Marriage is wonderful, but it can also be stressful. Couples face so many stresses that pull on marriage; from planning a wedding, to differences in beliefs and ways of spending money. Ninety percent of Americans get married, but fifty percent end in divorce. The average marriage in California lasts seven years.
The truth is successful marriage is based on both partners having good skills to manage inevitable conflicts; to express admiration and appreciation; to accept the influence from the other person; and to nurture love and romance. They have realistic expectations of each other and understand how to interact to keep love coming back. The best ways to ensure you beat the odds and ensure a long and satisfying marriage is to explore all the issues and get all the skills and training you need together, before you marry. Conflict is inevitable, but couples can learn to navigate through conflict by learning communication skills, anticipating future problems and developing empathy for one another by exploring each other’s family or origin, similarities and differences. Pre-marital Counseling can help you chart the course.
I work to aid couples to solve problems before they start by using a combined Cognitive-Behavioral/ Family Systems approach. I focus on exploring compatibility by examining couples interests, values and differences. Family of origin and individual communication styles are also discussed. Couples are encouraged to talk about their views on commitment, future aspirations, and goals while working to identify and anticipate possible obstacles they may face. Couples generally develop a plan to deal with and work through current and future obstacles. I teach communication and problem solving skills throughout the course of pre-marital counseling and encourage couples to utilize such skills when they feel it may be helpful in their relationship. Specific individualized concerns of the couple are also addressed throughout counseling.
What is described above typically takes 4 sessions and couples may then choose to continue with sessions if they would like to further address things that may arise while in counseling.
I also have experience with prenuptial agreements and if the couple chooses I can provide support and aid to a couple while drafting a prenuptial agreement. It does not have to be a horrible experience! When executed in the right manner a prenuptial agreement can be a helpful tool for a couple to prompt them to discuss their future and gain trust and insight in the relationship.
When should I consider Pre-Marital Counseling???
If you are young and have never been married before. California law actually requires that individuals under age 18 complete pre-marital counseling before they can file for a marriage license.
If you have been in a long courtship. If you have been engaged 9 or more years and plan on getting married but have not done so, it’s time to understand what’s going on.
If you cannot resolve significant issues. The number one predictor of divorce is the habitual avoidance of conflict. If you are having trouble resolving issues related to money, children, chores, work, sex or a host of other things, now is the time to learn how to address differences.
If you have had trouble in marriage and want to try it again. Every happy successful couple has a few areas of differences, but they can accept and respect them as a relationship.
If you would like to learn communication skills that may help to resolve conflicts before they start or explore differences in your family of origin.
If you would like to discuss pre-marital counseling or set up an appointment please call our office at 310.722.6223.
**Adapted from California Marriage and Family Therapists Association Information