Ready for Marriage

90% of Americans marry but out of those, 50% end in divorce. In fact, the average marriage in California lasts 7 years. 75% of those who end in divorce remarry, but 65% of those marriages also end in divorce. The best way to ensure you beat the odds and enjoy a long marriage is to explore all potential issues and build communication skills together, before you marry. Pre-marital counseling can help you plan and build a successful marriage.

Happily married couples are skillful at sharing dreams, handling conflict, nurturing love, and repairing damage to the relationship. For a successful marriage, both partners must have skills to manage inevitable conflicts, express admiration and appreciation, accept influence from the other person, and nurture love and romance. Each partner must have realistic expectations of each other and understand how to best interact to keep love coming back.

When Should You Seek Pre-Marital Counseling?

  1. You are young and have never been married. Both partners need to discuss mutual expectations, cultural and religious differences, and feelings about children before marriage.
  2. When you have been engaged or have been planning to marry for far too long. If it has been longer than nine years, it is time to understand what’s going on.
  3. If one partner is “commitment-phobic.” Find out what lies at the root of the fear, so you are able to move forward in the relationship or move on.
  4. When significant issues cannot be resolved. The number one predictor of divorce is the habitual avoidance of conflict. Learn how to address differences before tying the knot.
  5. When you have failed at a marriage and want to try again. Every happy, successful couple has as many as 10 areas of “irreconcilable differences,” but they learn to accept and respect them as part of their relationship.

What Can You Do Right Now?

  • Don’t believe “marriage myths.” Studies show popular myths as untrue.
  • Educate yourself about how healthy relationships work.
  • Examine differences in “family of origin.” Ask about your partner’s belief systems with respect to money, sexuality, and religion.
  • Remember love is a verb. Make an ongoing effort to nurture your love for your partner.

Therapy is a great space to discuss marriage and relationships. Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are relationship experts. They work with individuals and couples to provide support and perspective as patients deal with life’s challenges. MFTs are psychotherapists licensed by the State of California, who are uniquely trained and credentialed to assess, diagnose, and treat a wide range of issues so individuals achieve more adequate satisfying and productive relationships and social adjustment. To find a qualified therapist, visit CounselingCalifornia.com’s interactive directory.

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Featured Therapist 

Reid M. Harper, M.A.

Reid M. Harper, M.A.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Santa Rosa, CA

My training and experience has allowed me to help individuals and couples by providing effective treatment for their relationship challenges. My additional training as a CSRT allows me to help individuals and their partners who are struggling with the specific challenges created from a sex or porn addiction.


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