Marriage is perhaps the most complex and challenging of all human relationships. The joining of two people in a relationship which is intended to last a lifetime can involve great effort to develop and maintain.
There are many benefits for those who make the commitment to marriage and manage to maintain a successful relationship. Happily married couples tend to have better physical and emotional health, greater financial stability and increased wealth, more sexual satisfaction, and children that do better academically, relationally and emotionally than those of single or unhappily married couples (Waite & Gallagher, 2000; Antonovics & Town, 2004; Carlson, 2006).
However, getting married is still very risky since the divorce rate continues to be >40% for first marriages and higher for second and third marriages (around 60% for second marriages, and 73% for third marriages).
The number of people getting married is Australia is increasing again after a decline in 2013 and the number of cohabiting couples continues to increase. There were approximately 121 thousand marriages registered in Australia in 2014, an increase of 1.9% and approximately 46 thousand divorces. The median age at marriage for males has remained steady at 31.5, while the median age at marriage for females increased by 0.1 years to 29.7 years.
The divorce rates reveal that too often, couples are not equipped to deal with the challenges they face in marriage. A significant proportion of married couples are surprised to experience serious marital conflicts early in their relationship.
Quality premarital preparation, like PREPARE/ENRICH, can reduce the risk of divorce and increase relationship skills and satisfaction. In a survey of 3,334 couples, premarital education programs were found to reduce divorce by 31% (Stanley, Amato, Johnson, & Markman, 2006). Participants with premarital education had higher marital satisfaction, higher commitment, and lower marital conflict.
A meta-analysis of 13 studies of premarital programs by Carroll and Doherty (2003) found significant improvement in couples who received premarital education. In a systematic study of couples taking the PREPARE/ENRICH Program, improved their couple satisfaction and improved on 10 out of 13 areas of their relationship (Knutson & Olson, 2003).
For more details, go to www.prepare-enrich.com.au/research. Similar outcomes have also been found in other marriage education programs. In addition to experiencing improvement, participants report very high levels of satisfaction with these types of programs and indicate they would recommend them to other couples (Hawley and Olson, 1995).
PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.
For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich
- Antonovics, K. & Town, R., 2004; Are all the good men married? Uncovering the Sources of the Marital Wage Premium, University of California-San Diego and University of Minnesota.
- Carlson, M. J., 2006: Family Structure, Father Involvement. And Adolescent Bahavoural Outcomes, Journal of Marriage and Family, 68(1), 137-154.
- Carroll, J. S. and Doherty, W. J. 2003: Evaluating the effectiveness of premarital programs: A meta-analytic review of outcome research. Family Relations, 52, 105-118.
- Hawley, D. and Olson, D. H., 1995: Enriching newlyweds: An evaluation of three enrichment programs. American Journal of Family Therapy, 23, 2, 129-147.
- Knutson, L. & Olson, D. 2003: Effectiveness of PREPARE with premarital couples in community settings. Marriage and Family: A Christian Journal, 6(4) 529-546.
- Stanley, S.M., Amato, P. R., Johnson, C. A., & Markman, H. J. 2006: Premarital education, marital quality, and marital stability: Findings from a large, random household survey. Journal of Family Psychology, 20, 117-126.
- Waite L. J. & Gallagher, M. 2000; The Case for Marriage: Why married people are happier, healthier, and better off financially. New York. Doubleday.