All married couples would wish the old adage, ‘and they lived happily ever after’ to come true; unfortunately, to over 50% of married couples, this remains that; a wish.
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Behavioral researches confirm that, 50% of all marriages end up in divorce, an unfeigned but a deplorable fact. During the first days of marriage, everything might seem blissful until the reality sets in and the couples realize they have different likes and dislikes.
Even if a couple appears to be a perfect pair, differences soon emerge and this worrying trend calls for resolute ‘treatment’. Just as an infectious disease will keep on recurring unless the proper immune system is developed, divorce will keep on occurring unless proper steps are taken to counter this unrelenting social thorn. Fortunately, research assures that, premarital counseling can cut down divorce rates by up to 30%, a significant percentage.
Premarital counseling equips couples with invaluable information about what to expect in the uncertain world of marriage. Murray and Murray (2004) posit that, “Pre-marital counseling is a wonderful way to prepare…for your life together…a few sessions of counseling gives you a chance to look at what you want as a couple” (p. 14).
Premarital counseling develops skills required for couples to stay together. Like a business, which requires a concrete plan and implementation strategy, marriage requires unhesitating plan and execution strategy to improve its chances of survival. Fortunately, premarital counseling offers the strategy together with its implementation criteria required for marriage prosperity.
Six factors define premarital counseling as a valid tool of cutting down divorces. Setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound goals underlines the withstanding significance of premarital counseling in reducing divorce rates. Sharing common goals aligns couples in the same direction and the resultant unity reduces the frequency of conflicts that predate divorce. The other factors draw from the goal setting aspect, working in concert to ensure any feasible survival of marriage.
Schumm and Denton (1979) warn that, “money is the biggest sole factor that causes couples to argue and fight” (p. 30). Fortunately, premarital counseling takes couples through a financial journey exploring pertinent issues like expenditure, savings, use of credits and so forth. With sufficient understanding on how to handle finances, couples can enjoy their marriage regardless of whether they have lots of money or peanuts.
Communication and conflict resolution is another critical yet neglected area in marriage. Premarital counseling explores and emphasizes on the importance of communication and conflict resolution in marriage. Some couples assume the only way out of a conflict is to keep silent while others hold that, they have to win every argument to win a conflict.
Nevertheless, premarital counseling rebuts all the misconceptions surrounding communication and conflict resolution in marriage and outlines amicable ways of handling the same. As aforementioned, first days in marriage may seem blissful; hoverer, the arrival of the first child might herald conflicts. To avoid this scenario, premarital counseling devotes enough time to explore the issue of children and parenting to save couples the pain of groping with marriage realities.
Even though many couples often overlook the issue of spirituality, premarital counseling understands clearly how differing spiritual perception can tear apart a seemingly good marriage. Therefore, the counselors give insights concerning the same. Finally, premarital counselors help couples to outline roles and expectations in marriage to avoid conflict of interest later in marriage.
In the light of all these compelling premarital counseling elements, I personally concur premarital counseling can prevent divorce. Moreover, numbers do not lie, and research has confirmed that premarital counseling cuts down divorce rate by a whopping 30%; whopping because, if 50% of all marriages end up in divorce, then it means that 30% of the remaining 50% remain in marriage due to premarital counseling.
Murray, E., & Murray, T. (2004). Solution-Focused Premarital Counseling: Helping Couples Build A Vision for their Marriage. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 2(6), 10-17.
Schumm, W., & Denton, W. (1979). Trends in Premarital Counseling. The Journal of Marriage and Family Therapy, 5(4), 23-32.