It’s a hazard of the profession. Whenever I tell people I am a marriage educator, I get asked for my tips for a good marriage. Lots of possible answers run through my mind, but in the end, I always say the same thing: “My #1 tip for husbands and wives is to invest in marriage education.”
Divorce has become an epidemic in our society, so much so that many couples standing under the chuppah are unsure whether they will still be together a few years down the line. But research clearly shows that the best way to prevent divorce is to learn communication tools before or shortly into marriage.
A 2014 study compared couples who had invested in marriage preparation education with those who had not. Of those who had some form of preparation, 55% reported high quality marriages. Of those who went in blindly, only a third could say their marriages were healthy.
Marriage education can take different forms, but a good workshop or course will teach these skills:
- Tools to communicate well and to talk without fighting
- How to nurture the positives in your relationship
- How to avoid the danger signs which derail a relationship.
- Discovering how to productively listen and problem-solve
Benefits of marriage education include improved couple communication, better conflict management skills, higher dedication to one’s spouse and greater emphasis on the positive aspects of the relationship. Marriage education encourages open and honest discussion about expectations for marriage, roles and responsibilities, leading to a better understanding of how personality and family history affect the relationship and improved relationship quality.
So, if you’re thinking of getting married, have just gotten married or are still in the first few years of marriage and want to prevent divorce, I recommend learning as much as you can about marriage and relationships. When you improve your communication skills, you grow as an individual and you empower yourself and your spouse to enjoy a happy and healthy life together.