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Sociology Essays – Marital Counseling Marriage

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Published: Wed, 09 Mar 2016

Marital Counseling Marriage

Effects of Pre Marital Counseling on the length of a Marriage

In today’s society so much emphasis is but on divorce and the rising rate of divorce, there seems to be little attention on what can be done before the marriage takes place to help prevent divorce. While some couples today participate in some form of premarital counseling most do not. Not realizing the benefits of premarital counseling and the effect it could possibly have on how long you marriage will last and the benefits it will have on helping you deal with married life why couples do not participate in it is still unknown.

Getting married without premarital counseling is like starting a business without knowing anything about the type of business you want to start. Premarital counseling or classes can reduce the risk of divorce by up to thirty percent (Khulman, 2007). Couples should realize that good, skilled based premarital counseling really can reduce the odds of divorce.

Premarital counseling is based on the reality that it is important to make sure that your relations is as strong as it can possibly be, after all only about half of the marriages that do last are marriages where the couple is truly happy. Research shows that here is a window of opportunity during the year before the wedding and about six months after when couples get the optimum benefit from premarital counseling (Stanley, 273). Premarital counseling improved the strength of a marriage even with couples who think that they will

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not encounter any problems can greatly benefit from premarital counseling. According to Dr. Jason Carroll and Dr. William J. Doherty, couples who participate in premarital programs experience a 30% increase in marital success over those who do not participate (Carroll and Doherty, 105). An important purpose of premarital counseling is the help the couple determine their individual readiness for marriage.

It can also help couples become aware of the assets and liabilities of their relationship, which are important factors in deciding who and when to marry. As they evaluate these factors, couples have a chance to slow things down and think seriously about their relationship. In other words, premarital education allows couples to plan their marriage rather than just a wedding.

Data for this research will be collected on the following; Communication with each other, balancing job and family, handling finances, sexual relationship, lack of time spent together and handling other issues outside of the marriage.

Couples getting married today face many challenges and many do not have a strong support line. The typical marriages today consist of two working adults who are trying to raise a family. This requires that couples have the ability to communicate, resolve issues and stay married. The hypothesis

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that will be tested by this research paper is: couples who participate in premarital counseling are better able to resolve issues that arise in their marriage and stay married longer than those who do not receive premarital counseling. Premarital counseling can boost a couples capacity o handle different issues that arise in a marriage. Couples today need every advantage that they can get to stay married. Many couples’ expectations of marriage revolve around the belief that love will conquer all and will get them through rough times.

While love is important, it won’t be enough if couples don’t have the basic attitudes and skills they need for a successful marriage. Marriages that last require partners who respect one another, who have gained knowledge about what makes marriage work, and who have developed skills that will enhance the relationship.

The purpose of this study is to show that premarital counseling provides couples with the basic foundations that will enable them to solve marital issues that arise and stay married. Premarital counseling can send a message to couples that their marriage does matter, and it can help couples learn about their options if they need help later in their marriage.

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There is also proof that some couples with some types of premarital training can lower their risks for marital distress. Situations will always arise in a marriage that is not foreseen at the time the wedding takes place. Problems with in-laws, money and sex are blamed as carrying the greatest thereat to marriage (Top Three Threats to Your Marriage, 2004). There appears to be a lack of research into the effect that premarital counseling has on marriages.

While there are studies indicating the value of counseling for couples who are already married and seeking help for current issues in the marriage there are many more studies assessing the couple’s levels of satisfaction with their marriage. The author of What works in premarital counseling, reports that review of current “articles on program modes and theories conclude that although more has been written and more programs offered in the last decade there still has been fewer longitudinal outcome studies done” (Groom, 47).

This is evident on the web site for the Council for Relationships http://www.councilforrelationships.org/research. On this website the Council gives a list of articles that they published none of which address the issues and benefits of premarital counseling. Thus the need for this study is evident. Not only is there a huge lack of empirical evidence to prove of couples actually do benefit from premarital counseling, there is also a greater need to develop and

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test a premarital counseling theory that can be used in future research. Williams, Riley and Vandyke (1999) conducted a general empirical research study on the values of premarital counseling. In their research they surveyed more than 3,000 who have been married anywhere from one to eight years. The research concluded that support for the overall value of premarital counseling is great, but they did not closed define that value.

One of the draw backs of not have enough research on this topic is that there are no specific data instruments designed specifically to access the value of premarital counseling, it is necessary for an data instrument to be designed in order to obtain reliable and valid data. This lack of prior research leaves open the accessibility of several choices on how the data for this research can be collected.

For a study that would be more extensive in investigation and take on longitudinal characteristic the pre-test/post-test design would be more suitable. This is not a longitudinal study and a better research approach would be a review of the end result. This would be a comparing of the strength of marriages of couples who had premarital counseling to those who did not by using the survey method.

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Sampling was done using the random approach. Data for this research was collect from 45 couples via survey. There were 15 couples married more than ten years who did not receive premarital counseling, 15 couples who are divorced which were a mix of couples who did and did not receive premarital counseling and 15 couples married more than ten years who did receive premarital counseling. The couples were contacted in mid October about the research paper and all were eager and willing to participate.

All of the original couples contacted were able to participate. The couples were give a questionnaire that consisted of two sections used to access relative background information and marital satisfaction. The first section contained demographic questions regarding their age, number of children, number of years married/divorced, number of children, and if they had received any premarital counseling.

The second section consisted of questions how satisfied or dissatisfied the couple was with their marriage, communication issues, conflict resolution, and decision making. For the second section of the questionnaire the questions were based on yes or no, number in order of importance and give a brief explanation.

Research has shown the relationships between some of these factors in the areas communication and conflict solving, communication and self esteem, role absorption and self esteem, and role absorption and communication. The hypothesis was proved because the couples who received premarital counseling prior o marriage were able to use tools that they learned in counseling to work through their issues, the couples who were still married with no premarital counseling answers showed that they really did not understand their partner and were probably stilled married because that was the way they were raised.

The couples who are now divorced, but received premarital counseling seemed to have benefited from premarital counseling but for one reason or another still decided to get a divorce. Based on the number of couples used among those who received counseling the divorce rate was low. The divorce rate for those who was on their first marriage with not premarital counseling the rate was about 25 percent.

Among the couples who received premarital counseling the rate was much lower. While there are many variables that could be assessed that would change the results the overall study supports the hypothesis that couples who receive premarital counseling are able to better deal with marital issues and do stay married longer. The only ethical issues that I could see arising from this study would be where and how the couple would decide to receive their counseling. Some could prefer counseling in a religious setting based on their background which could be more detailed or in a group setting with other couples and the depth of the counseling.

Works Cited

Carroll, J. S. & Doherty, W. J. (2003). Evaluating the effectiveness of premarital prevention programs: A meta-analytic review of outcome research. Family Relations, 52, 105-118

Groom, Joan (2001). What works in premarital counseling? Journal of Pastoral counseling, 36, p. 47.

Khulman, Greg.2007. Is pre marital counseling for you? Retrieved December 3, 2007 from http://www.wedalert.com/content/articles/premarital_counseling.asp

Top Three Threats to Your Marriage. (2007). DrPhil.com. Retrieved December 3, 2007 from http://www.drphil.com/.

Williams, Lee, Riley, Lisa, Van Dyke, David. (1999 July-September). An empirical approach to designing marriage preparation programs. American Journal of Family Therapy, 27(3), p 271

Stanley, S. M. (2001). Making a case for premarital education. Family Relations, 50, 272-280.


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