Most people have heard the discouraging statistic that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. What most people probably don’t know is that 60% of all SECOND marriages also end in divorce. Even worse, over 70% (yes, you read that correctly) of THIRD marriages will also fail. A little disheartening to think about for most people, especially those who may be newly separated and hope to one day be in a marriage or relationship that is better, healthier, and more functional than the one before. Has this just become wishful thinking?
Umm…NO. These statistics do not have to be your statistic.
Research tells us that couples today value marriage as an important part of their lives. They still see it as something special, important, and something that they want. Why then, is our world not encouraging the couples of today to treat it and protect it as the precious gem that it is?
Fact: Premarital counseling can actually decrease your chances of divorce by 30%!
It fascinates me how some people will put in a lot of hard research and preparation when they make a big decision in their life- such as buying a car or house, or even choosing a pet- but slim to no real preparation for their marriage (unless, of course, it is a requirement by a church or parent/s). We spend countless hours reading books before the baby is born so we feel able to be a good parent and adequately care for this little person. But how often do we prepare ourselves for our spouse and for the new relationship we are expected to happily settle into after the wedding bells have stopped ringing?
The “Re-marrieds” (as I call them) have an entirely different and unique set of needs than those who may be getting married for the first time. There may be different factors at play this time such as children, co-parenting or step-parenting, communication issues (with the ex or with your current partner), how much your parents and upbringing really do affect your adult relationships, or simply recognizing the baggage of your past and wanting to actually deal with it. The list goes on!
Just because you went through a marriage once does not mean you have learned what it will take for the second to work (though you may have a clearer idea of what doesn't work). Being with a completely different person cultivates a completely different set of needs, strengths, and growth areas.
Most couples I work with who have engaged in premarital counseling are so glad that they did. Knowing that they invested time, money, and intentional effort into their relationship leaves them feeling more realistic and confident about their relationship. They gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their partner, and that is a gift money really can't buy.
My hope is that you give your relationship the gift of a strong foundation toward success. And remember: