If I could offer you an investment that would increase the likelihood of a good return by 30%, would you take it? You might say, “One would be a fool to not take the offer.” Are you ready for this? There must be a lot of foolish people. The greatest investment we can make is in our significant relationships—marriage for example. When couples decide to marry the focus is on the wedding. They make plans, order a cake & hall, create invitations, etc. What is usually at the bottom of the list, if at all, is to have relationship coaching. Why coaching? Coaching is something that will increase the likelihood that the relationship will be healthy and successful. A study was published in 2006 by Scott Stanley, P.R. Amato, and Howard Markham out of the University of Denver. They found that premarital education reduces the divorce rate of participants by thirty percent! (Stanley, S. M., Amato, P. R., Johnson, C. A., & Markman, H. J. (2006). Premarital education, marital quality, and marital stability: Findings from a large, random, household survey. Journal of Family Psychology, 20, 117-126.)
The wedding industry is huge. According to the Association of Wedding Professionals, couples spend $86 billion annually on weddings! The average wedding costs in 2012 was $28,427. Believe me, as a professional marriage coach and pastor, premarital coaching accounts for a minute fraction of that amount. The bulk of the resources go into the event called a wedding, rather than a life called a marriage. We spend thousands in preparation for a career but nearly nothing for marriage relationship preparation.
When couples come to me with marital problems I ask them, “Did you have thorough, professional premarital coaching?” Overwhelming the response is “No.” Unfortunately, many end up in divorce, the average of which costs $15,000 dollars. Doesn’t it make sense to prepare to succeed by utilizing premarital coaching?
What should I look for in a premarital coach or counselor?
- What is their educational background? Anyone can put out a shingle and call themselves a relationship coach and will little or no education.
- How long have they worked with couples?
- Get a good referral from a trusted friend.
- Find out if they belong to any professional associations.
- Do they utilize a professional relationship assessment like Prepare-Enrich?
- Do they offer a free initial consultation?
Having premarital coaching isn’t a guarantee that you will have a successful, lifetime relationship but it sure increases the odds that you will. Your relationship is worth the time and expense.
(To learn more about premarital coaching, please visit my website here.)