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Every marriage goes through ups and downs. For some of us, these down times can persist leaving us feeling trapped, helpless and frustrated. Many conclude that the marriage is dead and that their only options are divorce or to live in misery.
Yet there is nearly always something you can do to alleviate your situation. …
SmartLoving Courses and Seminars
Research has shown that in many cases of marital stress, marriage education can be more effective and helpful to couples than counselling.
There are a number of excellent marriage education courses that couples can do that will help you improve your marriage.
- SmartLoving BreakThrough Online is a short course for use by individual spouses (not strictly a couple's course) with or without their spouse. It is also available as a live course in some places. The film above (Forgiveness) is from this course.
- The Marriage Kit online is is a short course for couples adapted from our secular platform (The Stick Kit). It is a solid marriage formation experience for couples at all life stages and is a good option for couples in stable relationships such as those who are rebuilding their relationship after recovering from a crisis. Although fully consistent with Catholic teaching, it is suitable for couples from diverse religious backgrounds.
SmartLoving also offers private coaching sessions to those enrolled in one or more of our courses.
When a Couple’s Course is NOT a good idea.
However, there are some situations where a couple's course might aggravate your situation. If any of the following apply to you we’d recommend you postpone your plans for marriage education while you pursue other alternatives:
- One spouse is vigorously opposed to attending the marriage education class. We’ve seen it many times in our courses; one spouse desperately wants to come and nags or manoeuvres the other spouse to get them there. It’s almost always a disaster – no one likes to be manipulated so please don’t do this. It is not fair to your spouse and will not help improve your marriage. Moreover, it will prejudice your spouse against marriage education in the future.
- One or both spouses has an addiction or mental illness. In this circumstance, you really need professional assistance to give you individual support. It doesn’t exclude the possibility of marriage education later and in fact, many counsellors will refer their recovering couples to a marriage education class once the relationship is stabilised.
- There is systematic physical or sexual abuse. If you are victim of violence, you need to get out before you can do anything for your marriage. When there is such an abuse of power in the relationship, professional help is needed to break the pattern before a marriage education class will help.
- There is an ongoing affair. When there is a third party operating in the marriage, working to undermine it, marriage education is not the first priority – reestablishing the boundaries to protect the marriage needs to happen first. Again, sometimes professional assistance may be required to stablize the marriage and reestablish these healthy boundaries.
Posts from the SmartLoving Blog
Part 4 of It Takes One to Tango. See others in this series here, here. and here. All change in our relationships should start with ourselves. While it’s comforting to be able to blame our spouse for the inadequacies of our marriage, expecting them to change to meet our demands is not only ineffective, it’s not…
If you have been emotionally injured in anyway, you can use this activity to process your experience. Full instructions are available on the PDF handout.
Sexual Response Human sexuality is a complex and varied experience; every person experiences their femininity or masculinity uniquely. Moreover, this experience will evolve over the years of a person’s life, and at times bring more grief than joy. Sexual problems are not only common, they are to be expected. Unfortunately, many couples have been misinformed…
A recent analysis of modern day wedding vows reveal around a third of couples shunning the traditional commitment for life. According to the results, 34% dumped the phrase ‘until death do us part’. This really shouldn’t surprise us as the prevailing messages young couples hear is that divorce is not only commonplace, it’s also to…