For most people, they will contemplate marriage counselling when their relationship is in trouble. Recently, there has been a push for couples to attend pre-marriage counselling to make sure that they are making the right decision. The reality is that over 50% of marriages end in divorce and a big chunk of the remaining 50% of intact marriages are not happy ones.
In the past, if you were wanting to get married in a church, you will have attended a pre-marriage course and from all accounts they are extremely helpful. You will learn about each other’s background and attitude towards marriage and understand the true meaning of it. Unfortunately, most of these courses are very short and don’t allow couples to go into their issues in any depth.
Today, more and more relationship counsellors in private practice are providing pre-marriage counselling services. Essentially it is very similar to marriage counselling and couples learn the art of successfully resolving issues with each other before they become a problem. Studies suggest that 75% of marriages break-up because of communication issues. You would think that entering a relationship, you would want to get this right.
The reality is that most people enter a relationship completely un-prepared and most of these underlying issues have never really been spoken about. For most people, they have never really been taught these basic communication skills in their lives. Most families don’t teach them and it definitely doesn’t happen at school. The relationship counsellors office is one of the few places where you can learn these valuable skills. I guess you can view it as like taking out an insurance policy on your marriage.
Our Prime Minister Tony Abbott understands the importance of teaching couples these skills. He has committed $20M towards a 12-month trial program providing newly web couples with access to relationship counselling services. Access to the funding is available from non-for profit providers such as Centracare and Relationships Australia.
Prevention is usually better than treatment and we really need to change our attitude towards relationships and relationship counselling. If you do the work before entering a marriage then you will be less likely to seek help later on in the marriage. Often when people seek help from a psychologist, there is usually a long-history of pain and suffering, which takes time to successfully resolve.
The average relationship counsellor or psychologist will charge $150-$180/ session and 4-6 sessions will be required. Check with your private health provider, you may be able to claim for the sessions as well. If you consider the costs of divorce, this really is a cheap price to pay. Some people worry that they may risk the marriage ending or not going ahead if they are to attend marriage counselling. If the relationship does end, think of this as a blessing in disguise because it is better that it ends now than 10 years down the track with children and joint finances to settle.