"Engage" in Pre-Marital Therapy

Kathi Reaszer, M.S.

Every year more than 50% of first time marriages in the US fail; second and third marriages fail at an even higher rate.  The average duration of broken marriages is only 7 years, with half of these ruined marriages disintegrating after only 3 years.  As Dr. James Dobson states in "Love for a Lifetime", no one anticipates the coming conflicts and pain that can quickly come after marriage.  Couples may feel shocked and shamed, never imagining that on their wedding day they were making the biggest mistake of their lives.
One of the most important resources for newly engaged couples, or for couples considering the possibility of marriage, is pre-marital counseling.  This type of therapy can help couples anticipate and prepare for the conflicts ahead.  Marriage is comparable to a journey and preparedness is a necessity of any successful journey.  Be prepared BEFORE you marry.  The therapists at Families Counseling are trained and experienced in helping couples prepare for one of the most important stages of their lives.
Our pre-marital counseling program offers a preparatory inventory instrument or questionnaire to help each individual explore their own core beliefs, values and assumptions about relationships and families.  The information gathered from each individual is analyzed with and compared to the other partner's answers.  The results are used in the therapy session to help the couple identify and work through potential areas of conflict.  Many important topics are explored in depth: work and careers, child rearing and parenting styles, family of origin and extended family relations, finances, sexuality, holiday traditions, marital roles and responsibilities, and decision making.
Besides exploring potential areas of conflicts, pre-marital counseling also helps build the skills necessary to resolve conflicts.  Couples learn to communicate more clearly, "fight fair", and resolve the differences that are inevitable in any relationship.
Each engaged couple, even if they feel they are perfect for one another, should participate in at least six to eight sessions of pre-marital therapy with a trained and experienced marital therapist.  Pre-marital therapy will help the individual be prepared.  The individual will learn about relationships, about themselves, and will be trained in the skills of relationship building.  Together with their potential life mate, each partner can learn to change behaviors and defenses that WILL cause the couple to become lost on their journey.  For more information on our pre-marital counseling program, please call Families Counseling at (805) 583-3976.

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