Is premarital counseling something that could help save a marriage from divorce before the vows are even said? The statistics say that this is possible, but the problem is that the only couples who typically seek out this counseling have a religious background or are actively practicing their religion. If there are lower divorce rates associated with premarital counseling, then why aren’t all couples stepping up to have a few conversations before the words “I do” are said
Statistics on Premarital Counseling
1. Couples who underwent counseling before their wedding had a 30% higher marital success rate than those who did not.
2. The median amount of time that a couple spent in premarital counseling before getting married: 8 hours.
3. 44% of couples who get married today agree to premarital counseling before they decide to take their wedding vows.
4. In the 1930’s and 1940’s, when divorce rates were traditionally lower than they are today, premarital counseling occurred only 7% of the time.
5. A happy marriage is one of the most important life objectives for 93% of Americans.
6. About 40% of married people report that they are happy with their lives, compared to just 18% of people who are divorced.
7. More than 1 million children are involved in divorce proceedings every year and this increases their chances of growing up in poverty.
8. A new single-parent family with children can cost the government $20,000 to $30,000 a year in subsidies and social service assistance.
9. 75% of weddings occur in a religious setting, making it the perfect opportunity to conduct a day of premarital counseling before the event.
10. Many churches do not require premarital counseling to occur for a wedding to be performed.
11. Children who come from married families are more likely to get a college education.
12. The percentage of children who have behavioral problems in a married home: 10%.
13. The average wedding will cost $12,000-15,000. Premarital counseling costs 1-2% of this amount.
14. When remarriages are considered, the amount of couples that get counseling is barely above 1%.
15. 88% of people say that they get married because of love. Only 2% say that love in a marriage is unimportant.
16. The percentage of people who want to get married because having children is a very important reason to them: 49%.
17. The share of Americans who are married today is at its lowest point since at least 1920. Only 50.5% of Americans are currently married.
18. 7 out of 10 people say that they are in a committed relationship.
19. The lowest marriage rate in the country is in New Jersey, where just 4.8 people per 1,000 are married.
20. In 2011, there were 36.9 new marriages per 1,000 population in Nevada, about as many as the next three states. About 18 per 1,000 will end in divorce.
The problem is this: religion. Because there are so many couples who are active in their religion, the simple act of getting counseling can’t be excluded from the other factors. Times in a marriage get tough for everyone. Do couples that put their deity or congregation first have more resources to rely upon that can help them save their marriage when compared to non-religious couples? There just isn’t enough factual data out there right now to say that it should or should not be done.
What is for certain is that premarital counseling does not hurt the chances of a marriage being successful. There isn’t any documented increase of risk that comes with counseling when compared to divorce. That means the thought process is rather simple. If there’s nothing to lose, but everything to gain, then why not invest a few bucks out of your marriage budget to have some premarital counseling?
There might be some other benefits to consider as well. Take a look at these statistics on premarital counseling and see for yourself is there is a link between lower divorce rates and this small, but potentially important investment.Premarital counseling might not have any benefit. It could be a waste of money, it is true. What if you could get that counseling for free?
That’s the question that many are starting to ask. It doesn’t have to be a religious institution who is providing the counseling either. Many organizations are looking at the benefits of encouraging counseling before vows are taken because it actually lowers overall personal costs and improves local economies. How does premarital counseling lower personal costs? Because issues are brought out during counseling that might not otherwise be shared. It can make things better… but it can also make things worse.
What is a bit ironic about premarital counseling is that it can hurt just as much as it can help. Some couples don’t survive counseling because issues get brought up or perspectives are shared that just don’t mesh with someone’s idea of marriage. This potentially lowers the divorce rate because it eliminates the relationship before a marriage actually happens. The same could be said about cohabiting before marriage as well. Since 4 out of 10 cohabiting relationships break up before getting married, a rate that is similar to divorce anyway, the overall success rates of marriage have a bit of a boost in statistics like these.
If you’re thinking about getting married, then the statistics point to premarital counseling as well. Many people are marrying for love, so it is important to find out if that love will last. You don’t have to be religious or have faith – after all, more Baptists get divorced than atheists do. You just need to take a few moments, about the same amount of time that you’d invest into a full day at work, and in return you might improve your chances of staying happily married for life. Isn’t that worth the small investment?