits. It won’t. Addressing them up front can save years of heartache and sleepless nights.

Communication style

How couples communicate feelings of love, anger, hurt, and their needs is closely related to how each was raised. Additionally, how couples communicate during times of stress is often very different than their normal style. Too often the stress style of an individual’s temperament does not emerge until after the wedding.

Financial management

He wants a BMW and she wants to save for a house. Differing financial goals and spending and savings habits can be a source of tremendous tension in a marriage. Research has found that couples rarely discuss financial priorities and goals prior to marriage.

Leisure activities

He likes watching college football and playing golf and she likes listening to Mozart and taking quiet walks on the beach. What couples do in their leisure time has tremendous impact on their marriage. When stress is high, couples with differing recreational interests will often retreat from each other. Unless openness to new activities is achieved, or compromise is negotiated, conflict is inevitable.

Sex and intimacy

Sex is perhaps the No. 1 source of conflict within marriage, partly because it is so difficult to discuss. Differing needs, desires, and frequencies can lead to feelings of hurt, rejection and disappointment. Counseling is very effective in helping couples communicate feelings regarding their need for affection and intimacy.

Children and parenting style

Discipline, levels of affection, bedtime rituals, etc. are seldom discussed before marriage because kids don’t usually come into the picture for a few years. Yet differing parenting styles can become a major source of conflict.

Sharing chores and responsibilities

Although no one likes to talk about it, cleaning toilets, vacuuming, doing laundry, changing diapers, taking out the garbage, and doing the yard work are all part of marriage. Couples who successfully negotiate these chores and share responsibility have significantly less conflict.

Finding counseling

Many churches and synagogues offer premarital counseling and testing. If you are considering marriage or are having trouble in your current relationship, it’s not too late to find help. The toll-free phone number on this site is a good place to start.

By Drew Edwards, EdD, MS

Summary

There are eight critical areas that couples should address before they marry—premarital counseling can help with this.

According to the current estimates from the National Center for Health Statistics, 43 percent of all first marriages end in divorce. Sadly, divorce has become an accepted remedy for ailing relationships in spite of the fact that marriage is still recognized as the prime source of personal happiness among Americans. Marriage continues to be the most popular voluntary institution in our society and the basis for stability in raising healthy children, so every effort should be made to help married couples succeed.

How can I tell if my marriage will work?

Research has shown that many ill-fated relationships contained the seeds of eventual breakup from the very beginning. If these “seeds” could be identified and addressed in counseling—before the wedding—couples could be spared the anguish and heartbreak of divorce or from years of dealing with a marriage destined to fail.

What are the problems that cause marriages to fail?

Marriage and family researcher Dr. David Olson has identified eight critical areas that couples should address before they walk down the aisle.

Realistic expectations of romance and compatibility

Many couples confuse romance with compatibility and intimacy. When the emotional excitement of new love subsides and our real selves are revealed, some couples are woefully unprepared for the reality of marriage life. Keeping the romance alive is a skill that must be learned if marriage is to survive.

Personality issues and habits

Little things such as grooming or sleeping habits or big things such as alcohol overuse or a bad temper can create incredible tensions and pain in a marriage. Many couples recognize annoying or downright bad habits before marriage but are afraid to address them out of fear. Many people enter marriage believing that matrimony will magically change someone’s bad habits. It won’t. Addressing them up front can save years of heartache and sleepless nights.

Communication style

How couples communicate feelings of love, anger, hurt, and their needs is closely related to how each was raised. Additionally, how couples communicate during times of stress is often very different than their normal style. Too often the stress style of an individual’s temperament does not emerge until after the wedding.

Financial management

He wants a BMW and she wants to save for a house. Differing financial goals and spending and savings habits can be a source of tremendous tension in a marriage. Research has found that couples rarely discuss financial priorities and goals prior to marriage.

Leisure activities

He likes watching college football and playing golf and she likes listening to Mozart and taking quiet walks on the beach. What couples do in their leisure time has tremendous impact on their marriage. When stress is high, couples with differing recreational interests will often retreat from each other. Unless openness to new activities is achieved, or compromise is negotiated, conflict is inevitable.

