Pre-marriage counseling is an emotional, social, and psychological preparation that a couple, ready to settle down in marriage, undergoes to form a stable union.
Statistics show that, marriages that undergo through premarital counseling are bound to last longer than those that do not. Therefore, what are the advantages and disadvantages of a couple seeking pre-marriage counseling before settling down together? Marriage has many challenges among them finance management, children, career, and understanding of the partners.
Evidently, the many challenges that surround marriage explain the ever-rising divorce cases in the contemporary world. Pre-marriage counseling prepares the couples to form a strong relationship in their married life hinged on informed decision-making and consultations.
Advantages of pre-marriage counseling
Pre-marriage counseling imparts communication and conflict resolution. Most couples build their relationship on love; regrettably, others enter into a relationship for financial or social benefits. Marriage counselors give different methods of communication like the use of notes, mobile phone messaging, e-mails as means of handling issues at hand.
Constant communication and assurance builds personal confidence. According to most marriage counselors, most marriages break down due to poor communication skills. In the face of poor or lack of communication, conflicts end up unresolved which later degenerates into a break up. With good listening skills, conflict resolution will not be a problem at all.
Every relationship undergoes misunderstandings; however, the way the participants decide to solve their issues may either build or destroy the relationship. Therefore, all couples entering the institution of marriage should seek counseling from the experts in order to form a lasting relationship.
Counseling before marriage also enables couples to discuss their finances and love/intimacy issues. If couples outline the ways of handling finances, there will be no arguments in the future. Money can either build or destroy trust in a relationship. Therefore, budgeting and decision making in the house are some of the skills marriage counselors impart during the counseling sessions.
Religious and cultural differences may break or bond a relationship. In most cases, partners planning to marry become blind in the face of love and they end up making haste decisions like cohabiting in the name of love. Eventually, the different cultural, habits or religious practices come into play, and if not carefully handled, conflicts become inevitable.
However, pre-marriage counseling tackles the issues of religion, culture, and parentage. In addition, each partner has the chance to learn about the family history and other pertinent issues surrounding the other’s family and origin. Therefore, pre-marriage counseling prepares, moulds, and builds a stronger foundation for marriage leading to a happy life.
Disadvantages of pre-marriage counseling
On the other hand, pre-marriage counseling may lead to the end of a relationship. Due to religious and cultural differences, an individual may decide to pull out of the relationship because of fear or dislike of a certain practices upheld by his or her partner. Additionally, some religions encourage their worshippers to marry only individuals from the same religion, which may scare a partner from committing his/her life in marriage.
The counselors rely on honesty, and they may unravel a sensitive cultural practice that might not augur well with one of the partners. Moreover, some people keep their life experiences of sexual abuse to themselves; however, during counseling, they may confide in the counselor who will definitely tell the other partner leading to stigmatization if not handled carefully.
Secondly, during pre-marriage counseling, the partners confide in a stranger about their personal or private issues. Therefore, some partners decide not to go for the counseling as a way of keeping their life secrets to themselves. Thirdly, some of the counselors may come from a broken relationship or homes, which may discourage young stars from seeking their advice.
Moreover, pre-marriage counseling may be time consuming especially if the counselor has many people to attend to, and such discourages the partners seeking the services. Finally, most individuals seek marriage counseling when the relationship is on rocks and because of this trend, pre-marriage counseling remains dormant.
Statistical analysis of the marriage/divorce rates in relation to pre-marriage counseling
Statistically, divorce rates in the US are at 50% and couples below thirty years are the mostly affected (Luscombe, 2010, p.47). Most marriages of couples between twenty and twenty-five years end up in divorce and the rate is at 37%; however, statistics indicate that pre-marriage counseling will avert the issue (Roderick, 1991, p.34).
Therefore, although the rate of marriage in young people is high, rate of marriage instability is also high due to lack of education in the aforementioned issues (pre-counseling).
Pre-marriage counseling is an essential practice that instills good management and conflict resolution mechanisms in potential couples. Besides leading to the development of a lasting relationship, it encourages peaceful ties. The counselors tackle sensitive issues like communication, honesty, finances, religion, and culture among others.
Unfortunately, some people refrain from consulting pre-marriage counselors due to breach of privacy or if the counselor is not in a stable marriage. Finally, pre-marriage counseling has its pros and cons; nevertheless, people should focus on the pros to build permanent relationships.
Luscombe, B. (2010, May 24). Divorcing the numbers. New York Times. Print
Roderick, P. (1991). Untying the knot: a short history of divorce. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge press.