Crackerjack Greenback Prudent Advice for a Prosperous Future

December 27, 2008

The Benefits of Premarital Counseling

Filed under: Marriage — Paul Williams @ Crackerjack Greenback @ 4:00 am

       My fiancée, Michelle, and I are going through premarital counseling sessions with the pastor who will conduct our wedding ceremony and his wife. We’ve got 5 sessions left (1 already completed) and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts about why premarital counseling is a good idea. There are many benefits, and I’m sure I won’t cover them all. But here are at least some of the benefits of premarital counseling.

Setting Expectations

Bride & Groom Donuts by Manassas Cakery on Flickr       Will you have children? If so, how many? Will both of you work or just one? Where will you live? Who will be in charge of which chores? How much personal time will you give each other? Some of these questions may seem like they can wait until later, and many couples don’t discuss these things until after the wedding. It’s good to thoroughly discuss your expectations as early as possible before you’re actually married so you can prepare for what lies ahead. By talking about these things early on, you avoid the problem of misunderstandings and misconceptions later on.

Compatibility

2 Peas in a Pod by Manassas Cakery on Flickr       Sure you’re in love, and you feel like you’re on top of the world after your engagement. But it’s highly unlikely that you and your future spouse are completely compatible in every aspect of your personalities, habits, viewpoints, and goals. Premarital counseling helps you identify the areas where you may be incompatible. Once you bring these issues to light, you can discuss them deeper and determine if there are any deal breakers. While it may not be fun, calling the wedding off now is much easier and better than a divorce in a few years.

Communication

Wisdom of Trees by lepiaf.geo on Flickr       Good communication is essential to a successful marriage. (I’d say it’s right up there with love. 😉 ) During premarital counseling, you’ll learn a little more about one another’s communication styles and discuss methods for effective communication. These techniques will greatly improve your chances of having good communication during marriage and your happiness as well.

Conflict Resolution

       Related to the communication issue is conflict resolution. When problems arise, and they will, how will you work together to solve them? How will you deal with each other when you have a heated argument? Premarital counseling will teach you ways to successfully resolve conflicts and help you set ground rules that you both agree to before any problems arise.

Intimacy

Bride & Groom Kiss by jonathanb1989 on Flickr       If you and your spouse have saved yourselves for marriage, you’ll want to understand each other’s intimacy expectations and comfort levels prior to your wedding night. It may be an awkward conversation to have with a premarital counselor, but again, setting expectations is key. Even if you have had sex before marriage, it’s important to discuss your expectations during marriage. Hopefully, you would have already discussed any past relationships, but if not this would be the time to bring them up. Skeletons in the closet can create disastrous problems in your marriage. Your pride is not worth the possibility of ruining an otherwise happy marriage.

Long-term Goals

       Another major area to discuss is your long-term goals. What are your career prospects and how will this affect your marriage? When do you want to retire? How do you envision your lifestyle together? What are your most important goals? By discussing these questions prior to marriage, you can avoid finding out that your goals are not aligned at all. Most couples will have discussed these things before setting a wedding date, but they’re still important enough to cover once more.

What Does Premarital Counseling Have to Do with Personal Finance?

       One major area of discussion is finances. You’ll talk about responsibilities and budgeting as well as any other financial issues that may be pertinent. Other topics may include your financial history, freedom to purchase items without your spouse’s approval, and your financial views. Preparing for your finances before marriage will help alleviate stress about money—one of the main causes of divorce. It will also help set you up for a successful financial future, since a budget and financial compatibility will form a strong foundation for finances in your marriage.

       Additionally, research has shown that premarital counseling reduces the chance of divorce by 30%. Divorce can wreak havoc on your emotions and your finances, so any steps you can take to avoid it are good financial moves indeed. While premarital counseling can’t guarantee you won’t end up getting a divorce, the training in communication and conflict resolution and the discussion of expectations, compatibility, intimacy, goals, and finances will definitely help you deal with some of the main causes of divorce.

The Bride and Groom by Clav on Flickr       I highly recommend all couples go through premarital counseling before the wedding. If you’re going to spend so much time planning for your wedding day, it makes sense to take a little time to plan for your marriage—hopefully the rest of your lives!

10 Comments »

  1. The pictures you found, especially the first two, are hilarious.

    Comment by jim — December 27, 2008 @ 11:04 am

  2. Glad you liked them, Jim! 🙂 I thought they were great.

    Comment by Paul Williams @ Crackerjack Greenback — December 27, 2008 @ 2:08 pm

  3. This is the first time I have read that premarital counselling is held in other countries. I always thought that it was only done in Malaysia and then only for Muslims.

    You have listed clearly the reasons why this is good as too many things of great importance are not looked at by the couple. My elder two children should be getting married in the next couple of years or so, and my wife and I will do our best to ensure that they go for this.

    Regards

    Comment by fathersez — January 4, 2009 @ 10:39 pm

  4. I hope your children take your advice, fathersez. I can’t vouch for all marriage counseling, but I know that what we’re doing is pretty intensive. We have six sessions overall, and each of them last at least 2-3 hours. I think it’s really important to discuss these major issues before marriage, and it really helps to have an outside mediator to lead the discussions and look at it from another viewpoint.

    Comment by Paul Williams @ Crackerjack Greenback — January 5, 2009 @ 12:18 am

  5. Something else I wish I’d done… This is great advice, everyone considering marriage should follow it. It’s amazing what people don’t say to each other. What you don’t think is important now, will be huge later.

    Comment by Valerie — January 5, 2009 @ 4:34 am

  6. Thanks for the comment, Valerie. It’s true that it is very easy to go through a relationship without discussing some major things before marriage. Premarital counseling forces you to think about and discuss those issues and prepare you for the commitment you’re about to make.

    Comment by Paul Williams @ Crackerjack Greenback — January 5, 2009 @ 10:06 am

  7. My wife and I had premarital counseling through an elder couple at our church. It was really enjoyable hearing their stories and how we could learn from them. I definitely would recommend it. And in some states it will even save you money on your marriage license.

    Comment by Travis — January 5, 2009 @ 11:44 am

  8. I agree it’s been interesting hearing stories from the minister and his wife. I think it’s a good idea to have your premarital counseling sessions with a couple if it’s possible. It helps provide a balanced perspective and you get to see how they interact as a couple.

    I didn’t know about premarital counseling saving money on the marriage license. I’ll have to look into that. Thanks for the tip, Travis!

    Comment by Paul Williams @ Crackerjack Greenback — January 5, 2009 @ 12:54 pm

  9. […] CrackerJack Greenback writes about the benefits of premarital counselling. Couples in love often forget to discuss many important things in life. Having a structured […]

    Pingback by Father Sez » Archive » Links - the S. Jayasankaran Edition — January 16, 2009 @ 7:32 pm

  10. Very good thoughts on premarital counseling. As a premarital counselor I am happy that you have found the process enriching. Be assured that this will greatly enrich your marriage experience. This is a very critical process for the most important institution in life.

    Comment by Steve — December 18, 2012 @ 9:49 am

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