Premarital - Planning for Happily Ever After
You Want to Have the Best Marriage Possible
You are in love. You have found the partner who is just right for you. You know your relationship has some strengths and you hope and dream that this relationship will be your happily ever after. Still…you have family and friends who also believed they had found the right person and are now either separated or divorced. You’ve heard the statistics – 40-50% of first marriages end in divorce, and the percentages are greater for second marriages. Neither you nor your partner want to be another statistic, you want to get it right.
In all relationships, the romance will eventually come and go, or it may fade altogether. The things that will bond you for the long-term aren’t always addressed before marriage.
While we can’t guarantee that your relationship will last forever, we can provide guidance in helping the two of you explore your relationship and each other at both a deeper level and from a broader perspective. When you are willing to be vulnerable with one another, to be open to each other as you go through life’s difficulties, and to share in the process of growth, you will find a greater connection. The greater the connection you have with your partner, the more insulated you become from the stresses in life and the more confident you can be of having the happily ever after of your dreams.
Why Worry About the Future of My Marriage Now?
Over 75% of Americans believe that being married is important and 85% will marry at least once in their lives. Yet research indicates that only 25% of couples will still be happily married after 10 years of marriage. (Popenoe & Whitehead, 2010)
Premarital counseling can improve the odds that your marriage will be more satisfying and secure.
What is Premarital Counseling?
At Memorial Counseling Center, we believe that making a marriage commitment is one of the most significant decisions you will make in your lives, and we recognize that fulfilling that commitment can come with many challenges. Our premarital counseling program, Planning For Happily Ever After, was created with a number of goals in mind. First, we want to create a safe, open, and accepting space where you can explore various facets of your relationship that sometimes don’t come up in daily life and typical conversations. Second, we will guide you in identifying and celebrating the strengths you have as a couple. These are the qualities of your relationship that will carry you through stressful and difficult times. Third, we will help you address those areas that could create future conflict and distancing or even detachment. Finally, we want you to learn and implement strategies that will allow you to make repairs and overcome obstacles to marital satisfaction in the future.
How will we achieve all of this, you ask? Our premarital counselors are trained to guide you through a number of premarital counseling topics. The topics are designed to help increase your awareness and understanding of each other, to make known the expectations you each have of the relationship and of each other, and to facilitate deeper levels of attachment. We offer both a Christian premarital focus, or a non-religious premarital focus, depending on what best suites your needs.
The recommended topics include, but are not limited to: communication and conflict management; money & finances; family dynamics (past and future); roles & responsibilities; goals for the future; values, religion, & spirituality; and sex, intimacy & love. While these topics, along with a thorough assessment, are generally completed over an eight-session span, we have the flexibility to tailor the number of sessions and topics to fit your needs as a couple. Another benefit to our ability to tailor sessions is that we can either extend discussion on a particular topic you feel needs to go deeper or we can change the focus of other sessions to meet your needs.
Special topics some couples may want to add include second marriages, blended families, LGBT, multicultural concerns, first marriages for older adults, and so on. We will collaborate with you during the first session to address your specific needs and goals.
Won’t Premarital Counseling Cost a Lot of Money and Take Too Much Time Out of Our Schedules?
You may have some concerns about entering into premarital counseling. Often, these concerns have to do with the financial cost and the time commitment.
While it’s true that premarital counseling comes with a price tag, we believe that the benefits of premarital counseling can far outweigh the actual dollars spent. Some studies have found that premarital counseling can reduce the divorce rate by 30% (Stanley, Amato, Johnson & Markman, 2006) and can significantly improve marriage satisfaction (Knutson & Olson, 2003). At the same time, divorce is costly both in terms of dollars and emotional & physical wellbeing. Once you add children to the mix, the costs of divorce are even greater. We believe that any steps taken to maintain the strengths of your relationship and to reduce the risks of divorce in the future are well worth the costs.
Our standard premarital curriculum can be completed in eight fifty-minute long sessions. In addition to that, we recommend that you spend time between sessions to answer various questions on your own that will enrich the following session. For many of us, adding one more thing to already busy lives, seems burdensome. This is time intentionally spent in self-discovery, sharing with each other, and strengthening the bond between you. For many of us, adding one more thing to already busy lives, seems burdensome.
So, what’s the payoff? The payoff is in the opportunity to create and maintain an innate stress-reducing and health-optimizing system. Studies have shown that individuals who are in committed, healthy relationships have less stress as a result of having a partner to lean on, share burdens with, and plan for the future together. Also, this reduced stress is a factor in experiencing better physical and mental health.
You Can Take Steps To Get Your Marriage Off To A Good Start
Commit to the time and money needed to make your marriage the best it can be for the long-term. You can deepen your knowledge of each other and learn how to maintain relationship strength into the future.