Marriage Counseling Before the Big Day - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/18/03

Marriage Counseling Before the Big Day

As college students complete one phase of their life, often times, the next journey includes marriage. Researchers at Texas Tech have created a premarital education study that they hope will help couples get to know each other better -- before taking that next step.

"The study is a trial of three different types of premarital education programs. We're trying to find out what is the most effective way of helping couples understand the nuances of marriage and the problems that people might get into in marriage, and stopping them before they may actually make a decision to get married," said Steve Harris, the Associate Dean of the College of Human Sciences.

Harris also says that the study gives couples a chance to talk about issues they may not have addressed before.

"Questions like: 'Who's going to be making the money? How are we going to negotiate different careers? How are we going to deal with in-laws? What does our sexual relationship look like? What about children? Are we going to have children?' A lot of times with people that are dating, they don't think about these, they are in that moment, and they feel like they are in love and don't really think about the logistics of what a marriage will take on over time," Harris said.

Megan and Logan have been together for four years. They'd talked about marriage and thought the study might benefit their future.

"It brought certain things that we hadn't talked about out, especially like how different people argue. We found, that for the most part, we were along the same lines," Logan George said.

"The depth of the financial issues, like how many credit cards you're paying, or if you want to save money or put money away. You know we hadn't really discussed that. How many children you're going to have. How you are going to raise them, how to discipline them," Megan Butcher said.

Issues Megan and Logan had touched on, but they never discussed thoroughly. Now, they've completed the study and gotten engaged, feeling confident their relationship is on the right track.

"The more you talk about the issues that you know are going to come up in your marriage, the less likely you are to run into some really hard times when you are married," George said.

"I think it's definitely brought us closer. It hasn't really been emotional, I guess there were a few issues that came up that we were surprised what the other one thought, so it was a little emotional," Butcher said.

"It was very useful for us, and I think if you want to get to know somebody better and you want to make sure they are the right person for you, I think it's a good program to look into," George said.

The study lasts six months, couples are divided into three groups at random, so it could include a series of compatibility tests, counseling, or discussion of a relationship booklet.

The idea is to stop wrong marriages before they start, but many couples leave with a stronger relationship.

If you're interested in participating, you can call (806) 786-2103. They still need about 25 couples to complete the study.

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