Relationship education, like therapy, is surrounded by a negative stigma. People perceive relationship education and therapy as something that you do only when your marriage is in trouble. Today I want to share a little bit more about my passion and why I have chosen the field of study/work that I did. February is Family Life Education month and I want to raise awareness to this valuable resource for couples and families. Relationship education is really another way that you can make your marriage a priority. By take part in classes and conferences centered on helping you improve your relationship, you are showing that you care and that your marriage matters to you.
When you are learning a musical instrument, you don't stop practicing after your first big recital, you pick a new piece of music to learn and work on it every single day. Your wedding day is like that first recital, and you have so many years and anniversaries to come. Leading up to your big day, you learn everything that you can about each other and you work every day to make your relationship great. You may even go to premarital education and learn all that you can to help prepare you for the changes that marriage will bring to your life. After you tie the knot and start your lives together, if you continue to work on your relationship and seek to learn new techniques, you will only get better. Professional musicians still practice on a daily basis, probably even more than they did when they were first starting out. And those professionals, even the ones who teach their talent to others, can be found taking lessons themselves.
Relationship education is like taking music lessons for your marriage. You'll learn something new every time you take a class and your marriage relationship will be better because you do. The more you work to implement the concepts you learn, the stronger your marriage relationship will become. You might find that you even enjoy the relationship education opportunities that you take advantage of! When I first started my Family Studies degree, I had a small number of internship hours that were required for a class I was taking. As part of that experience, I helped facilitate a community class on The 5 Love Languages. The class was informative and fun, filled with a lot of learning and some really fun activities and interaction between the couples in attendance. I learned a few things that I'd never thought about before, and that class was what prompted me to retake the love languages quiz and learn that my language had changed from when I took it before we got married.
If you are looking for relationship education opportunities, I have a few suggestions for you!
First, do you have a land grant university in your state and do they have any extensions that provide classes? We have one in our area that provides relationship classes and conferences around the state, and works in connection with Healthy Relationships Utah to provide resources and classes to families.
Next, I'd suggest looking up different relationship education programs, and finding out where they are facilitated near you. Search for marriage conferences, relationship education, premarital relationship classes, etc. There are a lot of good programs out there, many that I've participated in and even more that I'd love to participate in in the future.
I'd also suggest talking to your religious leader and find out what's available to you through the church that you attend. A lot of relationship education is facilitated by those leaders and they have been trained in whatever program they use. Other times, they know about different resources and opportunities that may not be as eay to find online.
Finally, look for experts in the field who provide online resources and courses that you can take without leaving the comfort of your own home. Some licensed marriage and family therapists have platforms that provide valuable training and knowledge to couples. There are a lot of bloggers, like me, who have an educational background in the field, who are passionate about family relationships and who want to help others create the strong marriage that they deserve!
Have you ever participated in relationship education of any kind? What was it and what did you think about it?