Many people think that premarital counseling is for couples who are having problems in their relationship. However, with more than 40 percent of marriages ending in divorce, early intervention can help patch up squabbles before they become brawls. Taking advance preventive measures can provide a much better chance for a long-term healthy relationship and a stable marriage.

Conflict Resolution Skills

No two people are going to agree with one another 100 percent of the time, and that’s perfectly normal. However, learning how to avoid communication meltdowns is usually a skill that doesn’t come naturally. Whether you give one another the silent treatment, or strap on combat boots for an explosive encounter, hurt feelings and resentment can chip away at a union and turn “I do’s” into “Not in this lifetime” before making it to the altar.

Prevent Financial Discord

One of the biggest reasons couples fight with one another is over finances. Dave Ramsey, founder of the Financial Peace University, advises couples to talk openly and honestly about money before getting married. “Put all of the debt on the table, with all the cards facing up,” he writes on his blog. The object is to come clean – no secrets! “When you do that, you’ll also learn a lot about that person’s habits, whether they are a spender or a saver and those kinds of things.”

Handle Blended Family Issues

In today’s society, blended families have become the norm as divorced or widowed individuals remarry and form new, blended families with children from previous relationships. The new family dynamics face complex hurdles as they navigate around different beliefs, customs, and age differences, while learning how to accept a new stepparent. However, a blended family can still be made cohesive by strengthening its foundation with a bond of trust – and therapy.

Manage Expectations

Many couples assume they know who will be doing what in the marriage, but surprisingly, they don’t actually talk about it out loud with one another. These assumptions could be something as mundane as who will take out the trash, to preconceived notions about a parent staying home to raise the kids. It’s important for couples to have open and honest discussions about their future plans and goals so there will be fewer surprises down the road.

Wedding Preparations

Planning a wedding can be intense and emotionally draining. Not only do unwelcome guests show up, but so do crazy, unpredictable feelings. This may lead to appearances from a bridezilla or groomzilla (yes, guys also do this), while other times family members contribute to the insanity. Working on a plan together and staying the course can go a long way toward keeping harmony in the relationship.

Live Happily Ever After

A recent study provided by the Brigham Young University in Utah found that couples who don’t argue are healthier and live longer than couples who live in conflict. The results of the study showed that the more couples argued, the worse their overall health became as an indirect result. While this may seem unrealistic, it’s definitely not impossible. Couples who live in harmony live healthier lifestyles while supporting each other during stressful times.

Just know that the benefits of premarital counseling can last a lifetime. Before walking down the aisle, talk to a qualified mental health counselor or therapist and discover how it really is possible to “live happily ever after.”

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