Many people have a romantic notion of marriage fostered by the many novels, movies, and television programs that show only an idealized version of marital relations. As a result, people often aren't fully prepared for the reality of being in long-term relationships, and divorce is often the unfortunate outcome. If you are planning to get wed, here are two reasons why you should participate in pre-marriage counseling.
Uncover Areas of Incompatibility
When people are in the dating phase, they're usually on their best behavior because they want to make a good impression on the person they hope to spend the rest of their lives with. This can lead to people hiding parts of their personalities they may deem unseemly or working hard to prevent their loved ones from learning about their bad habits. Even if they move in together, sometimes a person will overlook traits in their partner that may irritate them in the name of getting along or with the hope the partner will change over time.
The trouble with this kind of thinking is you may inadvertently cover up or overlook areas of incompatibility that may lead to a disastrous marriage. For example, finances are the leading cause of relationship stress and a common reason people get divorced. Differing philosophies on how to handle money can lead to arguments and other problems that may doom your marriage or at least make it harder than it needs to be.
Sitting down with a marriage counselor and talking frankly about your needs, preferences, and goals can help you uncover areas of incompatibility that you can work together to resolve.
Learn Healthy Problem-Solving Skills
Another reason why pre-marriage counseling is critical is that the professional can teach you a variety of healthy problem-solving skills that may make it easier to get through the troublesome times that will eventually occur. For instance, the counselor can teach you how best to communicate with each other during arguments to avoid causing hurt feelings unnecessarily.
The professional can also teach the two of you coping skills that may help you get through setbacks and tragedies. For instance, sometimes people turn to bad habits like drinking or shopping excessively after losing a child. The counselor can teach you healthier coping skills that won't have such a negative impact on your marriage and may even strengthen it.
There are many other ways pre-marriage counseling can help you prepare for marriage. Contact a professional in your area for more information about this service.