3 Reasons Why Premarital Counseling Is Now Essential For Every Couple

Updated: Mar 22

By: Logan Cohen, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Approved Supervisor for American Association of Marriage & Family Therapy, Founder of New Leaf Counseling Group - Charlotte, NC

premarital counseling
Premarital counseling is now essential for every couple, unless you want to get stuck in these common pitfalls. New Leaf Counseling Group has a diverse counselor and therapist team to provide premarital counseling for couples in Charlotte, NC.

My name is Logan Cohen. I am a North Carolina Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), as well as an Approved Supervisor for the American Association of Marriage & Family Therapy (AAMFT).

I am a full-time private practitioner, where I predominantly work with relationships, individuals struggling with relationship issues, as well as maintain several supervisees who have their own caseloads of couples and families.

In short, I essentially work with relationships most of every day and have been seeing some troubling trends in the American Marriage. These are trends that can be reversed by engaging in Premarital Counseling and in this article, I will describe the three main reasons why Premarital Counseling is now essential for every couple.

The American Marriage is sick in epidemic proportions. In the 1960s, the average divorce rate was less than 10% (actually a rather delicate 8.5% to be exact). By the 1980s, the divorce rate ballooned to around 50%, where it has consistently hovered for the last 30 to 40 years.

Generationally, this means there are more adults who were forced to face divorce in their family of origin today than at any other time in our nation’s history. And in turn, those adults are now faced with the predicament of finding suitable long-term partners for marriage and preparing to start their own families successfully.

#1 Reason Why Premarital Counseling Is Now Essential For Every Couple

The divorce rate has hovered around 50% for the last 30-40 years - and is not going down.

Divorce rates have been hovering around the all-time high of roughly 50% for the last 30-40 years because our culture as we know it today (and since at least the 1980s) socializes us as Men and Women to be unsuccessful in our marriages and intimate relationships.

This is unfortunately an issue that has reached the proportion and scale that it appears to become a self-reinforcing cycle. After reading this, it is probably not a surprise to you that children who experienced divorce in their families are 35-60% more likely to get divorced as adults.

A pivotal figure in family therapy named Murray Bowen spoke to inter-generational family patterns through a process of “differentiation”.

He found that many interpersonal and relational family traits (from divorce, to addiction, to suicide) seem to be passed down from one generation to the next through the family’s process of relating to its own members.

This means that if we do not have safe and structured spaces within our families to grow up and overtly learn from the previous generations’ mistakes, we are at an even higher risk of repeating them in our own lives.

Do you see where I’m going here? This is quite a pickle! Oh and it gets even better…

#2 Reason Why Premarital Counseling Is Now Essential For Every Couple

We do not have good examples of what a healthy and cohesive partnership looks like.

Roughly half of the adults in modern society who are preparing for marriage did NOT get to see their parents successfully maintain a marriage through thick and thin, then observe and learn from those healthy relationship dynamics that are developed when couples lean into hard times and work through them together.

This means that the current generation is more at risk for relationship and marriage failure than any previous generation, purely due to generational patterns, observational learning, and modeling from their parents.

Oftentimes clients are initially surprised when we begin digging into the issues and commonly find obvious remnants of their parents’ ways of doing things with each other.

These habits of our parents don’t have to be fun, feel good, make rational sense, and might even fall into the category of things we used to tell ourselves we, “would NEVER do like our parents,” but alas, what other sacred model is there??

Whether we like it or not, we can only do the best with what we know and unfortunately, our “best” stopped getting participatory trophies in tee-ball a long time ago (well most of us anyways).

A team of researchers and therapists in the 1980s became interested in extending an old school of individual therapy called psychodynamic theory into the realm of couples therapy, which they called called Object Relations Theory.

These researchers found evidence that not only do individuals subconsciously behave in many ways similar to their parents, but that there is a very dynamic subconscious infrastructure established that KEEPS partners behaving in these ways with each other.