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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
We asked a marriage counselor friend of ours about why a marriage fails. We were expecting a long complex answer so we already had a bottle of wine open. Yet her answer was short. According to her, if there are no addictions or mental illness involved, then most marriages fail through simple, straight-forward laziness.Almost any…
The proverb, “Good fences make good neighbours” has a great deal of wisdom. The concept of having clearly defined boundaries helps us to develop healthy relationships. When people know the limits of what they can demand from a relationship, it allows all parties to enjoy it. Hidden agendas evaporate and positive feeling in the relationship…
If your marriage is in strife and you need some help, it’s important to make sure you get the right help. Unfortunately, many counsellors and therapists will accept couples for couples counselling without having any specific training. Couples therapy is a unique and one of the most difficult counselling tasks and you deserve a therapist…
It happens all the time – one of us does or says something and it triggers a harsh reaction. To break the habit of reactivity, try this mindfulness tool to develop the virtue of restraint. While often associated with Buddhist meditation, Mindfulness has in fact been a feature of many religions under different names, including…