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by M. Rivest Ph.D., D.S.T.
Counseling Solutions at SMI
336 760 1780
Couples enter marriage with high hopes and wonderful dreams. This is a good thing.
They then find that their first year together is difficult and their third year nearly intolerable and then…50% divorce.
Pre-marriage counseling is great for those marrying for the second, third, and forth times.
Unless we change how we do our relationship business we will repeat our former errors. That is why the success rate for remarriages ranges from 10-30%. If the remarriage is a product of adultery from a former marriage the success rate is 5%. Pre-marriage counseling can help increase the success rate.
The problem, of course, is that we often do our mate selection rather haphazardly. Often we make decisions more on feelings than common sense. No one taught us any differently.
Most of our families, well over 68%, are dysfunctional in some serious ways. So our first teachers, those being our parents or many cases parent, despite their best efforts did not know how to teach us the best ways of managing life and making good life long choices.
The modern version of our species has a decided lack of loyalty and commitment to anything. I think Americans are particularly bad at commitment. It seems that as soon as a person’s, job, political party, church, or whatever he happens to belong to for the moment ceases to please him he moves on to what looks like greener pastures.
I often ask clients to define love for me. Either they cannot define it at all or describe love in terms of a feeling. So…if I have a good feeling about you I must be in love. If I have a bad feeling it is time for divorce. That sounds rather self indulgent.
We all like the feeling stuff and certainly that should be fostered in a good relationship but it is NOT love. Above all love is a free choice that has commitment and sacrifice at its core. I love my wife because I choose to whether I feel good about her at the moment or not.
I bet few people have been taught how to love, commit, make reasonable choices, evaluate their thinking process, and to go slow in all things short of moving out from under a bus.
I find that most people to do NOT have a life vision or a marriage vision that they can articulate. For example if someone were to ask you what your top ten relationship needs are what would you say?
Good pre-marriage counseling can help create this vision.
It is best to have pre-marriage counseling at least six months prior to the marriage.
I even have couples who are just seriously dating come in for counseling to see if in fact they should explore marriage.
The smarter, more thoughtful, we are on life and marriage the better it will work out.
Ministers around the country are finding that in-depth pre-marriage counseling helps to prevent divorce and helps to create happier and more solid marital relationships. In some cities such as Winston-Salem many ministers have agreed not to marry couples unless they have received pre-marriage counseling.
What is discussed in pre-marriage counseling?
The individual’s needs (we give a test to help determine what the needs are)Family of origin and how that affects the new marriage’s expectationsConflict resolutionSexMoneyIn-laws (out-laws)What is marriage after all?Children and the raising of childrenHow to create a successful Christian marriageRole expectationsWhat is love, really?Mixed marriagesBlended familiesCreating a marital vision
It would be my hope that everyone would have a mentor/counselor in their lives and consult them with every life changing decision.
When you marry someone you are putting YOUR future into THEIR hands.
For more information go to: www.MarriageCounseling.org
© Copyright 2013 by Michael Rivest, therapist in Winston Salem, North Carolina. All rights reserved.