How Valuable is Premarital Counseling Really?

How Valuable is Premarital Counseling Really?

By Misty DeMann, LAMFT

Marriage is one of the biggest life cycle changes that will occur. When a couple decides to start their life together, there are many developmental aspects involved. “Marriage requires that two people renegotiate a great many issues they have previously defined individually or through their culture and family of origin, such as money, space, time, and when and how to sleep, talk, have sex, fight, work, and relax” (McGoldrick, Preto, & Carter, 2016, p. 216). There are adjustments and things that have to be discussed that most couples don’t usually realize until they are well into their marriage. Premarital counseling and workshops provide couples an opportunity to work through some of these adjustments and to join together. It also provides them an opportunity to start their marriage on a solid foundation because they have learned how to communicate with each other. 

Couples would not participate in premarital counseling if they did not believe it was helpful. But what exactly does the research say about premarital counseling? A study conducted by Carlson et al., (2012) found that couples who participated in premarital counseling had lower levels of stress and higher relationship satisfaction. This shows that not only does premarital counseling improve the health of the relationship, but also the health of the individual. Borowski and Tambling (2015) found that this increase in health also builds commitment in the relationship. “Research suggests that premarital counseling is not only associated with higher levels of marital satisfaction and lower levels of destructive conflicts but is also associated with higher levels of interpersonal commitment to one’s spouse” (Borowski & Tambling, 2015, p. 2). This commitment to the relationship fosters a marriage where the couple is more willing to work through issues and go to counseling in the future. When a couple is willing to get help through counseling and do it before the relationship is too far broken, the couple is more likely to reestablish high relationship satisfaction and stay together. (Borowski & Tambling, 2015).

 The next time you are thinking about what to give a new couple as a shower or wedding gift, consider giving them the gift of premarital counseling, helping them solidify and protect their most important relationship. Misty is one of the therapists at Amber Creek that is trained specifically in premarital counseling. She is passionate about helping new couples, and is experienced in helping them build and strengthen their relationship from the beginning. 

References

Borowski, S. C., & Tambling, R. B. (2015). Applying the Health Belief                    Model to young individuals’ beliefs and preferences about                          premarital counseling. The Family Journal23(4), 417–426.                          https://doi-org.proxy1.ncu.edu/10.1177/1066480715602221

Carlson, R. G., Daire, A. P., Munyon, M. D., & Young, M. E. (2012). A                      comparison of cohabiting and noncohabiting couples who                        participated in premarital counseling using the PREPARE model.             The Family Journal20(2), 123–130.                                                                    https://doi-org.proxy1.ncu.edu/10.1177/1066480712441588

McGoldrick, M., Preto, N., and Carter, B. (2016). The expanding family                life cycle: Individual, family, and social perspectives. The United                States of America: Pearson Education Inc.

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