There are more than 2 million marriages in the United States every year, though the rate of marriage per 1,000 population is steadily decreasing. There were 6.1 marriages per 1,000 population in the US in 2019, compared to 8.2 marriages at the turn of the century.
Likewise, the US’s divorce rate has been steadily falling. In 2019, there were almost 750,000 divorces and annulments, equating to a rate of 2.7 per 1,000 population. This figure is down from 4.0 in 2000.
If you are planning to tie the knot with your partner, premarital counseling is recommended. It can help to reduce the likelihood of divorce in the future and make for a more fulfilling and understanding marriage. Premarital counseling can help to ensure a happily-ever-after marriage where challenges are easily faced and potential future conflicts are discussed.
In this blog post, we will ask the question “Does premarital counseling help to avoid divorce in a marriage?” We will also highlight some of the key benefits of undergoing couples counseling with your partner even before you tie the knot.
Does Premarital Counseling Help To Avoid Divorce?
The short answer here is a resounding yes. Premarital counseling studies have shown that it can reduce the likelihood of a future divorce by around 50%. It is more effective to do quality pre-marital counseling for about six to nine months than living together as a couple before marriage.
Many people who marry do so without fully preparing for a lifetime with another individual. Premarital counseling is a form of education in ways that could save your future marriage where it helps you to discuss issues and ask difficult questions that a couple is unable to do most of the time. It can help individuals to learn and appreciate the skills that are essential to a long, happy, and fulfilling marriage.
It is also a time when individuals can communicate their feelings on particular subjects, such as family planning, in-laws, friends, money, and sex. When issues such as these arise in a marriage, miscommunication can result in them growing into larger problems that threaten the foundations of the marriage.
It is important to go into premarital counseling with an open mind and be willing to listen to the issues raised by your partner. You should also accept that it may be challenging.
Benefits of Couples Therapy Before Marriage
Here we are going to learn about some of the benefits of premarital counseling for couples that are actively planning or considering marriage.
Learn How to Communicate Effectively
Communication is the bedrock of a successful marriage. In fact, poor communication in a relationship is the number 1 reason why couples split up. A survey of mental health professionals found that problems around communication were cited by 65% of respondents as the leading cause of divorce.
As children, we are taught in school that arguments with fellow students are best resolved with words. The same lesson can be applied to couples. Many arguments in a marriage start or are worsened by poor communication and this can lead to greater resentment.
At premarital counseling, couples will learn the value of open communication and how to express their thoughts and feelings to the other person. Going into a marriage with a strong line of communication with your partner is key, especially when your marriage goes through rocky moments.
Learn Conflict-Resolution Skills
The second leading cause of divorce from the above-mentioned study is couples’ inability to resolve conflict (mentioned by 43% of respondents). Conflict resolution can be defined as different methods and processes for facilitating a peaceful ending to a conflict.
It is about working together as a team to find a solution in a productive way. It is important to remember that you and your partner are on the same team rather than casting the other person as an opponent. This idea is central in premarital counseling.
By improving your conflict resolution skills before marriage, you will be better able to react to future disagreements. There may be issues that one or both sides of the couple have at this stage of the relationship and it is best to raise them now. These can include questions around:
- Family planning
- Sex and intimacy
By addressing these issues in an open and honest way, you can ward off future arguments that may arise due to miscommunication.
Discuss Plans and Hopes for the Future
Another major source of strife in marriage results from unfulfilled expectations. It helps, therefore, to talk openly about your personal and marriage goals and expectations. You may have certain career goals or have the expectation of living in a particular place, for example; these are important to communicate to your partner.
In some scenarios, you may find that your expectations and those of your partner are polar opposites. Premarital counseling offers a safe space to discuss this and work to find a middle ground. Marriage is about giving and taking, and compromise is important.
Of course, there may be times when neither side feels that it is possible to bridge the differences in expectations for marriage. Being able to come up with a resolution to this before fully deciding to marry is better than ignoring it.
Start Off On the Right Foot With Premarital Counseling
The above information highlights the importance of premarital counseling and its benefits for couples. Even the best marriages are not without their rocky patches. Counseling for couples can give you the right tools and skills to navigate issues in a marriage and set you up for a lifetime of bliss.
Jousline Savra is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has more than two decades of counseling experience, helping couples to prepare for marriage as well as being an expert in marriage counseling, relationships, and family therapy with adult children.
Contact Jousline Savra today to schedule premarital counseling for you and your partner.