I read with interest that a new proposal by a State Senator of Central Florida was put forward to require couples to read a marriage guide before tying the knot. (ABC Action News Nov 6, 2019). The guide, called the “Florida Guide to a Healthy Marriage” will cover topic like communication skills, parenting, conflict management, financial issues, and domestic violence. Couples who want to get married would be required to read the guide, or some other presentation that contains similar information, And sign an affidavit under oath saying they’ve read it before a judge or clerk of court could issue them a marriage license.
I thought this was a step in the right direction to combat the rising rate of divorce in any state or country. However, I feel that it does not go far enough and therefore will not be effective.
The topics that the guide will cover are very important and an awareness of them will not be enough to help the couples start right. It will be no different if the couple simply attended a marriage seminar. They need to discuss each and every aspect of their marriage, facilitated by a trained personnel.
Every marriage is a cross cultural union, even if both the couple are of the same race and ethnicity. This is so because each of them come from different family backgrounds with their unique family cultures. Our family culture has a strong influence in our lives, like it or not, and couples have a tendency to import them into the new family. This will result in conflict if not managed well. What couples need to do instead is to create a Third Culture.
The common goal of marriage is happiness but every couple has their own idea of what happiness looks like and how it can be achieved. Talking about their Marriage Expectations early will help couples avoid disappointments later. The facilitator will also be able to help couples have more realistic expectations.
Couples also need to talk about their Marriage Roles going forward. Will they be a dual-earner family? They will also need to discuss very practical and mundane stuff like how will housework be shared between them. (Housework has been known to be a great source of marital conflict.)
A trained facilitator will also help the couple learn what money means to them. Is it a source of security or status? Does having more money enable one to spend more or to give more? The facilitator will also help the couple plan their Financial Goals and create a monthly budget .
Needless to say, most couples look expect a Personality Profile test to be part of the Marriage Preparation Programme. They hope to find out if they are compatible with each other. A Personality Profile test does more than just indicate your compatibility with one another. A trained facilitator will help the couple understand their similarities s and differences and how they can combine their strengths to work as a team.
A comprehensive Marriage Preparation Programme should also cover topics like Leisure, Parenting, Partner Styles and Habits, Faith and Beliefs.
All the above aspects are covered comprehensively when I help couples wanting to get married Start Right. Contact me if you would like me to participate in this programme