They Lived Happily Ever After
Divorce-proofing your marriage
The Elephant In The Living Room
The elephant in the living room of premarital counseling is, “Can counseling lead to the breaking off of an engagement?” Landrum says it certainly can. “One of my clients recently called off his wedding because he knew he wasn’t willing to do the work necessary to address the issues that had emerged during our sessions.” The possibility of running into engagement-busting concerns is one reason why Wylie says couples should start premarital counseling at least six months before their wedding date. “If you wait until you’re too close, it’s like dealing with a freight train that has built up so much momentum it can’t be stopped. By then, people feel compelled to marry rather than lose face.”
Whatever perils counseling might pose, Herrero says the good news is that engagements seldom fall apart because of it. “There’s always a risk that a couple will discover they’re not compatible. However, it’s really rare for an incompatibility to surface that cannot be worked through. I can only think of two couples out of over 500 that I have counseled that decided their marriage would be an unwise choice.”
What’s More Important-The Wedding or The Marriage?
“Success in marriage—like career, children, and all good things in life—requires work,” says Michelle Gannon. “You have to keep working at it. Conflict is inevitable; how you deal with it is what’s important.
Her husband Patrick laments that “for many people, their wedding is the highlight of their marriage. Then it’s downhill from there. They should be looking at their wedding as the foundation, not the finished structure.”
The experts all agree that if couples put as much effort into preparing for their marriage as they put into selecting a reception site, table linens and flowers, they’d be much more likely to live happily ever after. The Big Day is just that—a big day. If you really want to nurture and sustain your marriage over the long term, developing solid relationship skills is the most important investment you can make.