Marriage preparation is a great place to start. It can help couples identify and improve their strengths. It can help them get clear about their expectations around marriage. They may become aware of red flags or possible deal breakers. It can help them identify changes that could give them a greater chance of success. They will learn and practice communication and conflict resolution skills, increase their emotional maturity and discover ways to develop more emotional and sexual intimacy.
Research indicates that marriage preparation is effective in helping couples increase marital satisfactions. Couples report improved communication, greater focus on the positive aspects of their relationship, improved conflict management, higher dedication to their partner and overall improved relationship quality. These benefits seem to last for between 6 months to 3 years after the marriage preparation program is completed. Spending a few hours on marriage preparation before marriage will not guarantee your happily ever after; hence the need for ongoing learning and practice.
Marriage is more like a marathon than a sprint. Just to finish the race is a huge accomplishment. It is unlikely that someone would run a marathon without learning some important skills and then continuing to train and practice.
A marathon is an individual rather than a team sport, but so much of creating a successful marriage is dependent on developing individual skills and abilities. Marriage Preparation could be considered the initial training program; it helps you learn the skills that will help you make your marriage stronger. And what really determines whether you are prepared to make it to the end of the race will be whether you put that training program into action in your day-to-day life.
Practice; practice; practice. Marriage preparation helps you to learn communication and conflict resolution skills, as well as skills for connecting with each other. However, unless you use the skills learned through Marriage Preparation in your daily interactions with each other the impact on your relationship will be short lived.
Working together on marriage preparation is both fun and informative. Couples learn much about themselves and their partners. They often experience moments that make them think and or laugh. Discussion of topics like household chores, in-laws, finances and intimacy helps them get clear on their expectations. It also helps couples discover where their values may be mismatched before they get married. Sometimes they become aware of possible deal breakers that need to be addressed before moving forward.
Marriage preparation helps each of you to assess your personal readiness for marriage. It will improve your chances of creating a lasting, satisfying marriage. Marriage preparation education is an excellent beginning and with consistent efforts to learn and apply relationship enhancing skills you will make it through the inevitable challenges marriage brings.