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Should all couples getting married have premarital education?

04 Nov 16:43 by admin
Tags: marriage preparation, getting married, church wedding, civil ceremony

As civil ceremonies become more popular than religious weddings, we explore the idea of marriage preparation and the role it has in modern weddings.

Many church weddings include a tradition of premarital counselling for couples. This could be as simple as spending a day encouraging couples to explore their relationship and reflect on the significance of marriage, but it can also take the form of an in-depth course lasting several months.

This can help couples prepare for the future by focusing on individual expectations and potential problem areas. Exploring these areas early on can help couples see beyond the wedding day and learn to communicate more effectively about big issues.

However, church weddings have become less popular over the past few decades and civil ceremonies have taken over as the most common type of marriage ceremony in the UK. This means that many more people are getting married without the counselling on offer from church weddings.

So, should all couples getting married take part in some form of premarital education?

There is evidence that premarital training can lower the risks of later marital problems and separation. Research shows that couples who have counselling are more likely to stay together and be satisfied in their relationship.

Premarital education, or marriage preparation, emphasises the message that marriage is important and worth the commitment. Couples are encouraged to concentrate on the seriousness of the step they are about to take, reminding them that they are entering a long-term investment.

A counselling course can slow couples down and prevent them from rushing into an early wedding date. Couples who marry after a short dating period are more likely to divorce, so a course that lasts a few months might help couples focus more on their relationship and uncover any areas that might need work.

By having therapy, couples learn early on how helpful it can be to talk about their relationship with other people. Couples stand a better chance of resolving their problems if they seek help earlier rather than later.

Many charities and organisations offer premarital courses for engaged couples. See our page on marriage preparation for a list of services.

Further reading

Stanley SM. Making a case for premarital education. Family Relations 2001; 50: 272-280

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