As newly-engaged couples begin to plan their weddings, more are realizing they also need to be planning their marriages. These are not the same thing, nor are they mutually exclusive.
In all the hoopla and pageantry of a wedding, the idea that you really will be in a life-long commitment when you're done can get lost in the shuffle. Increasingly, couples are enlisting the aid of professional counselors to talk about their problems and concerns before they walk down the aisle.
Myth 1: People who need counseling before they even get married shouldn't be getting married.
Fact: Otherwise, happy couples who seek ways to better communicate and understand one another will have a far greater chance at long-term happiness, with far more coping strategies to deal with crises than those who assume there isn't value to premarital counseling.
Myth 2: I already know everything about my fiancée. We know how we fight, what makes us happy and what makes us angry. We don't need a therapist telling us how to live.
Fact: Few of us know our betrothed well enough to say we really and truly know everything about them, but if that's the situation you're in, that's great. Most of us keep some things bottled up to avoid hurting our loved ones.
In therapy the "gloves come off" and we're more likely to be honest and achieve real communication and bring about change in how we talk to one another.
Myth 3: We should solve our own problems without bringing in an outsider.
Fact: This dated view of counseling keeps many people from looking for answers. Therapists aren't outsiders and can be trusted to remain objective and keep confidences.
This is not always the case if you choose to talk to a family member or close friend about what's bothering you. And, you may not be fighting fair or really listening to what the other person has to say. If you don't change that behavior, it'll be destructive. Without the aid of an "outsider," you'll never know.
There are no hard and fast rules to follow that will guarantee a marriage is going to work. But, with a divorce rate that continues to hover around 50%, there's no reason premarital counseling shouldn't at least be considered for most couples—even (perhaps especially) the happy ones.
This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of distance learning degrees. She invites your feedback at kellykilpatrick24 at gmail dot com