The short answer is a resounding YES. Getting married without pre-marriage prep is like starting a business or any important venture without preparing. Half of all marriages end in divorce, and only half of those that endure are truly happy in the long run. Many happy engaged couples assume that they won’t be contributing to these statistics. But, if you just wing it and count on your luck to make your marriage a success, your odds are only one in four.
There is another way.
Most couples just don’t realize that good, skill-based pre-marriage counseling or classes can reduce the risk of divorce by up to thirty percent and lead to a significantly happier marriage, according to marriage research. It can also reduce the stress of the pre-wedding period. Just a little effort now can make your odds a whole lot better over the long run. You want to do everything you can to ensure that your dreams of a great marriage and a great life are realized.
Pre-marriage preparation is based on the reality that it’s important to strengthen your relationship and prepare constructively for future challenges and conflicts that everyone will inevitably face at some point in their marriage, now while you have so much fresh positive energy in your relationship. Don’t stick your head in the sand. The research shows that there is a window of opportunity during the year before the wedding and the six months or so after when couples get the optimum benefit from marriage preparation. Later, under stress, negative habits and relationship patterns may become established and be much harder to resolve.
Couples now face more demands and have fewer supports than ever before. The typical complex marriage – managing two careers while rearing children – really requires that couples have very strong, well-established abilities to communicate, resolve issues, maintain mutuality and set goals. Without this foundation, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by stress and time pressures. Problems can intrude much more easily than most couples realize. As much as it’s important to come to terms with unrealistically positive expectations, those who grew up with divorced or unhappily married parents may find that they have unacknowledged and unexplored expectations that their marriage, too, may become unhappy. Marriage preparation functions as an immunization that boosts your capacity to handle potential difficulties. Couples need every advantage to succeed in today’s marriages.