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Happy Marriage, Inexpensive Wedding

It has been reported that in Hong Kong, the average wedding expenditure is HKD 360,000. While this huge sum can create an unforgettable wedding event, this does not necessarily guarantee a blissful marriage. Pre-martial counselling costs only a tiny amount in comparison. Through the counselling process, couples deepen their understanding of one another and work together to bridge the gaps between their differences (e.g. family and social backgrounds etc.), thereby establishing a good foundation for marriage. With such valuable benefits, pre-marital counselling is thus a highly cost-effective, worthwhile investment.

Investing in Your Marriage

Counsellor Edwina Cheung, who is also a certified chartered financial analyst (CFA), believes that marriage not only requires spouses to do their part to sustain it but also needs additional investments. “Pre-martial counselling can strengthen the foundations of marriage, or even common-law relationships . Counselling enhances couples’ mutual understanding thus they become more confident about building their future life together. Compared to an expensive wedding, pre-marital counselling is a more meaningful investment and gift.”

Many prospective couples do not talk about savings and financial management before marriage. According to Edwina Cheung, “Managing finances can be complicated as expectations can differ according to different races.” For instance, in a pre-marital counselling case, the prospective groom is British and the bride-to-be is from Hong Kong. The prospective bride has always been the breadwinner of her family. She hopes to continue to support her family after marriage but faces the possibility of a lack of income. On the other hand, the groom-to-be has no plans to provide financial support to his in-laws. During the counselling process, the prospective bride related her childhood to her husband-to-be, who was touched by her story and understood her perspective. This prospective couple finally reached an agreement to share the financial support for the bride’s parents, and also worked out the details on managing their finances. Counsellors encourage that couples should communicate openly and resolve such issues early before marriage. This is because coming to an understanding and compromise early is more effective than addressing them when the issues surface after marriage.

Adopt a Positive Mindset and Reap the Benefits

Many prospective couples undergo pre-marital counselling with mixed feelings, being both excited and nervous. These couples love each other deeply and choose to undergo pre-marital counselling to learn more about each other. The counselling process ultimately becomes a joyful part of the wedding preparations because couples often uncover many unknowns, and from there, improve their relationships as they get to know their partners much better than before.

Not everyone will take initiative or be motivated to undergo pre-marital counselling. Among our pre-marital counselling cases, there was one where an unwilling client unexpectedly benefited from the sessions. “A gentleman came for pre-marital counselling just to satisfy his wife-to-be. During a session, he felt that the counselling process was so stressful that he wanted to quit mid-way! Upon further probing, we found that the gentleman had to face different wedding preparation requirements from both sides of the families. He projected that this situation would continue even after their wedding, therefore causing tremendous stress for him. Upon understanding the cause of his stress, the counsellor focused that session working with the couple on managing themselves and their families after their wedding. At the end of the session, the couple both gained new perspectives that can help them cope in the future.”

Pre-marital Counselling: A Step Toward Lifelong Bliss

Upon completing pre-marital counselling, if a couple (one or both parties) still has doubts or uncertainties, for example, on personality differences or emotional management, it is encouraged to have further engagement with the counsellor. Working on getting proper closure with the counsellor is highly beneficial to their marriage life.

Currently, statistics show that one in every three couples faces divorce. Couples who are willing to accept and undergo pre-marital counselling will also be more motivated to seek help when problems arise during their married life. This reduces the risk of divorce, and such couples are therefore more likely to grow old together and stay in love forever!

5 Key Advantages of Pre-Marital Counselling (Improve Communications and Conflict Management Skills)

1. Learn how to interact effectively as a couple – respect one another and preserve your personal space
2. Discuss marital issues that have not been previously addressed, for example, financial management and parenting approaches etc.
3. Recognise and understand the influence of the respective families on both parties
4. Address and manage issues that may surface during wedding preparations and after the wedding
5. Examine key aspects of married life with a certified, experienced counsellor

The Companions
Edwina Cheung