Sex and intimacy

Sex is perhaps the No. 1 source of conflict within marriage, partly because it is so difficult to discuss. Differing needs, desires, and frequencies can lead to feelings of hurt, rejection and disappointment. Counseling is very effective in helping couples communicate feelings regarding their need for affection and intimacy.

Children and parenting style

Discipline, levels of affection, bedtime rituals, etc. are seldom discussed before marriage because kids don’t usually come into the picture for a few years. Yet differing parenting styles can become a major source of conflict.

Sharing chores and responsibilities

Although no one likes to talk about it, cleaning toilets, vacuuming, doing laundry, changing diapers, taking out the garbage, and doing the yard work are all part of marriage. Couples who successfully negotiate these chores and share responsibility have significantly less conflict.

Finding counseling

Many churches and synagogues offer premarital counseling and testing. If you are considering marriage or are having trouble in your current relationship, it’s not too late to find help. The toll-free phone number on this site is a good place to start.

By Drew Edwards, EdD, MS

Summary

There are eight critical areas that couples should address before they marry—premarital counseling can help with this.

According to the current estimates from the National Center for Health Statistics, 43 percent of all first marriages end in divorce. Sadly, divorce has become an accepted remedy for ailing relationships in spite of the fact that marriage is still recognized as the prime source of personal happiness among Americans. Marriage continues to be the most popular voluntary institution in our society and the basis for stability in raising healthy children, so every effort should be made to help married couples succeed.

How can I tell if my marriage will work?

Research has shown that many ill-fated relationships contained the seeds of eventual breakup from the very beginning. If these “seeds” could be identified and addressed in counseling—before the wedding—couples could be spared the anguish and heartbreak of divorce or from years of dealing with a marriage destined to fail.

What are the problems that cause marriages to fail?

Marriage and family researcher Dr. David Olson has identified eight critical areas that couples should address before they walk down the aisle.

Realistic expectations of romance and compatibility

Many couples confuse romance with compatibility and intimacy. When the emotional excitement of new love subsides and our real selves are revealed, some couples are woefully unprepared for the reality of marriage life. Keeping the romance alive is a skill that must be learned if marriage is to survive.

Personality issues and habits

Little things such as grooming or sleeping habits or big things such as alcohol overuse or a bad temper can create incredible tensions and pain in a marriage. Many couples recognize annoying or downright bad habits before marriage but are afraid to address them out of fear. Many people enter marriage believing that matrimony will magically change someone’s bad habits. It won’t. Addressing them up front can save years of heartache and sleepless nights.

Communication style

How couples communicate feelings of love, anger, hurt, and their needs is closely related to how each was raised. Additionally, how couples communicate during times of stress is often very different than their normal style. Too often the stress style of an individual’s temperament does not emerge until after the wedding.

Financial management

He wants a BMW and she wants to save for a house. Differing financial goals and spending and savings habits can be a source of tremendous tension in a marriage. Research has found that couples rarely discuss financial priorities and goals prior to marriage.

Leisure activities

He likes watching college football and playing golf and she likes listening to Mozart and taking quiet walks on the beach. What couples do in their leisure time has tremendous impact on their marriage. When stress is high, couples with differing recreational interests will often retreat from each other. Unless openness to new activities is achieved, or compromise is negotiated, conflict is inevitable.

Sex and intimacy

Sex is perhaps the No. 1 source of conflict within marriage, partly because it is so difficult to discuss. Differing needs, desires, and frequencies can lead to feelings of hurt, rejection and disappointment. Counseling is very effective in helping couples communicate feelings regarding their need for affection and intimacy.

Children and parenting style

Discipline, levels of affection, bedtime rituals, etc. are seldom discussed before marriage because kids don’t usually come into the picture for a few years. Yet differing parenting styles can become a major source of conflict.

Sharing chores and responsibilities

Although no one likes to talk about it, cleaning toilets, vacuuming, doing laundry, changing diapers, taking out the garbage, and doing the yard work are all part of marriage. Couples who successfully negotiate these chores and share responsibility have significantly less conflict.

Finding counseling

Many churches and synagogues offer premarital counseling and testing. If you are considering marriage or are having trouble in your current relationship, it’s not too late to find help. The toll-free phone number on this site is a good place to start.

By Drew Edwards, EdD, MS

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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