It's funny how friends tend to marry in groups. For example, we got married within four months of three of our closest friends.
The scary thing is, I know three couples in my age range (all married a couple years ago) who are already getting divorced.
Honestly, I didn't even see it coming.
I suppose it makes sense, given the alarmingly high divorce rate. Statistically speaking, four out of every ten couples will split. But still, that's a hard number to stomach.
I started thinking about proactive ways to fortify relationships against divorce. I found this article from The Washington Post which addressed the growing trend of premarital counseling. While people who get married within the Roman Catholic Church are apparently required to attend such counseling, other couples are opting for it, too.
I wish Matt and I had found a good premarital class while we were engaged. We did start working through a book together along those lines, but it became increasingly difficult to make time for our weekly session. How sad is that? Our wedding planning took precedence over our relationship work. Ugh.
One of the first things many premarital therapists do is to explode persistent myths that help sabotage marriages: that love is the most important predictor of marital happiness; that shared interests are a bulwark against divorce; and that true soul mates don't fight.
All are false, researchers have found.
"That's why people feel so set up," said Diane Sollee, founder of Smart Marriages, a marriage education clearinghouse based in the District. She notes that psychologists have found that all couples disagree about the same amount -- it's the way they manage conflict that distinguishes satisfied partners from miserable ones.
But of course it's not too late. Matt and I are both interested in attending a couples workshop. There's one by The Gottman Institute, entitled: The Art & Science of Love.
Here's an excerpt from their website:
During this weekend workshop, you will gain new insights and learn research-based relationship skills that can dramatically improve the intimacy and friendship in your relationship. If you have a strong relationship, this workshop will provide you with the insights and tools to make it a great one. If your relationship is distressed, then this two-day workshop will provide a road map for repair!Has anyone else had good experiences with a similar workshop? I'd love to hear about it.