Dave and I have been together for almost four years. We are engaged to be married in September. We feel pretty good about the strength of our relationship and communication skills. However, we’re both children of divorce and the closer we get to our wedding, the higher my anxiety about divorce goes.
We already knew we shared common values, backgrounds and ideas about what our married life will be like (how to handle finances, how our life will adjust to children, etc.), so we were primarily looking to learn some new conflict resolution skills. Like any couple, we were a bit tired of having the same fight over whose turn it was to fold the laundry or empty the dishwasher. We decided to find a non-religious pre-marriage communication workshop we could attend together and Marriage Prep 101 fit the bill! We came to the workshop figuring we’d learn some new techniques for handling conflict, but we got so much more than we expected.
Marriage Prep 101 provides a fast-paced workshop mixing the latest relationship psychology research, characteristics of successful couples, as well as their own experience as a long-time married couple, while helping you address all the big issues couples face through frequent couple exercises supported by their offers of one-on-one attention. They cover it all – family history and childhood, finances, religion, conflict, love languages, sex, romance, children and work/life balance. The workbook they provide with tips and exercises is definitely something we’ll be hanging on to.
The beginning of the workshop helps couples identify common values, goals and ideas they share, as well as challenge areas they may be facing or face in the future. We left the first night feeling really great about all the strengths we can celebrate about our relationship. During the second day we learned a wealth of conflict resolution techniques, a number of which we found ourselves already using the day after the workshop. The conflict resolution tips we learned nip the small tiffs right in the bud and give us a structured and non-volatile way of addressing the bigger issues. This workshop is perfect for the couple that is tired of fighting the same old fight with no end in sight.
My favorite part of the workshop was developing a roadmap for our marriage. We spent the last part of workshop collecting all the relationship strengths, challenges, strategies and goals we had identified throughout the weekend into a single document, “The Marriage Bond.” We plan to revisit, discuss and revise our Marriage Bond on a regular basis. We both love the idea of approaching our relationship with intention instead of just skating along hoping things keep going okay. Marriage Prep 101 gave us the foundation and tools for a happy, healthy and lifelong marriage.