Marriage education classes teach couples specific skills that are necessary to maintain a long-term relationship. Unlike traditional pre-marriage counseling, which targets a couple’s specific situation, marriage education classes offer a specific curriculum in a classroom setting.
Often, couples attend a marriage education class prior to getting married. Sometimes classes take place in the form of a one day seminar, while other classes are taught over the course of several weeks. Some classes are even taught as part of a couple’s weekend retreat.
What Couples Learn in Marriage Education
Most marriage education classes help couples identify their expectations about marriage to ensure they have a realistic outlook on married life. Classes also teach communication skills that help couples learn how to talk about feelings and resolve problems together.
Most classes also teach couples how to deal with anger, disappointment and frustration in healthy ways. When negative feelings aren’t addressed sufficiently, it can lead to contempt and resentment, which increases the risk for divorce.
What Research Says About Marriage Education
There are many studies that show marriage education works. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Family Psychology found that couples who took marriage education classes prior to getting married had higher rates of marital satisfaction. The couples who took classes also reported more commitment to their marriage, had less conflict and overall reduced chances for divorce when compared to couples who didn’t attend any marriage education classes.
Locating Marriage Education Classes
Marriage education classes can be located in a number of places. Many states offered government-sponsored programs. Many churches, community centers and social services agencies also offer a variety of programs and classes for couples.