Are you looking for Christian marriage and relationship counselling, or pre marriage counselling?
We know that marriage breakdown and problems can have massive repercussions, on individuals and society at large (Hunter & Commerford). So how can we improve each couple’s chances of building a successful relationship?
Marriage counselling and education can be effective for anyone who is willing to take part in it, as either an individual or a couple. Persons of various ages, ethical backgrounds and socio economic backgrounds can find benefit in this process (Gilbert).
As a general rule, couples tend to seek out Christian marriage counselling when they are in crisis. However there is much to be said for being proactive about your marriage, and seeking out counselling long before things reach a boiling point.
Pre Marriage Counselling
It’s a good idea for couple to seek out pre marriage counselling, as it can help to prevent marriage problems and breakdown later in life. Premarriage counselling helps to build foundations for your life together, and should teach you strategies to handle future marriage conflict and stress (Hunter & Commerford).
The goals of pre marriage counselling usually include:
- opening up the communication between the couple;
- resolving any conflict (or potential for conflict) that may exist;
- strengthening the commitment of each partner;
- and clarifying each partner’s expectations of the other in their marriage (Gilbert).
According to statistics, about a third of all couples in Australia attend pre marriage counselling, so it is not limited to Christians.
Marriage Counselling and Relationship Education
Even if you are already married, most couples benefit from relationship education such as:
- Couple enrichment and enhancement programs:
These programs are the typical marital health intervention programs that aim to help couples increase their levels of satisfaction in the marriage.
- Communication programs:
The purpose of these programs is to teach couples the skills to effectively communicate, as communication breakdown is one of the main culprits for marriage strife.
- Prevention programs:
- Universal Prevention Programs: These programs are for couples, and usually start when couples are young and happy; the aim is to keep the relationship happy.
- Selective Intervention Programs: These programs are for couples that are at risk of being in distress or considering divorce.
- Indicated Programs: These programs focus on couples that find themselves in the early stages of distress.
For Christian marriage education programs to be successful, it is important that couples that are at high risk of future marital problems attend this form of counselling. More couples would attend these programs if they realised the risks they are susceptible to, and how this form of counselling can benefit their relationship and marriage in the future (Gilbert).
Does Christian Marriage Counselling and Education Work?
While it can definitely help, it is less effective if one partner is not really actively involved in the process. Research has shown that the counselling process is faster and more effective when both partners come together to counselling.
It is also advisable that couples come to counselling on a regular basis, even if there are no real problems in the relationship. When a couple waits for when their problems have escalated, one partner might have already given up, and this can make saving the relationship very difficult.
Interestingly, the divorce rate has dropped over the past few years. In the 1970’s there was a 47% divorce rate while people who got married in the 1980’s and 1990’s have a lower rate of divorce. There are various reasons for this, of which one is that there is more counselling available, and also that couples tend to be older when getting married (Tasker).
In conclusion, it is advisable for every Christian couple to attend marriage and pre marriage counselling sessions with a professional counsellor. It is always good to be proactive and work on issues before they become real problems, as marriage breakdown leaves at least two people, and often children as well, broken and hurting.
Author: Corey Human, B Th, M Counselling. Corey Human has nearly 20 years’ experience in providing counselling to adolescents, adults, couples, parents and families in both English and Afrikaans. In relationship counselling and education, his aim is to empower each couple with the tools to help themselves when they get to points of conflict in their relationship.
To make an appointment with Counselling Professional, Corey Human, you can try Online Booking – Loganholme or call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129.
- Gilbert, M.C. (N.D.) Premarital Counseling; Premarital Counseling and Education Effectiveness. Pennsylvania State University. http://sites.psu.edu/gilberthdfsportfolio/wp-content/uploads/sites/41641/2016/03/Premarital-Counseling-and-Education-Effectiveness-418.pdf
- Hunter, C. & Commerford, J. 2015, Relationship Education and Counselling, Recent research findings, CFC Paper no 33 https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/relationship-education-and-counselling/introduction.
- Tasker, R. (n.d.). Does marriage counselling work? 8 surprising statistics and facts. Retrieved from http://guidedoc.com/does-marriage-counseling-work-statistics-facts.