May 2015

Engaged or Recently Married?


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By Craig Lambert


For young couples, the thrill of engagement and wedding preparations can overshadow an important fact: on the other side of the honeymoon, life as usual awaits. What will married life look like?

Marriage education not only prepares partners for the challenges and opportunities of married life, it enriches the pre-marital or newlywed stage. Partners deepen their relationship, making them even more excited to commit to each other for life.

Have you considered marriage education but need help convincing your fiancé or spouse? Thinking about gifting marriage education to your adult child and his or her partner? Here are five great reasons to give it a try:


  1. Defy the Odds—Build a Union that Lasts

Today’s divorce statistics are downright scary. Half of all marriages end in divorce. One in four ends within two years. But you don’t have to become one of them. A rigorous study by University of Denver researcher found that marriage education lowered the divorce rate by over 30%.


  1. Ward Off the Specter of the Long, Passionless Marriage

Young couples see long-suffering husbands and wives all around them. How do relationships get that way? What went wrong? Couples feel empowered when they learn how these situations to develop and what to do if they sense warning signs at home.


  1. Fill Your Toolbox with Proven Communication Skills

We are not born with stellar communication skills and most people have never learned the skills that are shown to work best. Often, marital conflict stems from an inability to communicate effectively and navigate disagreements. Through marriage education, couples learn to hear their partner and respond appropriately, making conflict useful, rather than hazardous, to the relationship.


  1. Beat the Post-Wedding Blues

Because a wedding often takes a year to plan, couples end up structuring their lives around the preparations. Their identities become “bride” and “groom.” But once the big event is over, many couples report a dip in mood. Research tells us that up to 10% suffer sadness intense enough to seek counseling. Marriage education prepares couples for these feelings, normalizing them so that they don’t cause panic.


  1. Explore and Understand Your Partner on a Deeper Level

Most couples spend more time planning their wedding than their marriage. While brides- and grooms-to-be believe they know their partners thoroughly, some important topics inevitably go undiscussed. Through marriage education, partners can avoid disrupting the stability of their relationship by broaching these topics in a structured way:


  • Each person’s vision of the marriage as it blossoms over time
  • Family-of-origin issues that could impact the relationship
  • Gender role expectations each partner may not even realize he or she harbors
  • Financial values
  • Intimacy and sexual assumptions


Ready to get started? Engaged and newly married Jewish and Jewish-Interfaith couples in San Diego are invited to enroll in Jewish Family Service’s new six-session course in marriage success beginning June 16, 2015. Class meets every Tuesday from 7–9 p.m. at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center. Visit to learn more and reserve your spot. With a little education, you can build a marriage of connection and commitment.


Craig Lambert, LCSW is a marriage counselor in San Diego with more than 30 years of experience dedicated to helping couples kindle their love, deepen their intimacy, and strengthen communication. Learn more at


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