Australian Civil Marriage Celebrants are obliged to give couples lodging a Notice of Intended Marriage a pamphlet that explains a number of changes that marriage will bring for them.
Celebrants must also give their couples information about a variety of organisations that provide educational courses to help strengthen relationships.
I believe that this is an excellent suggestion because it gives couples the opportunity to learn early on if there are likely to be any issues of conflict in their marriage and teach them how to negotiate and compromise before serious problems arise.
Some couples may think that their celebrant is recommending counselling for them but this isn’t the case, because that could imply that there is something missing from or wrong with their relationship. Pre-marriage courses are a useful way to deepen a connection that is already strong – why else would they want to marry each other? While everything is rosy right now, attending a course gives them tools to help negotiate their way through difficulties that might occur in their relationship when life throws up unexpected challenges.
Make no mistake, ‘life’ happens to everyone so it can only be helpful to learn as much as you can about how to cope, survive and thrive together.
For couples who don’t want to enrol in a formal course or don’t have time to do so before their wedding I have a series of questions that I recommend they discuss together to see if they are on the same page as each other and if not, to discuss together and find compromises that work for both of them.