Why it's doneBy Mayo Clinic staff
Premarital counseling helps couples improve their relationships before marriage. Through premarital counseling, couples are encouraged to discuss a wide range of important and intimate topics related to marriage, such as:
- Beliefs and values
- Roles in marriage
- Affection and sex
- Children and parenting
- Family relationships
- Decision making
- Dealing with anger
- Time spent together
Premarital counseling helps partners improve their ability to communicate, set realistic expectations for marriage and develop conflict-resolution skills. In addition, premarital counseling can help couples establish a positive attitude about seeking help with their marriages down the road.
Keep in mind that you bring your own values, opinions and personal history into a relationship, and they might not always match your partner's. In addition, many people go into marriage believing it will fulfill their social, financial, sexual and emotional needs — and that's not always the case. By discussing differences and expectations before marriage, you and your partner can better understand and support each other during marriage. Early intervention is important because the risk of divorce is highest early in marriage.
- Marriage preparation. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. http://www.aamft.org/iMIS15/Content/Consumer_Updates/Marriage_Preparation.aspx. Accessed Aug. 26, 2011.
- Marriage and family therapist: The family-friendly mental health professionals. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. http://www.aamft.org/imis15/content/Consumer_Updates/Marriage_and_Family_Therapists.aspx. Accessed Aug. 26, 2011.
- Nine psychological tasks for a good marriage. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/marriage.aspx. Accessed Aug. 26, 2011.
- Murray CE, et al. Solution-focused premarital counseling: Helping couples build a vision for their marriage. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. 2004;30:349.
- Larson JH, et al. The relationship evaluation (relate) with therapist-assisted interpretation: Short-term effects on premarital relationships. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. 2007;33:364.
- Markman HJ, et al. The premarital communication roots of marital distress and divorce: The first five years of marriage. Journal of Family Psychology. 2010;24:289.