Michelle & Dan make a great team. They kept Marriage Prep 101 fun, meaningful and engaging. I liked how the workshop brought up topics that we didn't even think about. Marriage Prep 101 was very, very informative. We loved the couples exercises! Dan and Michelle were casual, laid back and personal - their relationship examples helped us a lot. I can't think of anything I would change about the workshop and our experience - it was truly great! Also, Dan was hilarious! We enjoyed everything about Marriage Prep 101.
Timothy & Sara
Marriage Prep 101 was a wonderful way to strengthen our relationship and prepare us for marriage. We had been looking for a pre-marital class that was nondenominational and found Michelle and Dan. We were particularly impressed that the exercises were evidenced based and knew that many couples had benefited from the activities. Over the course of two days we went over topics ranging from why we feel in love, to our future as a married couple. We particularly loved hearing from other couples and the instructors about their own experiences. As a bonus, we even got to have dinner on Friday at Off The Grid right outside the workshop location!
Dara & Andrew
Marriage Prep 101 is a must-do for any couple who is looking to invest in and improve their relationship! It really helped us to talk through our relationship needs and expectations and also create a roadmap for the marriage that we would like to have. We particularly enjoyed from the conflict resolution portion which helped us identify what some potential challenges could be and to create a plan for how to best deal with them when they arise. The workshop also requires a certain amount of self reflection and the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. Michelle and Dan Joy were great! They used examples from their own relationship to illustrate different points, and it made them completely relatable and extremely likable. You can tell that they really believe in the workshop and love what they do! We highly recommend this workshop to all couples as there is something in it that EVERY couple can benefit from. Thanks again for a wonderful workshop!
Josiah & Karmen
We never really thought we would have needed a class like Marriage Prep 101. However, what drew us to this workshop was its research-based, secular approach and after reading other couples’ experiences we felt that the class would help build on the healthy foundation we would rely on for the rest of our lives. Marriage Prep 101 is helpful for anyone at any stage in their relationship, as it covers a lot of important and sometimes overlooked communication skills and problem solving methods that will help build a healthy foundation. Thank you!
Nicholas and Meredith
We had an excellent experience at Marriage Prep 101. We discussed some provocative and interesting topics using new methods and strategies that were incredibly productive and discovered strengths that we didn’t know we had. Coming from different religious backgrounds, we really appreciated how Marriage Prep 101 was so steeped in psychological and other scientific research.
It was worth every penny and we wish there were a couple more weekends!
We would recommend Marriage Prep 101 to any couple and firmly believe that it was a crucial addition to and tool for this exciting time in our lives.
Danny and Nikki
We took Marriage Prep 101 at the recommendation of friends who took this couples workshop a few years ago. We didn’t have any specific problems we felt we needed to address other than learning how to manage conflict more constructively (rare issue) but as life-learner and over achiever types we wanted to set ourselves up for success however we could.
We definitely feel like we got what we hoped for out of the class – we uncovered some challenges (or as we like to think of them – opportunities to enhance) that we now have a plan (bond) and tools (keys) to address. We were already pretty aware of our strengths (and our competitive playful personalities often had us verbalizing how ‘awesome we are together’.) It’s crazy to us that more couples don’t take a marriage prep class like Marriage Prep 101. What a critical life experience to not even expose yourself to the most basic summary of empirically validated best practices?
We will definitely recommend Marriage Prep 101 to friends and family and wish it were more culturally standard for couples to take classes like yours – what a happier world it would be.
Many thanks again.
GD and CSL
The Marriage Prep 101 seminar was so enjoyable and successful for us as a couple.
The information and tools shared are proven and essential for a happy and lasting marriage. Which is what Joe and I are striving for in our marriage.
Learning different communication styles, creating conflict resolutions, clarifying expectations and exploring our strengths and weaknesses as a couple were insightful and inspiring.
Having the tools and skills to communicate with each other will definitely keep our marriage bond strong and thriving.
This seminar sets up an open and comfortable place to share expectations, feelings and fears without the fear of rejection or judgment.
We took Marriage Prep 101 a month before our wedding, which was the PERFECT launch into our marriage and future.
Luann and Joe
Honestly, I would place this class as being the most important wedding expense we’ve spent money on, even above the marriage certificate. I mean, really, what good would it do to get married if you don’t prepare for it?
Some context! My fiance and I have a really happy, solid relationship, but I wouldn’t say that our relationship has been really challenged yet (perhaps related to the fact that we do not yet live together). But the challenges will inevitably come! So what’s a couple to do? We definitely wanted to do some premarital preparation but were not religious enough to be interested in the Engaged Encounters/Pre-Cana classes required by the Catholic Church. We also didn’t want to go through the potentially expensive process of couples counseling if we didn’t have specific issues we wanted to work on.
