While dreaming about my future spouse, I always thought that meeting the right person was all I needed to have a good marriage.
However, once my dream guy proposed to me after 8 months of dating, I felt like we needed more preparation for marriage.
Not to mention, many people meet their soulmates and still struggle in their marriage.
One study shows that premarital education participation results in higher marital satisfaction levels and lower levels of destructive conflicts. The research also indicates that premarital education resulted in a 31% decrease in divorce odds.
So, to ensure we were ready for marriage, we decided to get premarital counseling. It was one of the best decisions we made before we got married. It helped us to build our marriage on a solid foundation.
Here are the 7 ways premarital counseling led to my dream marriage.
Practiced Communicating Tough Subjects
When you first get engaged, you’re in love and you can’t help to think about the best parts of the relationship. You’re focused on wedding planning, plans to move in together, and the fact that you’re finally getting married.
You may forget to think about all the little things that could negatively affect your marriage. That’s why I appreciated premarital counseling. It forced us to talk about those tough subjects that could end up destroying our marriage.
We got our premarital counseling through my church, which was cost-effective. We both took an assessment through Prepare/Enrich. It’s an online couple’s assessment that identifies a couple’s strengths and growth areas. We only paid $35 total for the cost of the assessment. My assistant minister didn’t charge us to discuss the results of the test in three counseling sessions.
My husband and I took the test separately. Then the minister compared the answers to see what areas we needed to work on.
One of those areas was conflict resolution. We talked about how my husband tended to let me have my way in a disagreement. I didn’t realize that until premarital counseling. I thought he actually agreed with the decisions “we” made.
Knowing that made all the difference in the world for me. In our marriage, whenever my husband tried to let me have my way against his own beliefs, I wouldn’t let him.
Instead, we would discuss each of our sides until we made a decision together. That has made our marriage much better. Usually, a combination of our ideas, is the best move. It keeps our marriage from being one-sided. It prevents us from resenting each other.
Practicing communicating our thoughts during premarital counseling made it much easier to do it in the actual marriage.
Learned to manage money better
One of the assignments we had during premarital counseling was to list our debts and the interest we paid on the debt. It seems obvious to do that now; but we would have never done that if it weren’t for premarital counseling.
It was an enlightening experience. It made us aware of each other’s financial obligations. Armed with the list, after we got married, we tackled our debt together.
Some people pay off debt with the highest interest rate first. We paid off debt with the lowest amount, regardless of the interest rate.
It took us 18 months to pay off all of our debt. For the rest of our marriage, we remained debt free besides our mortgage. We were able to pay cash for everything. It’s all because premarital counseling helped us to start on a strong financial foundation and avoid money problems.
Decided on household roles
Another premarital counseling activity was to decide on household roles. We received a list of roles and had to decide who would do each activity.
I was delighted that the answer to most of the roles was “both.” It was the type of marriage I pictured when I was growing up. My parents both shared doing household chores.
We both planned to work fulltime so it was good that my husband agreed to share in the responsibility of work around the house.
One report revealed that sharing household chores is “very important” to a successful marriage. More than half of married U.S. adults or 56%, both with and without children, agreed.
I know women who are stressed because they take on the bulk of the workload around the house, even though both spouses work.
I’m glad the chores are done evenly at our house so neither of us feel overburdened. It has really helped us to have a strong marriage.
Examined spiritual beliefs
My husband and I went to different churches and we hadn’t made a decision about which church we would attend. I thought the church thing would be a big deal with our premarital counselor.
I was pleasantly surprised that he didn’t make a big deal about it.
He guided us to talk about what we both believed. He also helped us make a decision about which church to attend. We decided to go to both churches. We went to an early service at my church and a later service at his church.
I’ll admit after going to both churches, it was obvious that his church had the better service. When we moved to another state, we picked a church that mirrored his old church.
It was good that we discussed our spiritual beliefs before we got married. We’re still happily attending church after being married for 10 years.
Reviewed views on children and parenting
The conversation we had on children and parenting was one of our toughest conversations. While we were both spanked as children, I had decided that I never wanted to hit my children. I read how spanking can negatively affect a child mentally and emotionally.
My husband did not agree. Like me, he was raised in a family where spanking was a normal way to discipline your children to keep children from getting out of control.
While I couldn’t convince my husband to agree never to spank our children, we agreed that spanking would be a last resort.
Our children are currently ages 6, 4, and 1. We have never spanked them. We talk to them about what they did wrong and discuss better ways of doing things. We don’t have to hit our children to improve their behavior.
Received guidance from a neutral third party
It was good to get advice on our relationship from a neutral person. He was able to help us discuss any issues in our marriage. After evaluating us, he said we had rose-colored glasses on. We were definitely in love and could only see the bright side of our relationship.
It was beneficial to pull back the layers of our relationship and actually deal with important issues. When we didn’t know how to move forward on an issue, the minister was there to guide us toward a resolution.
He also had the experience to correct any mistakes that we were making and give us his advice.
The best part is all of this guidance happened before we got married. It helped us have a strong start to our marriage.
The assessments my husband and I took for premarital counseling not only revealed our areas of weakness, they also showed us if we were compatible.
I was relieved when our premarital counselor told us that we received the highest level of compatibility with the Prepare/Enrich test. We were considered a Vitalized Couple, which revealed high relationship satisfaction and positive couple agreement scores across most categories. It is the coupling type that is least likely to divorce.
It made me feel more confident going into our marriage knowing that we were very compatible.
If you are about to get married, I highly recommend that you go to premarital counseling. There are so many benefits of preparing for your marriage before it begins.
We were able to discuss hot topics in a comfortable environment when we weren’t angry or heated. We also had a neutral third party in the room to guide us towards best practices.
We prevented many arguments by discussing important issues in advance of our marriage.
We were able to build our marriage on a strong foundation and premarital counseling was definitely a factor that led to our dream marriage.