Congratulations! You and your honey have decided to tie the knot! You're probably already making a list of all you need to do to prepare for the big day: find the perfect dress, choose your bridesmaids, choose a venue, book a caterer, look for a photographer, schedule cake tastings, get a DJ...the list goes on and on. One important pre-wedding arrangement that engaged couples often overlook or quickly dismiss is scheduling premarital counseling.
A lot of couples can be reluctant or even afraid to suggest going to premarital counseling. It seems to signal that at least one half of the couple thinks there are problems. Couples may also consider it a waste of time. After all, they just got engaged and are planning to spend the rest of their lives together! Why should they pursue counseling when everything is absolutely perfect? Don't close the door on the idea of premarital counseling just yet! Read on for these reasons why every couple should take advantage of counseling before tying the knot.
You'll improve your communication and conflict resolution skills.
Marriage takes real work, and conflicts are bound to arise over the years. Premarital counseling can teach you not just how to express your needs effectively but also how to listen to your partner. You'll discuss each other's needs during periods of stress, such as if he prefers space or she needs to talk things out and be comforted. You'll learn how to solve problems before they escalate.
Get realistic expectations about your values and the future.
Talk about your values regarding money, religion, child-raising, and more, and discuss how you expect it to affect the future. Make sure that you are on the same page regarding having kids and discuss how soon you want to have them after the wedding. If you're in an interfaith relationship, how will that realistically play out in terms of raising kids? Do you plan for them to attend both church and a mosque? Will they be raised in just one faith? How do you want to manage your finances? What are your plans for purchasing a home in terms of timeline, location, and savings goals? It's better to figure out the answers to these big questions before the wedding day.
You'll get a professional outside opinion.
A licensed marriage and family therapist can give you a professional, outside opinion of how they see your relationship. They may notice things that you don't, and point out areas that the two of you can work on to ensure that your marriage lasts. While there may be little things that you don't think are a big deal right now, a professional could see them as seeds for bigger marital problems in the future and tell you what you should do to prevent them from coming to fruition. A 2006 study by Markman, Stanley, and Amato found that couples who took part in premarital counseling were 31 percent less likely to get divorced than couples who didn't.
You'll feel a stronger bond.
As a team about to undertake creating a brand-new family, premarital counseling can help your bond feel even stronger. You'll talk about your hopes, dreams, and fears. With professional guidance, you may find yourself and your partner opening up about things that you've hidden from your partner or even from yourself. You'll also be able to determine together the purpose of your marriage on a deeper level, and you'll feel confident in being able to listen and be there for each other, cooperating as a team to problem-solve in the future.
You may be able to get a discount on your marriage license.
Certain states offer couples who undergo premarital counseling a discount on their marriage licenses. In fact, Texas waives the marriage license fee completely if you complete a premarital counseling course. With weddings costing an average of $35,329 in 2016, every little bit of savings counts!
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