The average age of marriage is rising in the U.S., and more and more couples are tying the knot when they have already established their careers, their lifestyles, and their general expectations. As they think make the decision to say, “I do,” couples should also make the decision to seek premarital counseling.
According to the health research fund, couples who went to premarital counseling were 30% more likely to have successful marriages. Why? The answer lies in the couples’ interest in addressing significant topics, like religion, finances, family dynamic issues, and children. The more that is addressed before saying, “I do,” the more aware individuals are of one another’s beliefs, values, and general lifestyle expectations. Premarital counseling can offer a wealth of information for couples planning a wedding, and can help them clarify expectations, learn how to effectively communicate about differences, and increase the likelihood that each person is prepared for the commitment that is marriage.
What Should We Talk About Before We Walk Down the Aisle?
There are a number of topics that should be addressed before getting married, but I always urge couples I am working with to select the topics that seem most relevant to their relationship and most important to them. Below is a list of some of the most important and controversial topics that I have addressed with couples in my practice.
- Finances: Money is deeply personal, and impacts many of our daily decisions. Money is one of the top three most common issues in relationships, and can be a significant stressor. How will you divide your finances? Will you share a bank account or have separate accounts? Will you divide the bills or work together to pay them? Will both individuals work if there are children to care for? Will you discuss major purchases in advance, or will there be a detailed budget?
- Goals: Couples should talk about their lifelong goals, and where they see themselves in the future. What does each person want to accomplish both personally and professionally? What does the future entail? What type of lifestyle does each person expect to have?
- Children: Do you want children? How many? Would you adopt children? When do you want to begin to have children? Who will take on the role of primary caregiver?
- General Expectation: Many couples do not think about what they expect from one another on a daily basis, and this can cause communication issues that surface and resurface regularly. Do you need to communicate regularly about your daily schedule? Do you need to check in with one another before making social commitments? Do you need to check in before inviting someone into your home?
- Family: Family of origin issues are brought up very often in my sessions with couples. It is very important to talk about expectations for how relationships with siblings/parents will be maintained. Do you expect to visit your family regularly? Do all family obligations need to be attended? How will you maintain communication with family members?
Where Do We Begin?
Many couples are hesitant to begin premarital counseling amidst all of the excitement surrounding the engagement and wedding planning, but it can be extremely beneficial and help minimize the stress that so often encompasses this period of time. I welcome you to contact me for a free 15-minute consultation at 312-729-5089 to discuss how I can help you begin premarital counseling and set you up for a successful marriage.