The workshop format was the perfect solution. I’d say it was secular (but not anti-religious… they’re pretty respectful) and could be a good option for couples with different religious backgrounds. The cost also covered a light breakfast, lunch, snacks, and a workbook for each person, and I’m a fan of swag in general. The class would be a great jumping point into couples counseling, too, if you have more complex needs to work on.
Also note: they recommend that couples take the Relate test ($40 per couple), and it’s optional. The test can be very helpful as a tool, but be careful about interpreting the results. I still think it’s worth taking anyway.
I think Jeff M’s review is pretty comprehensive and accurate to our experience of this class, so I’ll just add to that:
They use a lot of their own personal anecdotes that were relateable, entertaining, and memorable. This was especially helpful for when we went over some of the communication exercises, and seeing them demo the techniques using their own stories made it more accessible and easy to do ourselves.
I liked that they included a section on how we think of family backgrounds and their potential impact on our own marriages. It helped to think about how our parents’ marriages could influence our own views and even made me think of how I would want our future kids to view our marriage.
The class opened up some topics we hadn’t thought about discussing before and gave us a good space to talk about it privately and productively. I think it could be helpful to come to this workshop with an idea of some non-dealbreaker issues to talk about.
You don’t have to be engaged to take this class. A few couples were already married, and a few had kids, but at least one couple was not engaged. I would recommend this class to any couple in a long-term relationship.
You also get out of the workshop whatever you put in. You don’t have to participate in the larger group discussions, but definitely come ready with an open mind and a readiness to do the work, and you’ll be rewarded.
At the end of the workshop, my fiance and I definitely bonded more and feel a lot more strengthened in our already-great relationship. Gifting this class would be great for couples!
Phuong and Albert
Deciding to attend Marriage Prep 101 was one of the best decisions we have made together in our relationship. Along with happiness and excitement that accompanies being engaged, some feelings of apprehension and anxiety emerged.
The exercises that we did in the workshop reminded us of the strengths we have in our relationship that make us a great match. In addition, focusing on our “challenge areas” brought a sense of comfort that we will be able to work out any disagreements that can arise during our lifetime together. They presented a wealth of knowledge about relationships in an entertaining and productive way. We both, without reservation, strongly recommend this class to any couple who want to have a fun, educational weekend that will give them the tools to strengthen their relationship.
Matt and Lena
Hilarious, insightful, fascinating, and powerful are just a few words that come to mind after attending the Marriage Prep 101 course. My fiancé and I are truly perfect for one another, but our communication was slightly less than perfect. Attending Marriage Prep 101 workshop helped us gain practical tools for strengthening our communication skills, deepening our bond, and was just plain fun! How is this workshop not required for everyone before making a lifetime commitment?! Since it isn’t, we highly recommend it as one of the best investments you can make in your relationship. It is worthwhile not just for “the good of the relationship,” but for bringing more happiness into your life; which is ultimately why most of us are committing to someone long-term, right?
Joemy and Hanks
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.
Dave and Nicole
Marriage Prep 101 was an amazing experience and a highly recommended must-do for anyone interested in having a truly successful relationship; whether you are getting ready for marriage (as we are), already married, or seriously dating – there is definitely something that you can learn from this workshop.
Marriage Prep 101 is a class that is loaded with relevant and useful information, resources, and tools that help you to better understand yourself and your contribution to the Relationship, and will allow you to further strengthen this bond.
They teach in such a way that is fun, concise, and REAL, using examples from their own relationship that made us feel so validated and gave us a lot of encouragement in knowing there are useful and effective ways to deal with differences. And it can be FUN!
Taking this workshop will help you become better individuals and a better “WE”!!
Dan and Linnae
After a year of seriously dating, my boyfriend and I took Marriage Prep 101. We were at the point where we knew we wanted to make the commitment to marry, but were hesitant because we had yet to work through some fundamental issues. Although we had been going to premarital counseling for three months, it wasn’t until we took the Marriage Prep 101 workshop that we finally saw the bigger picture and made real progress in our relationship.
It’s a good thing the workbook we were provided had wide margins because we were both taking notes as fast as we could write them! Marriage Prep 101 is based on the most current marriage research–they made numerous references to different books or authors in the field for further reading, which was very helpful. Throughout the 10-hour workshop, my boyfriend and I kept looking at each other as each new topic was introduced that applied directly to issues we were having. What we figured out was that coming from parents who had unhappy, unsuccessful marriages, we just didn’t know what made a good marriage work. After the workshop, we have a clear picture of the research surrounding marital success, as well as a list of the areas we will need to work on and the strategies to do just that. As soon as we got home, we called up his brother who is currently engaged and told him he had to take this course. In a culture where we spend thousands of dollars to get married, spending a few hundred to help ensure we stay married is the easiest decision to make, and one we will recommend to all of our family and friends contemplating marriage. Thanks again!
