Dear Grandparenting: What is one to think when the person you’re about to marry hauls you into therapy? Is that a great way to kill the romance or what? Meeting with a person who is paid good money to find differences between two people? Why go looking for trouble?
Now you know what my granddaughter is about to go through. Her husband-to-be wants them to go and see a premarital counselor before they tie the knot. She says he has his reasons because it will be his second marriage. He never wants to talk about his first.
Marriage is a gamble. Who can predict the future? People change, so who knows? I say if it’s good enough for you now, then go for it. Hopefully you can change together, maybe even for the better. For my two cents worth, doing business with this professional troublemaker is playing with fire! Rabbit, Quincy, Pennsylvania
Dear Rabbit: Marriage is certainly a gamble. And love is blind. Although we have no working knowledge of premarital counseling, there’s no escaping the modern plague of marital stress, separation and divorce — outcomes often ruinous for children and grandchildren.
Do we think a skilled counselor can see things the two lovers cannot or will not? Yes. Do we think premarital counseling has the potential to create problems? Yes, but by exposing underlying areas of future conflict, it allows participants to resolve them before they become cancerous. Too many rush down the highway of love with blinders on, altar bound or bust. A good premarital counselor will inject a dose of realism.
Grandchildren need to enter into marriage with their eyes wide open. All couples have conflicts. It’s how they’re dealt with that separates winners and losers. Improved communication and conflict resolution skills can help couples avoid the negative coping styles that are toxic for healthy relationships — criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling.
According to a survey published in the Journal of Family Psychology, couples who went through premarital counseling report higher levels of marital satisfaction and a lower likelihood of divorce. Premarital counseling may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the benefits seem to outweigh the disclaimers.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
W.W. Smith from Everett, washington, is happily retired. When people ask what he’s doing, “I tell them I just got a big promotion. I am now a grandparent.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD 21285. Call 410-963-4426.