Part of my role as a Marriage Celebrant is to promote help and resources around marriage and relationships. It can help couples who want to:
• explore their similarities and differences
• strengthen their capacity to communicate and practice skills which will help avoid arguments in the future
• address specific issues that may be worrying the couple prior to committing to marriage
• reach practical decisions about how their lives will be once they are married
Pre-marriage counselling is also a chance for engaged couples to consider the basic principles of what marriage means to them. In this way, couples can enter into married life with a clearer picture of their own and each other’s expectations of marriage, and better skills to help them cope with some of the inevitable compromises that come with any relationships.
Keys to Living Together
Our relationships with the people around us have significant influence on our wellbeing. For most of us, at any given time, there is a special relationship which affects our lives more than any other. Despite its importance we often don’t think about how this central relationship is working or if it can be improved. The Keys to Living Together kits aim to provide you with useful tips, advice and ideas to enhance your relationships. Each kit consists of a DVD and mini magazine.
The DVDs are provided by the Australian Government and you can find out more here.
Every video in the series is available on my website to watch and you can also download the associated booklet.
There are several organisations which offer support to couples before and after marriage. This list is intended as a starting point for your own research.
Relationships Australia (New South Wales)
Branches across Sydney and the state.
Relationships Australia NSW is a non-religious organisation which offers a pre-marriage counselling course called ‘Building a Lasting Relationship. It covers the following:
• Listening and being heard
• Managing transitions and change
• Balancing roles
• Living with differences
• Making your relationship a priority
• Conflict resolution and problem solving
• Blocks and bridges to intimacy
Other courses are ‘Building Better Relationships’ for married couples, ‘Making Stepfamilies Work’ for families coming together, and ‘Managing Conflict’ for couples in times of duress.
These services are partly subsidised by funding from the Australian Federal Government and the NSW State Government. Clients are asked to contribute to the cost of the service by paying a fee. Fees are usually on a sliding scale depending on your income, and concessions and fee waivers are available.
16 Parkes Street
Parramatta NSW 2150
02 9895 8000
Anglicare is a Christian-based organisation that offers several relationship education services. It runs as pre-marriage course called ‘Prepare’. It covers the following:
• An online customised inventory of questions and 3 sessions with a trained facilitator
• Relationship strengths and growth areas
• Assertiveness and active listening skills
• Learning how to resolve conflict
• Discussion of family background, stress levels and your goals as a couple
‘Prepare’ is offered in Balgowlah, Bowral, Epping, Five Dock, Kensington, Lower Blue Mountains, Narrabeen, Parramatta, Penrith, Sutherland, St Marys, West Pennant Hills and Wollongong.
Associated Relationship & Marriage Counsellors
Branches across Sydney.
Associated Relationship & Marriage Counsellors is a non-religious Sydney-based umbrella organisation with facilities across Sydney.
Their counsellors are members of professional counselling associations, bound by professional codes of conduct, ethics and a high standard of professional training. They offer a pre-marriage course which covers the following:
• Encouraging open and direct communication
• Observing your communication processes and making suggestions for how these can be improved
• Reaching agreement about any problematic issues which might affect the success of your marriage
The course is offered in Sydney CBD, Bondi Junction, Surry Hills, Glebe, Sutherland, Northbridge, Lane Cove, Mosman, Central Coast, Wollongong and Castle Hill.
The cost varies slightly depending on the counsellor and location. The courses are run on an ad-hoc appointment basis.
Associated Relationship & Marriage Counsellors also offers courses for married couples facing difficulties, and family relationship education for stepfamilies, and sex therapy for couples. Again, the courses are run on an ad-hoc appointment basis.