Marriage is more than just a union of two people who love each other. In many ways it is also a business contract, and it’s vital for each party to know what to expect before entering into such a contract. For this reason, there are premarital education courses that exist to essentially teach people how to be good spouses. Many of these courses are available through community programs, nonprofit organizations, religious communities, and mental health treatment facilities.
Premarital education courses cover a wide range of topics, including:
- The majority of arguments between married couples revolve around money. Premarital financial classes can help you start strong with a shared bank account, help you manage bills with your spouse, and offer guidance for saving and planning for the future and retirement.
- Some people love each other but don’t really know how to talk to each other. Some people simply aren’t as articulate with their feelings as they would like to be, and this can sometimes cause rifts in a marriage. Communication classes teach diplomacy and constructive conversational skills that will help keep you and your spouse on the same page.
- Affection and sex. Although this may seem instinctual to some, there are many people who marry without any sexual experience, and a healthy sex life is a cornerstone of a happy marriage. Some people who grew up in strict religious households or very traditional families may have little to no idea how to initiate intimacy with a partner or may hold misconceptions about sex and affection. Miscommunication or mixed signals in the bedroom can quickly lead to conflicts in other aspects of a marriage. Affection and sex classes will help spouses grow more intimate with each other and learn new ways of showing affection.
- Anger management. Many people say things they don’t mean when they are angry, and these courses can help spouses control their anger and process their emotions in constructive ways.
- Decision-making. Marriages are partnerships, and spouses need to learn how to make decisions as a team. This not only involves cooperation but also knowing when to yield to a spouse’s logic for the greater good.
- Raising children. Most people marry with the intention of starting a family and bumbling blindly into parenthood without any guidance isn’t good for anyone involved. Childbirth and childcare classes can bring spouses closer together and help build a stronger foundation for bringing a child into the world. These classes can also help spouses iron out their differences in parenting beliefs and reach a middle ground that works for both of them.
- Religious counseling. Spiritual life is very important to many Americans, and a couple can benefit greatly from meeting with spiritual leaders and mentors before a marriage.
Are These Courses Necessary?
There is no legal obligation in California to attend any type of premarital education course, but there are many benefits to doing so. You and your soon-to-be spouse may see eye to eye on countless issues but feel very differently about some subjects. Attending relevant courses can be a great way to hash out these differences and reach common ground before committing to the marriage.
If you want to attend a premarital course but aren’t sure how to ask your partner about doing so, frame the conversation honestly and tell him or her you think it could help bring the two of you closer together. Many people advocate for premarital education courses because they can reduce the likelihood of divorce. A couple attending a premarital education course together may grow closer together or discover irreconcilable differences that would have doomed the marriage eventually. While not required for marriage in California, it’s wise for any couples expecting to tie the knot in the near future to explore their options and investigate premarital education courses that could be eye-opening for them.