Divorce statistics are at an all time high with researchers suggesting that half of all marriages end up in divorce and even half of the 50% that remains married are unhappy. This saddening trend has led to renewed efforts to ensure that every couple goes through premarital counselling before saying their vows.
Premarital counselling has been shown to greatly reduce the chances of divorce in a marriage. This is because crucial and touchy issues are laid bare and discussed beforehand during counselling. Counselling helps to determine each other’s values, goals and beliefs and helps you to harmonize and where necessary compromise so as to create a lasting marriage. Below are some of the topics covered in a premarital counselling.
1) Religious beliefs
This is one of the most controversial issues in a marriage. Do both of you have similar religious beliefs and values and if not are you comfortable in each other’s faith differences? You also have to determine the faith that you will impact on your children.
2) Children and Parenting
Different individuals have different backgrounds. Our childhoods will usually determine our views and opinions in regard to children and parenting technique. Discussing each other’s childhood and its impact on them will help chart a way forward. Some issues that concern this include; number of children to have and when to have them, preferred gender of children, child discipline techniques and parenting styles.
Money is a common cause of fights and arguments between married couples. Addressing the issue before marriage can go a great way in preventing unforeseen difficulties. Each partner has their own way of managing finances. Agree on how to manage future finances in regards to savings, investments and insurance.
4) Life goals and priorities
Someone described love as not gazing at each other but looking outwards in the same direction. This means having similar goals and priorities in life. When one gets married they have to change or modify their goals to suit the relationship. For example a man’s priority shifts from work to his wife and family after he is married.
5) Conflict resolution
Unresolved or wrongly solved conflicts are one of the quickest ways of killing a marriage. Agree on conflict resolution methods and who to involve in case the conflict gets out of hand.
6) Sex and family planning
This is a must discuss for every couple planning to get married. Discuss each other’s sexual preferences and opinions on family planning methods.
Most people ignore the effect in-laws could have on a relationship whereas it could potentially lead to a divorce. How the in-laws will be handled should be discussed upfront. Couples should agree on financial help to them, frequency of visits and their involvement in marriage matters.
8) Roles and responsibilities
Modern life consists of two day jobs, a night job, a girls’ night out and a myriad of other activities. Before you get married you must agree how you will juggle all this to create room for other responsibilities at home. Agree on what you expect from each other in terms of house chores, looking after the kids and providing for the family.
Premarital counselling lays the foundation of a happy, fulfilling and long lasting marriage and should therefore not be taken lightly.