When I first started here at Auburn University I wrote a blog about long distance relationships – I had just moved 7 hours away from my boyfriend and it was tough. In my blog I busted some typical myths and beliefs about long distance relationships and offered tips to keep your relationship strong despite the distance. Well, guess what? Two and a half years later we are not only living together, but are just a little over a month away from our wedding!
We’ve checked off a lot of things on our “wedding to-do” list and have finally hit the point of applying for our marriage license. When we were reading all of the rules and regulations for filling out your application, one thing stood out to me – a premarital prep course. It’s not required in the state of Florida (that is where we are getting married) and, in all honesty, my first thought was “I teach and study this stuff, so do we really need to do something like this?” After reading a little bit more about our different options, I figured, “Why not? It’s time to practice what I preach!” and that night we signed ourselves up for an online course.
There are many benefits of premarital education. One of the perks, in my opinion, is the quality time you get to spend with your partner and learning more about their beliefs and expectations about your relationship. These programs typically cover a lot of valuable material and provide you with skills and tools to help couples communicate effectively and have a happy, healthy relationship. Also, research shows that couples who have participated in premarital education report higher relationship satisfaction, more commitment, less conflict, and more effective communication and conflict management skills compared to individuals who did not participate in premarital education – sounds like an easy choice to me!
We’re still working through our program, but so far it has been a blast. I’ll make sure to keep everyone posted on how things are going with us, but in the meantime keep your eyes and ears peeled for our upcoming classes that are offered all around the state of Alabama! In fact, we have a listserv that will inform you of the classes in the Lee county area. Check it out here: http://www.alabamamarriage.org/find-class.php.
Carroll, J.S., & Doherty, W.J. (2003). Evaluating the effectiveness of premarital prevention programs: A meta-analytic review of outcome research. Family Relations, 52, 105-118.
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. doi: 10.1037/0893-3126.96.36.199.