Do I Need A Pre-Marriage Class?
Updated February 13, 2020
Reviewer Chante’ Gamby, LCSW
Before officially tying the knot with your partner, it's a good idea to prepare yourself for the coming years of companionship (along with its good and bad times) by seeking out and enrolling in a pre-marriage class. Not only do pre-marriage classes prepare you for the upcoming and inevitable trials and tribulations of commitment with your partner and future spouse, but they also are statistically proven to reduce the probability of divorce later on. By participating in pre-marriage classes, the information you will receive and the skills you will learn how to use along the way will help you develop a solid starting foundation with your future spouse that is proven to last you for many years to come.
The Benefits Of A Pre-Marriage Class
There are a lot of pieces of a marriage that will require effort and a learned form of compatibility on the part of both spouses, but effectively handling communication between each other is one of the most important and concurrently most difficult parts of the entire gig. Communication can make or break any relationship, particularly a marriage. Engaging in serious discussions with your future spouse about the more difficult topics - such as children, sexual activity, and finances - can be incredibly stressful and potentially lead to arguments if not approached cautiously and handled with care. Preparing for these conversations with a licensed and accredited pre-marriage counselor can give you the proper tools to discuss these topics both now and in the future with minimal or hopefully even without any incident at all.
Additionally, a pre-marriage counselor can teach both you and your future spouse entirely new communicative tools to avoid potential escalations that you likely may have experienced at one point or another in the past. By having an actual professional mediate your discussions of current concerns and undecided, or possibly unaddressed, topics as a couple, they can understand both of your personalities better and offer new ways for the two of you to communicate more effectively with each other. Life isn't always sunshine and rainbows no matter how much you love a person, and many unexpected events can take place outside of the usual marital concerns. Being prepared with the best possible communication and coping skills is practically necessary to be sure that you and your spouse can weather the storms that life will try to throw your way.
Pre-marriage counselors can also help you to develop timelines for important marriage milestones that you may or may not have previously deliberated over, such as having children and what your perspectives and intentions may be regarding the way you wish to raise them. This is a hugely important factor in marriages and even non-married relationships that end up involving children because no one wants to reproduce and expect their child to be raised with a certain set of values, only to discover the other parent has completely different plans for them. Deciding on what works best for you as a couple, compromising on certain issues about your expectations regarding your future kids, and even gaining a general idea of how many children you may want to try having and in what timeframe can greatly alleviate the stresses of childrearing and the planned or unplanned pregnancies that may occur in your relationship. By coming to an agreement on various issues with the help of this pre-marriage mediator, you and your spouse will avoid frustrating conversations after the big day since you've already put a plan in place and agreed upon the conditions of said plan.
Engaging in these deep and essential discussions with your future spouse before your nuptials take place also allows both of you the opportunity to clear the air of any past resentment or uncertainties, extinguish any doubts or fears about your upcoming marriage to each other and the future you will have together, and help you to avoid a significant amount of forthcoming marital stress and frustration. It's a good idea to express (in all categories) what you are comfortable with or not comfortable with and lay out the boundaries of the relationship between the two of you. Insecurities or past behaviors of one spouse may play a significant part in the other spouse's worries and doubts, and without figuring out the best manner of handling those concerns and ensuring a relationship built strongly on trust and reliability, all of those doubts and fears can overwhelm even the most seemingly perfect couples.
Every couple needs to learn the necessary skills for communication, and it always helps to make an actual game plan for how to handle certain issues as they arise. Having this structured method of conflict resolution is a great tool for when emotions are running high, but the spouses still need to find a solution to whatever has occurred. It allows them to step back and approach the situation safely and productively, and for the two of them to reach a positive conclusion together rather than be caught up in destructive or distressing feelings and unable to process things as clearly. Every couple's game plan will be different depending upon their personalities and the multiple facets of their lives together, and the plan of action should be specially crafted into what works the best for those two specific people when trouble comes along.
Using Pre-Marriage Classes for Life Planning
The most stressful topic that married couples end up facing is money and finances. Money is a huge portion of a partnership with someone, and working together to achieve your goals is paramount to a lasting and loving life together. Majority of married couples choose to invest in a home together, as well as allocate funds for a honeymoon, retirement, travel plans, and often savings for any future children and their expenses and futures as well. Since finances are always such a touchy subject and affect so many other aspects of both a couple's and an individual spouse's every facet of life, even married couples who otherwise have an excellent relationship can bring up the discussion of finances and how they're being used or squandered away and have those conversations rapidly deteriorate into a heated argument. It's not a productive response, but it's certainly an understandable one when you're relying on someone else to help bolster your quality of living and the investments for your future together. With many couples seeming to have polar opposite spending habits a lot of the time, it's essential that they find a way to reach a healthy balance on how to approach the subject and meet both their joint and individual needs.
Seeking help from a pre-marriage counselor can greatly prepare both of you to discuss the tough topics, including such things as finances, and do so in a productive, respectful, and constructive manner. By using the tools a pre-marriage class can teach you, you and your partner should then be able to discuss all of these things rationally and civilly, be able to clarify any details of any issues that may otherwise be uncertain, and eventually reach a suitable agreement together.
The same goes for discussions about the matters of sex and intimacy, as well as the subject of having children. Both the sexual and intimate relationship with your partner and the eventual prospect of having children can be touchy subjects, especially if both of you don't see eye-to-eye on either of the issues. By utilizing a pre-marriage counselor to develop effective discussion processes to combat these topics head-on, you and your partner will have a much easier time communicating about these concerns in the future.
Let's face it: discussing sex can be frustrating if you both don't agree on certain features of it, and intimacy is a key part of a strong partnership. You never want to insult your partner or make them feel bad about themselves, but sometimes not being able to tactfully address your needs and wants of a physical nature may come off as hurtful or even degrading to them, even if you don't mean for your words to be taken in that manner. Pre-marriage counseling can help you form the correct approach when the time comes to discuss that part of your relationship and do so in a kind and respectful way. An open and honest approach is the best way to communicate in general with your future spouse, but this is an area that requires significant finesse and cautiousness to avoid any hurt feelings or worries over inadequacy. If not handled well, some spouses may even begin to fret over infidelity if they feel incapable of meeting their partner's physical needs in the relationship. This is not a bad seed you ever want to be planted in your marriage because it's incredibly hard to cope with and move forward from.
Seeking Out Professional Pre-Marital Assistance
Marriage is a wonderful and special companionship that should be invested in with as much love and effort as possible. With divorce rates on the rise, attending a pre-marriage class will be of great assistance in helping to clear both of your minds as the big day approaches. Preparing now can only better your chances later of maintaining the great and lasting relationship that you dream of. If you're getting married in a house of worship that already offers pre-marriage counseling, or if you want to seek out a pre-marriage counselor on your own, it's never a bad idea to check things out and give it a try to work out the kinks before you say "I do."
Visit https://www.regain.us/start/ for more information on the available pre-marriage classes.