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Marriage Preparation

Other Factors Influencing Marriage Preparation Success

Although research is beginning to reveal programs with promising potential, much remains to be done. Couples at high risk for distress, including those with personality disorders, individual or family problems with sex, violence, depression, and high-stress environments probably require more or different training than the well-adjusted middle-class volunteers in evaluation studies. Likewise, couples who cohabit and those who remarry are at higher risk for divorce and face issues—such as marital adjustment and parenting—not typical of first marriages. Programming and support targeted to high-risk partners is needed. In addition, relatively little is known about how couples sustain a legacy of positive adjustment in stressful conditions or reverse cycles of abuse and discord. Understanding the role of individual and couple resiliency in the learning and application of training could also improve marriage preparation program effectiveness.

Application of skill training and overall couple adjustment no doubt varies according to the attitudes, behavior norms, and support in a couple's family and community. Community marriage policies adopted by many religious and community groups encourage broader support for couples to stay together, avoid violence, and develop support and enrichment networks via mass-media campaigns to build awareness of marital strengths and resources (McManus 1993). Public and organizational policy initiatives aim to reduce domestic violence and encourage healthy marriages. In addition, employers and community organizations can commit to reducing demands that stress families, promoting fidelity and respect for marriage, supporting couples in crisis, and providing opportunities for continued learning. Educational providers, such as churches and schools, can commit to teaching interpersonal and problem-solving skills to children and teenagers, and to requiring premarital training for couples. Such steps toward reinforcing skills and social support could make a great difference for couples, but they remain largely unused and untested.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaFamily & Marriage TraditionsMarriage Preparation - Historical Context, Components Of Successful Programs, Sample Programs, Other Factors Influencing Marriage Preparation Success