When you first get engaged, there are so many things going through your mind. There is excitement, planning, how to announce to family and friends and spending time with your new fiancé! You may or may not have considered premarital counseling and education. I’m sure even if you have, it’s not at the top of your to-do list. Many people don’t think of premarital counseling or education because they are in the peak of their relationship – things are perfect right now.
I certainly did not. I didn’t even know much about it. My husband and I were in such a great place during our engagement that I wasn’t sure we would benefit much from a premarital course. However, the church that married us required we attend a class, so we did! To be totally honest, the course really surprised me. Not only did both my husband and I have fun but we learned a lot more about each other and how to make our relationship even stronger. I’m now an advocate for premarital education and encourage others to pursue it. Recently challenged by a friend on why and how it works, I decided to do some research. I am now more convinced than ever that it matters. Here’s why:
Starting a Marriage with premarital education starts a marriage with intention
Although getting married is an intentional act, it’s normal to get distracted by wedding planning, moving, careers, family and life. Premarital education will give you and your future spouse the space and structure to slow down. This allows you to really think about the marriage you want to have. Premarital courses and workshops can also teach you and your partner about tools and techniques. These may help with communication, staying connected and having healthier conflicts. Even if you and your partner don’t struggle with these things now, learning these techniques when you are in a good place will help you be more prepared during difficult times.
Premarital education will give you and your future spouse the opportunity to explore your expectations of one other.
Having different expectations can be one of the biggest problems in a marriage, especially in the beginning of a marriage. Expectations can range from who will do the dishes after dinner, how often you want to have sex, to when and if you want to start a family. Knowing your partner’s values, thoughts and desires on these topics is important.
You may have had similar conversations in the past but once engaged, these possibilities become a reality. Expectations affect both of your futures. You and your future spouse should discuss expectations before you are married. This lowers the chances of one of you being unhappy or surprised later in life. Sit down with your partner and take some time to talk about what you want your relationship to look like. Whether that is in 2 years, 5 years, 20 years, even 50 years. Are you both on the same page? If not where do your expectations differ?
Going through the process of premarital education shows a level of commitment to the relationship.
That is one of the reasons that some states offer incentives to couples who complete a designated number of hours of premarital education. It is also why certain faiths and churches require it. One study found that taking a premarital course can lower an individual’s chance of getting divorced by 31%. Part of that is it takes some level of effort and commitment to go through a premarital education course or workshop. Researchers found these couples were also more willing to put more energy into their marriage later on. Another part is that completing premarital education has shown that couples have a deeper respect for their marriage. This can greatly impact how individuals interact with their spouse.
During the period of engagement, most couples are in a state of blissful happiness and aren’t worried they might be part of 40% of all first time marriages that end in divorce. Sadly that is the current statistic in America. Divorce rates only go higher if this is a second or third marriage. If you are interested in learning more about our premarital course and creating a happier, more successful marriage, check out the premarital website or call today and we will be happy to help you and your future spouse start your marriage off with your best foot forward.