Premarital couples therapy can be a vital part of marital health and satisfaction, but often times is underutilized. There is a common misconception and stigma associated with couples therapy that the relationship needs to be in distress in order to warrant couples therapy. However, premarital and preventative couples therapy has been shown to increase positive marital outcomes and marital satisfaction. Research shows that couples that engage in premarital therapy may reduce their chances of divorce by as much as 30%.
One helpful tool in the assessment and treatment planning for premarital couples is the Prepare-Enrich Assessment. The Prepare-Enrich Assessment assesses nine core scales of marital satisfaction: Communication, Conflict Resolution, Partner Styles & Habits, Financial Management, Leisure Activities, Sexual Expectations, Family & Friends, Relationship Roles, and Spiritual Beliefs. The results of the assessment will tell each couple what of these scales are “strengths” in which couples are displaying compatible beliefs, and which are “growth areas” in which couples are not displaying similar agreement and may need to discuss the compromise on these expectations. The Prepare-Enrich Assessment also provides some feedback on relationship dynamics, individual personality scales, and family and couple mapping. The Prepare-Enrich program then provides the couple with exercises to meet the specific needs identified in the assessment.
If you are interested in participating in premarital therapy, or would like to learn more about the Prepare-Enrich Assessment, you can go to prepare-enrich.com or contact the Anxiety and Stress Center.
Ellen Spiese, LMFT