The average length of a marriage in the United States is 8.2 years according to the US Census Bureau. Many couples who enter marriage counseling, if asked, will admit that they either never did marriage counseling at all or had one session with their officiant prior to getting married, and often state they felt unprepared for what marriage would bring. According to Gary Chapman, founder of the 5 Love Languages, most of us “enter marriage by the way of the ‘in love’ experience” (p. 28). When we experience “falling in love” it feels as if we are on cloud nine, maybe we think about the other person all day, we desire to spend time with them frequently, we might feel that our partner could do no wrong and that we will be happy forever. So then what happens? Reality sets in, feelings are fleeting, and love becomes a choice.
Why is premarital counseling so important?
We as Christians are not guaranteed an easy life, in fact the Bible prepares us for a life of trials. The Bible says several times “when trials come” not “if” they will come. Premarital counseling sets couples up for success and gives couples the tools to proactively deal with trials as they come.
Here are 5 things we discuss in Premarital Counseling & Why they matter:
- God’s Design for Marriage & Spiritual Beliefs—Spiritual intimacy is a good predictor of marital intimacy. Studies indicate that approximately half of married adults surveyed say that sharing religious beliefs is extremely important to marital success. God created each of us in his image, for his glory and with great purpose. He created us to be in relationship, specifically to become one and function as a team. Marriage reflects our relationship with God and is rooted in sacrificial love.
- Expectations, Roles, Perceptions—Differences are a reality of marriage, and often frustration arises out of those differences in unmet expectations and differences in perceptions. Differences are not right or wrong, they are just different. If we learn to better understand our partner we can learn how to love, give, and forgive.
- Finances—Financial honesty is extremely important in the health of a marriage. One of the leading causes of divorce is financial conflict. Premarital counseling helps couples identify the meaning of money, as well as the challenges of money. It encourages open, honest communication and helps couples work together towards setting financial goals, creating a budget, and working through adjustments.
- Communication & Conflict Resolution Skills—Communication is crucial in a marriage, and it can deepen the level of intimacy that two people share. Knowing how to resolve conflict is part of healthy communication.
- The expression of intimacy—Men and women are wired differently and there will be differences in the expression of physical, spiritual, and emotional intimacy within a marriage. Premarital counseling helps explore expectations that you might not even know you have and helps establish healthy boundaries for your marriage.
Premarital counseling is an investment in the future and a great way to learn more about your life partner. It helps couples identify their strengths and learn how to work through their growth areas while creating a safe environment to practice skills learned.
If you and your fiancé have decided to engage in premarital counseling, Brittany would be happy to connect with you to discuss your counseling needs.