OKLAHOMA CITY -- Before you decide to take a trip down the aisle, it's important to really understand what you're entering into first.
For 21-year-old Caleb Smith and 20-year-old Jamie Snellings, who've been dating for over a year and a half, they're ready to tie the knot on May 24. But before they take that next step, they are taking a 10-week marriage preparation course.
Dr. Kim Kimberling has been preparing couples for marriage for over 10 years.
Caleb and Jamie think Dr. Kimberling's premarital course will make all the difference when it comes to beating odds that seem to be stacked against them.
"The divorce rate in first marriages is higher than it's ever been in the first year of marriage. I think a lot of people go in the first time not really prepared and so the commitment's not there. Things get tough and so they pull apart instead of coming together," said Dr. Kim Kimberling, who runs A Cord of Three Strands marriage prep course.
Separations can spark over a number of things like finances. Couples taking the course get to see how differences in handling money could wind up tearing them apart, and how discussing even little issues can make all the difference.
"The feedback we get, couples say it made a difference. They get in the marriage and they know how to talk better and solve conflict and a problem comes up and they go ‘You know, we talked about this in class and we know it's normal,'" Dr. Kimberling said.
The 10-week course spells some critical points of marriage, from how couples communicate, to their roles in the relationship and how to handle conflict.
"Couples spend so much time on the wedding, so much money on the wedding, and that's fine but you're talking about something you want to last 50 years, so yeah you should prepare for it," Dr. Kimberling said.
For couples who go through the course, only 5perent end up getting divorced. Dr. Kimberling said he finds most couples divorce because they give up too easily and often move on to another marriage only to experience the same issues, so it's important to deal with those early.