When a client comes in for their first session, I always ask them what goals they have for therapy or what they would like to accomplish as a result of coming to counseling. Clients will often say, “I just want to be successful.” That success could be accomplished through their job, projects, hobbies, relationships or any other activity they may be involved in. There is something deeply satisfying that enhances our self-worth when we feel successful. While success is a fine goal, I have pondered why some people seem unable to find success in various areas of their life, while others seem to be successful in almost everything they do. I came across a quote from Confucius that I believe has the answer: “Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.” As a marriage and family therapist, I have studied what it takes to have success in a marital relationship. I believe that couples who diligently prepare will naturally experience success.
If a teenager wants to get their driver’s license, they can’t just show up at the DMV and expect to obtain a license. In fact, a new driver must complete a driver’s education course, complete a medical/vision test, drive 40 hours with an adult, and pass a written and skills test. The only way a driver’s license is issued is if the candidate has prepared sufficiently to be a successful driver. However, when that same driver wants to get married a few years later, they can fill out a short application online, pay $45.00 and a marriage license is issued. I think there is something wrong with this picture! I believe that the success of our community and nation stems from the success of our families; yet, our society does very little to prepare couples for marriage!
When I was completing my master’s degree at BYU, I decided to run a premarital class. It was one of the most enjoyable parts of my graduate school experience. We discussed a variety of topics including finances, sex, in-laws, communication, gender differences and expectations. We talked about real life issues that allowed the couple to take off the rose colored glasses and really plan their future life together. Cassandra Kirkland, a family life specialist at Mississippi State University, stated, “Research shows that couples who participate in premarital counseling tend to have higher levels of satisfaction in marriage. These couples also tend to experience lower levels of conflict in marriage and decrease odds of divorce.” Unfortunately, too many couples spend hours and hours planning a wedding, but don’t give that same investment of time to planning their marriage.
At the St. George Center for Couples and Families, we are committed to assisting couples as they prepare for a successful marriage. In order to help couples obtain martial success, we offer a premarital class and premarital counseling. Success in marriage is not random – it is the result of careful and diligent preparation.
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