Marriage Education: Tips and Resources
Here are a few of the organizations that offer workshops in the Washington-metro area:
Marriage Savers, www.marriagesavers.org, 301-469-5873
PAIRS Virginia, www.pairsvirginia.com, 703-476-5644
Relationship Enhancement, www.nire.org, 301-986-1479
Wedded Bliss Foundation, www.weddedblissinc.com, 202-544-1936
PREP, www.prepinc.om, 800-366-0166
Retrouvaille (a program with roots in the Catholic Church), www.retrouvaille.org, 800-470-2230
For a full directory of resources in other areas, visit www.smartmarriages.com
Diane Sollee, founder of Smart Marriages, an organization that promotes marriage education, outlines some points couples could expect to learn at workshops.
- Disagreements are normal. The trick is to learn how to manage disagreements without hostility and put-downs.
- Couples who divorce and those who go the distance disagree the same amount and about all of the same basic things.
- There are predictable challenge points in any marriage, including the first two years, the birth of the first baby, years 14 to 16 (when teenagers are often in the home) and the empty nest years.
- No one stays the same. You promise to stay together till death do you part, but you can't promise to stay the same.
- Don't avoid disagreements. They'll just fester and lead to distance, detachment and eventually detonate.
- Listen and speak in a way your partner can't possibly doubt you love him or her. Give your partner your attention. Repeat what your partner said without sarcasm to show you get his or her point of view.
- Learn to take time-outs.
- Express appreciation often.
- Be willing to make up after an argument; it's central to a happy marriage. A repair attempt -- even if it's clumsy or funny -- is crucial.
Think you know what makes a successful marriage? Share your tips and experiences on our message board.
Join Diane Sollee and Post reporter Ellen McCarthy on Monday, 28, for a live discussion about marriage education.