It's commonly believed that around half of all marriages will end in divorce. While this number isn't accurate, statistics in Australia do show that one in three marriages don't succeed. If you're about to get married, you are probably more concerned about your upcoming wedding than worrying about the whether your marriage will end up in the divorce courts.
However, marriage is about more than a beautiful dress and an exotic honeymoon. It involves commitment, compromise and dedication to ensuring your relationship stays healthy and mutually happy. For this reason, many soon-to-be-wed couples are using the services of relationship counsellors in the lead up to their impending marriage.
You may think that counselling is only for couples who are having marital problems. However, there are several excellent reasons why pre-marriage counselling can be beneficial and help to divorce-proof your marriage.
You'll learn about effective communication
Many divorces cite communication breakdown as one of the catalysts for the marriage ending. Learning how to effectively and constructively communicate with your spouse can help to avoid this situation. Counsellors can help you to identify which style of communication you both work best with and how to accommodate your partner if your styles aren't the same.
Communication should be seen as the keystone for a successful marriage. A couple who can openly, respectfully and confidently express their needs, frustrations, and feelings to each other can avoid many of the pitfalls or relationships which lead to divorce.
You'll learn about conflict resolution
While it may seem like a crazy notion when you're head-over-heels with your spouse-to-be, there will inevitably come a time when you experience conflict in your marriage. When the honeymoon period is over and life throws obstacles at you in the form of financial issues, personal and emotional issues and general stress, you may find that arguments start to occur.
Conflict within a marriage is normal, and it can even be beneficial to effective communication. However, it's vital to understand how to have a constructive argument which allows both partners to feel heard and respected. A counsellor will help you to understand how to 'fight fair', avoid nastiness and verbal abuse and resolve the conflict and move forward in your relationship.
You'll learn how to create realistic expectations for the future
Many marriages become strained or are ended because of conflicting expectations, goals and roles within the marriage. To avoid this conflict, it's important to create a shared vision of the future you'd like your marriage to take. Many couples don't have this important conversation before they are married and simply assume that their partner feels the same way that they do on important issues.
A counsellor can help you to identify the main areas of a life-long relationship, such as finances, career choices, child-rearing, the division of labour and leisure time, which can lead to conflict and divorce. They can also help to create equitable compromises when your ideas clash, as well as iron out non-negotiable areas, such as infidelity, drug use or abuse.
Pre-marriage counselling may not seem very romantic when you're in the heady throes of passion and new romance. However, it's an important step in ensuring that your marriage is long, lasting and healthy.