Falling in love and preparing to marry can feel like the happiest time of your life. Your and your fiancées relationship is so full of promise. It is a fact, however, that soon the two of you will be married – committed to each other – and you will face new challenges together. There may be children, there may be decisions as big as house-buying, there may be issues with elderly parents that you will address together. Even the best relationships have rough periods within all these challenges.
So it is best to be prepared. Learn why you and your partner should consider premarital counselling.
Every good relationship needs a good foundation. Whether you are still dating or already engaged, counselling can help you and your partner tackle important issues, and handle your differences.
According to the Ministry of Social and Family Development, premarital counselling, which is already a part of most marriage preparation programs, can help couples prepare for marriage, work together through issues, resolve differences, and assess whether or not they are truly ready for marriage.
If you are planning to get married in the near future, you and your partner should consider attending premarital counselling sessions, which are available at Family Service Centres supported by the Ministry.
Consider these eight good reasons to go to premarital counselling.
- Get to know your partner even better.
Your counsellor is likely to bring up topics that you have never discussed in depth. Even if you think that you already know each other well, you might still be surprised – and also excited – about the new things that you can still learn about each other.
Once you get to know each other at a deeper level, it may be easier for both of you to support each other’s dreams and to dismantle your own fears.
- Improve communication and problem-solving skills.
To perfect your interpersonal communication, it is important to fully understand the way you and your partner receive, process, and share information. Premarital counselling may also be a good time to practice your listening skills on each other.
- Learn valuable conflict resolution skills.
Everyone has their own way of handling conflict. Are there times when you and your partner resort to pouting, shouting, name-calling or the silent treatment? Be honest with yourself, and you will likely realise that there is still a lot of room for improvement in how you manage your differences.
- Tackle various issues relating to marriage.
There are many dichotomies that may pop up once you are married. Are the two of you of different faiths? Are there a lot of differences in the way you each handle your finances? How about in the manner you each manage your time?
It is easy to get emotional when discussing serious topics. During premarital counselling, you can tackle these issues, before they erupt in reality, with a counsellor guiding you through the conversation. This gives you and your partner the opportunity to calmly and rationally discuss your concerns without awakening heated emotions.
- Manage expectations.
Once you’ve tackled the important issues that may crop up in your marriage, you should be better equipped to manage your expectations for the marriage. Starting with a session of sharing and clarifying your expectations of each other, you can work towards giving and taking, and merging your separate visions into one.
- Reflect on your relationship.
The topics you bring up, the details you learn about each other, and the communication and conflict-resolution skills that you gain during premarital counselling can help you reflect on your relationship. This will hopefully give you and your partner the chance to more deeply appreciate each other and inspire you to continuously work on improving your relationship. It can also help you and your partner decide whether or not marriage is the best next step for both of you.
- Reduce your risk of divorce.
Although the divorce rate has slightly decreased from 7,525 in 2013 to 7,307 in 2014, the rate is still relatively high compared to the figures from ten – and, especially – twenty years ago: . With this worrisome data in mind, it seems worthwhile to expend an extra bit of effort to prepare oneself before entering the commitment of marriage.
Premarital counselling can help you and your partner build a better foundation for marriage. Moreover, the counsellor can provide some guidance to help you determine if this is really the right time for you to tie the knot.
- Increase the satisfaction you both get from your relationship.
Premarital counselling can empower your relationship. The Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Programme or PREP, which is supported by the Ministry of Family and Social Development, is an evidence-based marriage and relationship educational programme. The materials, aimed at soon-to-be wedded couples and newlyweds, have been proven as a tool for building stronger marriages. In fact, it is claimed that PREP completion can support relationships for up to five years. While it does not necessarily guarantee lifetime marriage success, it can create a positive difference in your relationship.
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