In the 2007 film, The Heartbreak Kid, Ben Stiller portrays a newlywed who married his dream girl–or so he thought. After dating this woman for a short time, and marrying her to keep her from moving across the ocean, his sweetie becomes someone he can’t stand to be around and subsequently divorces. I recently saw this movie again for the umpteenth time, and it made me wonder, how often does this happen in real life?
Divorce rates are quickly rising in the U.S making therapists busier than ever. There are many factors contributing to this trend, including infidelity, financial stress, communication problems, or perhaps we just aren’t getting to know our potential mates as well as we should before getting down on one knee. This is where pre-marriage counseling can be extremely beneficial. Couples counselors are trained to ask the important questions that many couples never think to ask each other, such as:
- How will we handle our finances?
- What are our plans for a family?
- What is our parenting philosophy?
- Will both partners be expected to work full time?
- If different religions, what religion (if any) will we raise our children?
- What role do we see our parents having in our lives?
John Gottman’s, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, is a book that I highly recommend all couples read before tying the knot. It is a great summary of the fundamentals of a successful, healthy marriage and will help you gauge if you are truly ready for the next step.
These days, divorce is easier to obtain with divorce lawyers on every corner, and couples giving up on their relationship too soon. It is important not to forgot that the traditional vow of “til death” is still recited in weddings across the world. Make sure you ready, willing, and able for a long term commitment before walking down the aisle.