The percentage of people throughout history who have not only failed to reach the summit of Mount Everest, but who have died during the daring ascent is positively alarming. But every climber believes he is the exceptional one. However, less than 5% actually reach the coveted summit, and 25% die!
All engaged couples and newlyweds believe they are the exceptional couple. Divorce rate is 50% but not to worry—we’re the exceptional couple. Believing you are is a good start but the truly exceptional couples equip themselves to consistently DO things differently than the average couple. The stats tell us the average couple won’t make it, so what are you going to DO to truly become exceptional?
Traditional premarital counseling usually involves anywhere from 1-6 sessions with the minister performing your ceremony. All the sessions are before the wedding. Nothing after the wedding. After your wedding day, good luck—you’re on your own. Nothing against pastors (I’ve been for most of my adult life); most marriage counselors approach pre-marital counseling the same way.
Ramon Presson is a clinically certified marriage and family therapist with almost two decades of experience. He has worked with Dr. Gary Chapman (author of the best-seller The Five Love Languages) and has created and co-authored three books on marriage and family enrichment with Dr. Chapman.
Presson’s unique and effective approach to pre-marital counseling was featured in an article entitled “Divorcing the Supermodel: Abandoning the Current Model of Pre-marital Counseling,” published in a 2004 issue of Single Adult Ministry Journal, a nationally distributed periodical for those who work with single adults.
Presson effectively utilizes the Prepare Profile www.prepare-enrich.com, for years the most widely used and respected pre-marital relationship inventory among counseling professionals. Not a personality test, the Prepare profile is a self-report assessment of the relationship completed by both partners. The Profile explores the 12 key issues of every relationship.
The Prepare Profile is not only thorough—it is efficient. It would take more than 6 sessions just to ask and access the valuable feedback contained in the Profile. The Profile helps the couple to discover their strength and their growth areas, the areas of compatibility and their areas of difference. Probably one of the best things that occurs as a result of completing the Prepare Profile is that it generates further discussion between the engaged partners. The Profile is designed to facilitate relationship health and growth. Counselor feedback is very straight forward because the profile is very user-friendly and not written in psycho-babble.
What makes Presson’s approach unique and more effective is that he actually does fewer sessions prior to the wedding and insists on meeting for at least two follow-up sessions during the couple’s first year of marriage. Newlyweds would never dream of scheduling an appointment with a marriage counselor, and yet it is during the first year that high expectations and reality meet. It is during the first year that crucial patterns are set—not during the engagement period! Think of these two sessions during the first year as check-ups, like preventive dentistry, only less painful J
Note that Presson’s standard rate for marital counseling is $150 per one-hour session. The pre-marital sessions are discounted to $125 and the newlywed sessions are further discounted to $100. Why the discounting? Because I personally want to make a statement regarding my commitment to the value of premarital and newlywed counseling and I want to help remove some of the obstacles to getting superior premarital and newlywed counseling.
- Note that with a signed and notarized document provided by your counselor confirming your participation in premarital counseling, the state of TN will reduce the cost of your marriage license by $70.