It is a well known fact, that pre-marital counseling is not a requirement to getting married (unless it is in certain religious institutions).
I too, do not require it by any stretch of the imagination, but I do recommend it.
-we take drivers training to obtain a license to drive.
-We attend college, to obtain advanced degrees to be qualified to do what we choose to do for a living.
-Mothers and Fathers- to- be take Lamaze classes to learn how to birth a baby.
-We take personal interest classes and seminars to learn how to engage in a new skill (s).
-We seek out friends/others for advice on buying homes (particularly if you are a first time home buyer).
And there are many other examples... but my point is this:
When we choose to get married, we are embarking on one of the biggest decisions of our lives. We are saying 'yes, I will agree to living with you, committing to working on this relationship, and staying with you until death do us part'.
Yet, most do not choose to obtain pre-marital counseling to determine if the biggest issues that will come up in the marriage will be solvable.
What makes me unique as a wedding officiant, is that my main hat, is as a psychotherapist and mental health counselor. I do a great deal of pre-marital and marital therapy, and I will openly say, that pre-marital therapy is not a guarantee by any stretch of the imagination that the marriage will last. However, it does give you an initial jump start to discussion on issues that will inevitably come up, and that need to be thought of, and puts you miles ahead of many.
As always: I offer my incentive that if a couple signs on for 8-10 structured pre-marital therapy sessions with me, I will officate their wedding for free.
Included in these sessions are 'hot' topics such as the following:
-Children: to have or not to have
-How to handle various life changes, deaths of family members, moves, promotions
-Boundary setting with family members
-Moral and religious issues
And Much more.