Many couples walk to the chuppah without much thought for how they will manage their relationship once they get married. After all the worries about how many guests to invite to the wedding, which photographer to hire and where to live, they don’t have much time to think about the future. And if they do think about what happens next, they may assume that if things don’t work out, there’s always therapy.
Here’s the problem with that mindset: While therapy can sometimes be helpful for a couple in distress, it’s often too late to help a marriage when the situation is dire. Therapy is usually pursued only when the relationship problems are extremely serious, such as affairs, aggression, mental health, pornography or substance abuse. When the problems are so severe, it’s pretty hard to change entrenchednegative patterns and feelings.
Another problem with relying on therapy is that when push comes to shove, too many couples decide not to seek help. They don’t believe it will help, they are afraid it will make the situation worse or they want to keep their private lives private. They may not want the stigma of being dysfunctional or “having problems” and they may be put off by the cost of therapy.
Therapy focuses on trying to solve specific issues, but marriage education is much more general. It teaches communication and problem-solving skills, so that the couple can resolve their own problems. When couples learn these skills early on, they will most likely avoid the more serious issues that require therapy.
In a marriage education workshop, couples do not have to discuss their personal issues and conflicts with anyone else. The facilitator speaks to a number of couples at once, and each couple can discuss how the advice is relevant to them in the privacy of their own home.
There’s no stigma related to going to marriage education classes, especially at the beginning of a relationship, while engaged or newly married. Because relationship workshops are held in groups, they are also less expensive and easier to commit to. A couple with more serious issues may realize through marriage education that they should seek therapy.
Marital therapy is an important tool for marriages which have reached an impasse but it is not the right solution for strengthening marriages across the board. That can only be done with marriage education for all young couples.
Click here to find out more about Together in Happiness marriage education workshops.