4 minute read

Marriage Preparation

Conclusion

Marriage preparation includes efforts of professionals and lay persons to help partners build skills and awareness for satisfying marriages. Although many couples find happiness and positive interaction without strong parental or professional training, evidence suggests that quality training would enhance interaction and adjustment for most couples. Only a few research-based approaches (e.g., PREP, RE, PREPARE) have been widely implemented and most offered by national organizations in the United States and Australia vary in focus and quality (Silliman and Schumm 2000). Thus providers and couples benefit from understanding these best practices: (1) Effective programs teach how to communicate, problem solve, and resolve conflict and help couples learn about and discuss money, sex, parenting, and other issues; (2) programs of twelve to thirty hours with trained providers, follow-up classes, research-based learning materials, and evaluation are best equipped to facilitate change with couples; and (3) families and community organizations such as churches, clubs, and schools can enhance the transition-to-marriage by early skill training and modeling as well as ongoing support.

The benefits of vital marriage to both individuals and society's health and well being commends the expansion of higher-quality marriage preparation programming, targeted to general and special audiences.


Bibliography

Bagarozzi, D. A., and Rauen, P. I. (1981). "Premarital Counseling: Appraisal and Status." American Journal of Family Therapy 9:13–27.

Berger, R., and Hannah, M. T., eds. (1999). Preventive Approaches in Couples' Therapy. Philadelphia: Brunner-Mazel.

Boisvert, A.; Ladouceau, R.; Bendry, M.; Freeston, M.; Turgeon, L.; Tardif, C.; Roussy, A.; and Loranger, M. (1992). "Perception of Marital Problems and Their Prevention by Quebec Young Adults." Journal of Genetic Psychology 156:33–44.

Busby, D. M.; Holman, T. B.; and Taniguchi, N. (2001). "RELATE: Relationship Evaluation of the Individual, Family, Cultural, and Couple Contexts." Family Relations 50(4):308–316.

Center for Marriage and Family. (1995). Marriage Preparation in the Catholic Church: Getting It Right. Omaha, NE: Author.

Dyer, P. M., and Dyer, G. H. (1999). "Marriage Enrichment: A.C.M.E-Style." In Preventive Approaches in Couples' Therapy, ed. R. Berger and M. T. Hannah. Philadelphia: Brunner/Mazel.

Foshee, V. A.; Bauman, K. E.; Arriaga, X. B.; Helms, R. W.; Koch, G. G.; and Fletcher-Linder, G. (1998). "An Evaluation of Safe Dates, an Adolescent Dating Violence Prevention Program." American Journal of Public Health 88(1):45–50.

Gottman, J. M. (1999). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Guerney, B. G., Jr., and Maxson, P. (1990). "Marital and Family Enrichment Research: A Decade Review and a Look Ahead." Journal of Marriage and the Family 52:1127–1135.

Hunt, R. A., and Hunt, J. A. (1999). "Caring Couples Network." In Preventive Approaches in Couples' Therapy, ed. R. Berger and M. T. Hannah. Philadelphia: Brunner-Mazel.

Larson, J.; Holman, T. B.; Klein, D. M.; Busby, D. M.; Stahmann, R. F.; and Peterson, D. (1995). A Review of Comprehensive Questionnaires Used in Premarital Education and Counseling. Family Relations 44:245–252.

Markman, H. J.; Floyd, F. J.; Stanley, S. M.; and Storaasli, R. D. (1988). "Prevention of Marital Distress: A Longitudinal Investigation." Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 56:210–217.

McManus, M. J. (1993). Marriage Savers. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Miller, S.; Wackman, D. B.; and Nunnally, E. W. (1983). "Couple Communication: Equipping Couples to Be Their Own Best Problem Solvers." Counseling Psychologist 11:73–77.

Novok, T., and Pulkrobkova, E. (1987). "The Programmed Discussion Groups in Premarital Counseling with the Minor Engaged Couples." Psychologia-a-Patosychologia Dietata 22(6):527–533.

Olson, D. H.; Fournier, D. G.; and Druckman, J. (1989). PREPARE, PREPARE-MC. ENRICH Inventories, 3d ed. Minneapolis, MN: Life Innovations

Ooms, T., ed. (1998). Toward More Perfect Unions: Putting Marriage on the Public Agenda. Washington, DC: Family Impact Seminar.

Parish, W. E. (1992). "A Quasi-Experimental Evaluation of the Premarital Assessment Program for Premarital Counseling." Australia-New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy 134:33–36.

Parrott, L., and Parrott, L. (1999). "Preparing Couples for Marriage: The SYMBIS Model." In Preventive Approaches in Couples' Therapy, ed. R. Berger and M. T. Hannah. Philadelphia: Brunner/Mazel.

Praetorius, H. G.; van Wyk, J. D.; and Schepers, J. M. (1992). "The Evaluation of a Marital Preparation Programme." South African Journal of Psychology 22(3):140–146.

Renick, M. J.; Blumberg, S.; and Markman, H. J. (1992). "The Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP): An Empirically-Based Preventive Intervention Program for Couples." Family Relations 41:141–147.

Russell, M., and Lyster, R. (1992). "Marriage Preparation: Factors Associated with Consumer Satisfaction." Family Relations 41(4):446–451.

Schumm, W. R., and Denton, W. (1979). "Trends in Pre-marital Counseling." Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 5(4):23–32.

Silliman, B., and Schumm, W. R. (2000). "Marriage Preparation Programs: Literature Review." Family Journal 8(2):128–137.

Stahmann, R. F., and Hiebert, W. J. (1997). Premarital and Remarital Counseling: The Professional's Handbook, 2d ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Stanley, S. M., and Markman, H. J. (1996). "Marriage in the 90s: A Nationwide Random Phone Survey." Denver, CO: Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program.

Stanley, S. M.; Markman, H. J.; Prado, L. M.; Olmos-Gallo, P. A.; Tonelli, L.; St. Peters, M.; Leber, B. D.; Bobulinski, M.; Cordova, A.; and Whitton, S. W. (2001). "Community-Based Premarital Preparation: Clergy and Lay Leaders on the Front Lines." Family Relations 50(1):67–76.

Williams, L., and Jurich, J. (1995). "Predicting Marital Success after Five Years: Assessing the Predictive Validity of FOCCUS." Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 21(2):141–153.


Other Resources

Commonwealth of Australia. (2002). Relate: Information on Relationships, Family, Love and Life. Available from http://www.relate.gov.au/.

Lord Chancellor's Department, The (UK). (1998). Marriage Support Services Directory. Available from http://www.lcd.gov.uk/family/marsup/famtxtfr.htm.

Oklahoma Marriage Initiative. A Strategic Plan to Honor Marriage and Reduce Divorce. (2001). Available from http://www.governor.state.ok.us/policy.htm.

BENJAMIN SILLIMAN

Additional topics

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