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The divorce rate in the United States is around 50 percent. And it’s not uncommon for couples to divorce and remarry more than once. Because the divorce rate is so high, it is helpful for engaged couples to attend premarital counseling before tying the knot. Couples who focus on building solid, strong relationships before they marry can experience greater marital satisfaction, and possibly lower their chances of divorce. Here are 5 reasons why you should attend some form of counseling prior to marriage.

Talk About Serious Issues

When you are engaged to get married, you know that you love the other person and that you are planning on spending the rest of your life with them. But, what about your hopes and dreams for the future? Your home? Future family? The life that you want to live?

Other issues that premarital counseling can help you to address prior to your wedding include the number of children you want to have. When do you want to start your family? How will you parent your children? Will they attend public or private schools?

Do you know your partner’s spending habits? How do you plan to manage your finances once you are married? Are you going to combine accounts or keep them separate? Who will be responsible for paying what bills?

Are there family issues that need to be addressed? How are you going to handle extended family once you are married? How are you going to spend your holidays?

What does commitment mean to you? What are your expectations for marriage?

Premarital counseling can help you to focus on the bigger picture and discuss what both of you envision for the future, your family, and your marriage.

Improve Your Communication Skills

Communication is crucial to having a successful and healthy relationship. When couples are unable to communicate, other problems arise. When there is a lack of communication, couples may then begin to argue or cease trying to communicate all together. It is important to know and understand how both you and your partner communicate.

Being able to effectively communicate can help you safely navigate the changes that will come throughout your marriage. This can include anything from new jobs, new homes, moves, children, etc. When you have learned how to effectively communicate with your partner, you will be able to navigate these stressful situations as they arise.

Determine Relationship Goals

What are your relationship goals? Do you and your partner share these goals? Determining your relationship goals means being really honest with yourself and your partner, and not changing your goals to mesh with theirs.

Having goals set for your marriage and yourself will help you to know that your marriage is on track and that your relationship is successful. Meeting with a counselor who has experience counseling couples prior to marriage can help you and your partner navigate your goals for your upcoming marriage. Premarital counseling can help you work through disagreements and issues that you didn’t know you had.

Unbiased Third Party

Whether you seek out premarital counseling from your religious group or from a licensed counselor, you will benefit from their knowledge and foresight. You’ll want to find someone who will offer unbiased advice and guidance that can help you navigate through the issues that most couples will face throughout their relationship. The benefit of going to a counselor is that they don’t know anything about you, your partner, or your relationship until you show up to your first counseling session.

Dismantle Fears Regarding Marriage

It is not uncommon for young couples to have some concerns and apprehension about marriage, especially with the divorce rate being as high as it is. Maybe your parents or your partner’s parents are divorced, and you have reservations about repeating their mistakes. Maybe you grew up in a household where your parents’ relationship was dysfunctional and you are worried about your future household being the same way. Or perhaps, your parents have the picture-perfect relationship and you are concerned that you’ll never be as happy as they are.

Whatever your fears, concerns or reservations are about marriage, talking to a professional counselor will help you talk through these feelings. Most of the time, couples are able to work through their fears and prevent many of them from ever happening by simply talking about them openly prior to marriage. Being able to openly talk about your fears with your partner will bring you closer together.

At A Caring Approach, Dr. Carlos Durana helps couples get their marriage off on the right foot with professional premarital counseling in Bethesda, Reston, and Washington DC. If you are interested in learning more about counseling and how it can help your relationship, contact A Caring Approach today.