“A wedding planned well has little if anything to do with a successful marriage.
With this in mind, it is easy to understand why premarital counselling is, in the long term, more important than wedding planning.”
Gary Chapman, author of “The Five Love Languages”
Pre Marriage Preparation at Let’s Talk Life is about planning for your marriage, not only your wedding day
Traditionally, couples spend thousands of dollars and many hundreds of hours preparing for their wedding which lasts for one day. Yet many couples give very little thought to preparing well for the years of married life that lie ahead. Many hope or believe that marriage will naturally work itself out. But with every third marriage in Australia ending in divorce, the statistics show that this does not always happen (see below). Divorce can be extremely costly – emotionally, financially, socially and psychologically – so it makes good sense to give yourselves the very best chance of many happy and successful years together by preparing well for marriage and your future lives together.
Some have done this when first talking about marriage, even before their engagement. Others have done so in the three to six months leading up to their wedding date. Still others have started a few weeks before the wedding, and continued after the honeymoon. All have found the program we use extremely helpful. Some couples marrying for the second time have expressed how they wished they had done something like this before.
Pre Marriage Preparation at Let’s Talk Life
At Let’s Talk Life we use the Prepare-Enrich Australia program. We begin with inviting you to individually complete an online, customized questionnaire. This questionnaire is not a diagnostic tool and there are no right or wrong answers. It is simply a set of questions designed to take a snapshot of your current relationship strengths and growth areas in order to facilitate exploration and discussion. We also cover areas such as assertiveness, active listening skills, resolving conflict, discussing families-of-origin, coping better with stressors and working towards establishing personal, couple and family goals, and much more.
Couples find that 8 one hours sessions (usually one hour per week) are required to thoroughly cover all aspects of their relationship. Some program providers offer three or four sessions, but for something as important as the rest of your married lives together, we like to take an in depth approach that takes a little longer but is well worth it.
“We are on a tight budget for our wedding, but if we have to choose between pre-marriage counselling or a wedding dress, we’d choose the pre-marriage counselling.” NM & JS after Session 6
If you’re keen on the stats, Prepare Enrich Australia (April 2019) summarizes as follows:
“Marriage is not for everyone. But for those that seek successful marriage and a fulfilling family life in which to raise healthy and happy children, functional families are seen as the bedrock of successful societies. But whilst attempted by many, many fail.
In 2015 there were 118,962 marriages in Australia down from 123,244 in 2011, with 72% being a first marriage and 28% a remarriage, with brides aged 29 and grooms 34, with 73% conducted by a marriage celebrant, with the remaining 27% by a religious organisation. The average length of marriage increased from 10.7 years in 1993 to 12.1 years in 2015 with the median age of divorce females 42.9 and 47 for males however there is estimated to be 2/3 of marriages that are unhappy after 5 years. And remarriages didn’t fair any better, with a greater proportion more likely to divorce than those who had not been previously married.
De facto partnering should not be excluded from discussion as many of the attributes and impact to society are prevalent in this cohort also. ABS stats suggest that 4 in 5 couples live together before marriage however research suggests that cohabitation is usually associated with lower levels of martial satisfaction and whilst two thirds of people are partnered, cohabiting has increased to 9.5% with those in married households 50%. One-parent households make up 16% of all households.
The Cost of Family Breakdown
The burden on society, the impact on our children and the impact on government funding to support families in crisis is significant. In Kevin Andrews book ‘Maybe I do’, he claims that >$3 billion p.a. was spent on social security benefits associated with marriage dysfunction in the 1990’s. That figure is a lot larger today. In the UK, the cost to the economy of family breakdown has been estimated at £47 billion (Ashcroft, J. 2015).
In Australia 31% of children aged 0-17 met with their separated parent on a daily/weekly basis whereas, 51% of children did not spend a single night with their non-resident parent and one in four children saw the parent they were not living with less than once a year or never. According to 2011 census data, almost 1 in 5 families were headed by a single parent.
An investment focused on preventing marriage breakdown and developing relationship skills to assist with the success of your relationship is important, for you and your partner, our children and society.”
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