Heather and Brian
We have been seriously dating for two years. Although we’re generally satisfied with our relationship, we knew we would need to resolve a few issues before we could take it to the next level. When we found Marriage Prep 101, we liked the fact that it was non-religious and the description sounded like just what we were looking for!
The workshop centered around the seven keys to a lifelong marriage. The examples they gave were realistic and clearly illustrated the concept they were presenting (good humor too!) There was nothing overly touchy-feeling since it’s all very practical advice. Throughout the workshop, couples were given the opportunity to try out some of the tools on the spot with coaching if necessary.
Most importantly, they emphasized not to just let this knowledge “live in our heads” but to incorporate them in our daily routine. Some of the tools we found particularly useful were learning your partner’s love language and the structured approach to conflict resolution.
After taking the workshop, we felt that it was one of the best time/money investment we’ve made for our relationship. The skills and tools gave us renewed confidence that we’ll be able to work through our current and future challenges. We’re telling our engaged and seriously dating friends about the workshop because it should be on every couple’s wedding to-do list.
Julie and Paul
Andrew and I loved the Marriage Prep 101 workshop. Through fun exercises, we learned meaningful details about each other’s lives-things we had never shared before-which deepened our relationship.
But our favorite part of the workshop (amazingly enough) was conflict resolution; as a couple, we learned techniques to slow down that tricky area of disagreement in order to prevent the head-on collision of fighting. We are very proud of our certificate of completion and we’re sure all other committed couples would be too. Through attending Marriage Prep 101, we automatically took our relationship to the next level.
Jennifer and Andrew
It’s easy to get caught up in wedding planning and all the “to do’s” on the list. We’re really glad we made taking the Marriage Prep 101 workshop a priority. We feel it put into perspective the extent of the life change we are about to enter. After spending time on Friday evening, clarifying expectations and and then on Saturday, learning various communication tools we felt even more confident about our decision to marry and love for each other. We made a weekend out of the seminar by spending a few great days in San Francisco.
We’re so glad we did because we left the workshop on Saturday afternoon with a clear vision–a Mission Statement actually– that we wrote together on how and what we were going to make our marriage satisfying and enduring. This helped us to confirm our commitment to be together.
It also helped to be in a room with other couples going through the same challenges was really helpful. We are both pretty athletic and enjoy training for races and runs so it only made sense to train for this most important life event!
Thanks again for a great weekend we’ll recommend your course to all our friends and their partners.
Jolee and Brandon
With only two and half months until our wedding date, Matt and I were on a path to divorce before we were even married. We argued all the time about small insignificant things as well as very important life changing decisions. We knew that we needed something to help us figure things out but did not know exactly what. A marriage therapist was not our style and going to our family was not working out. I found Marriage Prep 101 during an online search and was drawn to the fact that it was not counseling, instead skills and tools to creating a great marriage. I signed us up for the next workshop.
The structure and setting of the workshop was extremely comfortable. Matt does not like being forced to talk but not once did he feel pressured. Only when he was ready did he raise his hand to share or ask for help. It was never just from the male or females perspective, it came from both of them.
Matt and I took away many great tools to keep our relationship alive, healthy and spiced up. We are able to use their expertise in all aspects of our relationship. Matt and I really needed to work on our conflict resolution approach. They gave us several tools on how to argue in a productive way and we were able to take away the two that worked best for our personalities. Their Ground Rules for Conflict Resolution have been invaluable to our lives. We both appreciated the fact that the workshop helped us focus on the positives in our relationship and not the negatives that are so easy to fall into. The 5 to 1 ratio is vital in our day to day lives. We also found their Incompatibilities Exercise helped to resolve a big issue in our house. Finally, we practice their suggested 20 second hug every morning!
Marriage Prep 101 will change the way you view your relationship with your partner. We highly recommend the workshop. Make a weekend out of it like we did by reserving a hotel room and having a nice dinner together. It will add even more value to the experience.
Tamryn and Matthew
In the throes of wedding planning and seemingly endless lists of “things to do” before the wedding, taking a time-out to spend such quality time with one another at Marriage Prep 101 was hands-down the best part of this blissful process so far – and that says a lot coming from a details girl! Marriage Prep 101 touches on a variety of aspects surrounding marriage and commitment with real life examples backed up by scientific research…and best of all, humor! It was so wonderful to devote that time just to US and to the importance of creating our marriage bond. And while we both felt very confident about our relationship from the onset, we appreciated the opportunity to talk through potential issues and “traps” as well as create a game plan for our marriage to get us started on the right foot. It was a way to build a foundation of communication and understanding that we may have not otherwise put the concerted effort towards creating had we not taken the class. By doing some simple excercises, it was amazing to see certain assumptions that we had about each other’s feelings and perceptions totally turned on their head, just by simply learning to communicate in a new way. Very enlightening and transformational.
