Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pre-marital Counseling

We have all heard the statistics, nearly half of all new marriages end in divorce. According to, the actual numbers are 41 percent of all new marriages, 60 percent of second marriages and 73 percent of third marriages, end in divorce. In pre-marital counseling therapists can work with couples to address common areas of difficulty in relationships, strengthen the relationship and improve your chances of going the distance with your partner.

The reasons for divorce vary, from communication problems, to life situations, to financial reasons. Pre-marital counseling can assist couples with preparing for the obstacles that life throws at us.

One of the areas that pre-marital counseling can help with is communication skills and conflict resolution. Communication struggles are one of the most common problems within a relationship. In counseling, we can work with couples on improving their ability to listen, understand one another and empathize with each other. It is also important to know the ways in which each partner in the relationship expresses their communication, non-verbal, subtle, etc. I do not know of a relationship that has never had some form of conflict, and pre-marital counseling can help couples learn healthy conflict resolution skills to effectively deal with problems.

Another important area to explore within the relationship are the role expectations for each partner. Who will work? Who is responsible for the home? Who is responsible for the children? Cooking? Cleaning? These are just some of the various roles that are within a relationship, and sometimes, who will assume those roles can be the cause of conflict. Exploring each partners beliefs and expectations ahead of time, can prevent hurt feelings, resentment and conflict later in the relationship.

What are the goals each partner has in the relationship, both individually and as a family? What about career goals, and will those career goals possibly mean moving to another area or state? How does each partner feel about the possibility of moving? The exploration of these goals and the clear communication about the goals is another important aspect of pre-marital counseling. Along similar lines, the way in which the couple plans on attending to their finances can be explored and figured out.

In today's world, people have all sorts of levels of religious beliefs and spirituality (including none at all), and that can impact a relationship. Things such as where to get married, or who will marry the couple, will come up. If the couple has children what faith (if the couple so chooses to select a specific faith) with the children be raised in. These are issues that are important to identify ahead of time, because they can be very difficult to resolve after the fact, and pre-marital counseling can assist with that.

Another issue that can be addressed in pre-marital counseling, is that of family. Family issues that can be addressed are things such as whether or not each partner is interested in having children, blended family issues, and the roles that in-laws will play in the relationship as well as the family.

The top two reasons for entering into pre-marital counseling are that it will help bring you closer with your partner, and according to research, pre-marital counseling can reduce the risk of divorce by as much as 30 percent. If you are dating, preparing to take that next step, or if you are already married and would like to strengthen your relationship, Central Florida Mental Health Associates would like to help, give us a call.

1 comment:

  1. Communication breakdown is often cited as the most common complaint in struggling marriages. Healing the brokenness in the marriage and overcoming communication breakdowns in marriage requires perseverance and a shift in attitudes but it is possible even if only one person is trying.

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