Watch in English

Watch in Portuguese

Watch in Polish

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. …

Courses and Seminars

Research has shown that in many cases of marital stress, marriage education is 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.

  1. SmartLoving BreakThrough Online is a short course for use by individual spouses with or without their spouse. It is also available as a live course in some places. The film above is from this course.
  2. 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. It is suitable for couples who where one or both spouses is averse to the Christian faith.
  3. SmartLoving Marriage live seminar requires both spouses to attend but is only available in limited locations and dates.

SmartLoving also offers private coaching sessions to couples who are enrolled in one or more of our courses.

When a Couple’s Course is NOT a good idea.

However, there are a couple of situations where a Marriage education class 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:

  1. 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.
  2. One or both spouses has an addiction or mental illness. In this circumstance, you really need professional counselling to give you individual support. It doesn’t exclude the possibility of marriage education later and in fact, many counsellors will refer their couples to a marriage education class once the relationship is stabilised.
  3. There is systematic physical or sexual abuse. If you are victim of violence, you need to get out before you can do anything for the 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.
  4. 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 stablise the marriage and reestablish these healthy boundaries.

General Counselling including telecounselling

Pastoral Solutions Institute | Catholic Counselors to help strengthen and support you on your spiritual and emotional journey.

Catholic Psych Institute | Catholic Psychologists with an integrated approach to therapy grounded in Catholic theology.

Forgiveness & Healing

The Institute for Marital Healing | Strengthening Catholic marriages and families through a time-tested approach to marital therapy.

International Forgiveness Institute | Healing Hearts, Building Peace. Resources for couples, families, adults, survivors.


Survive Midlife | An online resource hub and course for husbands or wives whose spouse is in the grip of a midlife crisis


Extra-marital Affairs Resource Centre | An infidelity recovery service for couples, including print and digital publications. |

Not Just Friends | A leading expert on infidelity in the modern age with practical advice on recovery for couples. |


Faithful & True Ministries | Support for those with pornography addiction |

For Your Marriage - Addictions | Tips on spotting trouble and dealing with it from the US Catholic Bishops. |

Fight the New Drug | Information and programs to help overcome porn addiction |

Magdala Ministries | A place of honesty, hope, and healing for women of faith struggling with sexual addiction.

Connected: Recovery from Pornography | An online group counseling experience to help men recover from the obsessional use of pornography.

Divorce Alternatives

Alexander House | A Catholic, international apostolate dedicated to “proclaiming the beauty, goodness and truth” of God’s design for marriage |

Divorce Buster | A comprehensive website, including print and digital publications by world-renowned therapist, Michelle Weiner-Davis. |

The Third Option | Most struggling couples see only two options: Painful marriage or divorce. But there is a Third Option: a way to a better, renewed marriage. |

Retrouvaille | A program to help couples heal and renew their marriage |

Divorce & Annulment

Divorce and the Catholic Church | Q&A booklet from the Australian Catholic Bishops |

Catholics Divorce | Providing answers and insights for divorced Catholics |

Posts from the SmartLoving Blog

Change Starts Here

By Francine & Byron Pirola | September 9, 2021

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…

Love Making

By Francine & Byron Pirola | April 23, 2012

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…

Five Strategies to Improve your Marriage

By Francine & Byron Pirola | May 14, 2015

A lot of people feel trapped in a dissatisfying or troubled marriage. They feel powerless to ‘fix’ it because their spouse refuses to join them in counselling or a marriage enrichment course. Yet in truth, there are lots of things a husband or wife can do on their own that can have a dramatic impact.…

Healing Emotional Injuries

By Francine & Byron Pirola | January 21, 2015

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.  

Restoring Unity

By Francine & Byron Pirola | January 7, 2015

Be angry but do not sin. Do not let the sun set on your anger. Ephesians 4:26 Reconciliation and healing can be a great source of growth and grace in a couple’s relationship. Reconciliation teaches couples how to be more sensitive to the other’s feelings and needs and how to love the other more effectively.…

Hug to Diffuse

By Francine & Byron Pirola | December 19, 2011

It’s happening again. Suddenly we find ourselves in that all too familiar territory:  we’re gridlocked in an argument about goodness-knows-what and it’s starting to turn nasty. Our spirits deflate and we both want it to be different but backing down seems harder than it should be. At times like this, couples need a circuit breaker;…