Realizing that even the best laid plans often go awry, we feel ever more confident in our ability to communicate with one another and resolve conflicts “in the present” and have already reaped the many benefits of the workshop – even before our marriage has begun! We were deeply inspired by the other couples in the class and enjoyed sharing the experience with people in all different stages of relationships. We agree that this is the best investment that we’ve put towards the marriage so far, and highly recommend it to all couples seeking a healthy dose of relationship reality.
Victoria and Chris
My fiance and I took this course and absolutely loved it! It provides a neutral setting to talk about challenging issues in the relationship and focus on the resolution.You also get to reflect on many of your strengths as well. I found the instructors to be knowledgeable and real. They do not preach about how a marriage should work in theory, they talk about the tools we can all use to make a marriage work in practice. I would recommend this course to anyone getting married. In fact my fiance and I plan to attend the course every five years.
My advice, don’t wait until you have a conflict to discuss it.Chances are at that point one of you will be defensive. This is a great way to put everything on the table and talk about it in a rational way. Thanks again!
Karen and Bob
I truly believe that this workshop should be required for any couple on their way to the altar. At first I wasn’t sure if I’d feel safe expressing myself in a format such as this. But I really did feel ‘safe’ to speak honestly with my partner. What really rang true for myself and my fiance is the fact that the presenters brought up the term “intentional marriage” to describe a more proactive way of being married. I never thought of my future marriage in that way,but now it really makes sense. After this workshop, my fiance and I truly know where each of us stand in our hopes, views and intentions for our marriage. I know that we are in a better spot because of what we learned and overcame in the workshop. We will recommend it to anyone considering getting married. It’s INVALUABLE. It may be the best money spent during our entire wedding planning process.
Valerie and Chris
Marriage Prep 101 was everything we had hoped for as we rapidly approach our wedding day. Marie and I both agree that San Francisco is a wonderful venue, and wish to encourage other out-of-area couples to take the course. We used our free time to enjoy the sights and the great restaurants, while discussing the concepts, exercises, and studies you both presented. Like most couples, the time we spend together is often cloudy with busy schedules and daily dealings (and my 11 year old in the house), and we might never really be able to set aside time to work on our relationship. Marriage Prep 101 helped us to dedicate that time, with a well constructed plan of action. The Relate test, and the way you both integrate it into the curriculum, was a very useful element that otherwise would have been informative, but unintelligible – you made the science approachable. We both agree that the course helped us to discover new insights into each other’s thoughts and feelings, while also affirming the strengths in our relationship that will help us grow as a couple. In fact, we spent Sunday just enjoying each other’s company with a sort of relief that we had many of the right tools, and some new skills to use them. One of the great aspects of San Francisco is the diverse selection of restaurants and activities- far beyond what we can find at home. We enjoyed some great Italian, and a Korean restaurant (that was new for both of us) we took a Ghost Walk, and shopped for some awesome wines to take back. We hope other couples considering the workshop (or parents who wish to get them a great gift) will take our word and sign up. It is both time and money very well spent. Thanks again.
Ron and Marie
We are really happy that we decided to attend the Marriage Prep 101 workshop, and we felt that it was a very worth while investment in our future. We were confident in our relationship going in, but the workshop solidified that we are good partners and gave us some very practical tools that are going to be very useful for getting through challenging situations. We found the conflict resolution topic to be the most useful for us – the exercises gave us a way to talk about subjects that are usually more stressful in a very constructive way (money, how we incorporate religion, etc.), and it also highlighted some surprisingly simple insights – like the fact that you don’t have to actually solve an issue in one sitting. The format of the Marriage Prep 101 workshop works great. Lecture-style presentations are alternated with personal experiences and anecdotes, and give the couples plenty of time and good structure to go through individual exercises. As a result, the whole experience feels very productive without being too long or overwhelming. Finally, we appreciated that the workshop doesn’t have a religious affiliation – something that was important to us because we come from different religious backgrounds.
Thank you for a great experience, and we highly recommend Marriage Prep 101 to anyone who wants to strengthen their relationship!
Nina and Forrest
Marriage Prep 101 workshop has helped us to realize what we want from our marriage–and that we are on the right path to making that happen. We know that we have decided to marry for myriad of reasons, but knowing what we want from each other sometimes gets nebulous. Your exercises in class helped to clarify our expectations and helped us to define goals for what we want our marriage to be. By the time Pete and I sat down and discussed our the “keys” and “goals” when we created out Marriage Bond, we understood that what we wrote was not just a confirmation of values we shared, but a lifetime gameplan for how to make our marriage last.I especially enjoyed the language of love exercise. I have even played the game with other couples (married and unmarried) and they too have found it interesting. Thank you for providing a way for couples to explore and appreciate their similarities and differences, enabling them to find healthy ways to build companionship and love.
Yukie and Pete