Should you bother with a marriage-prep course?

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By Arv Grewal

Relationships do not have to be difficult if couples can establish a healthy communication technique…and therein lies the problem.

According to a study published in the Journal of Family Psychology , 44% of all first marriages end in divorce. The most common reasons why marriages end are:

1. Lack of intimacy or sexual addiction
– either end of the spectrum can leave partners feeling disconnected from one another and possibly seek external gratification or understanding.
2. Financial issues – when times are tough, problems can easily escalate and the blame-game begins.
3. Depression, alcohol or drug abuse – it is important that partners communicate openly about how they are feeling, or if they need help to cope with pressures in other aspects of their lives.
4. Lack of respect or boundaries – this can be chalked up to lack of understanding which leaves partners feeling distressed and resentful.
5. No joint interest – growing apart as they seek their own avenues of fulfillment and realize that they have simply fallen out of love with one another.

Arguments are a normal part of life, but it is important HOW couples handle arguments. A relationship consists of two distinct individuals who have different views about the true meaning of the word ‘argument’. They need to find an effective method of communication as it is often the major factor in holding a marriage together. Unfortunately, many couples lack this skill and require more communication skill building.

If communicating openly about serious topics such as intimacy, parenting, fertility, or relationship expectations sounds daunting, be reassured that it does not have to be. Learning communication skills through a marriage preparation course can help with identifying strengths and development so that couples can grow together. They are designed to address issues that couples struggle with most often in their relationships.

Research shows that couples who participate in pre-marital courses tend to communicate better, solve problems more effectively, and report better relationships than those who do not, thus strengthening the foundation of a long-lasting marriage.  Couples must learn to understand each other so that they can recognize and accept each others’ point of view which will form the beginnings of a strong and ideal marriage.

BIO: Arv Grewal is a Certified Counsellor with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, and offers a pre-marital education course specific to the South Asian community. arvgrewal.com