The importance of Relationship Education Before and During Marriage

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A couple of years ago, the state of Utah joined other states around the country and passed a Marriage Education Discount bill. The bill gives couples a discount on their marriage license when they complete marriage education or premarital counseling. I was really excited when the bill was being considered and even more excited when it passed. I signed the petition for the bill and shared information about the program across all of my social media platforms. Now I encourage every engaged couple I know to take advantage of the program, not just to save a little cash, but to start their marriage off on a good foot!

I feel strongly about relationship education both before marriage and throughout. I wish that I’d known more about marriage education when we were engaged so that we would have been motivated to take some classes before tying the knot. Now that I do know about it, I seek opportunities to participate as often as possible.

marriage education

Why Marriage Education is Important Before and After the Wedding

Marriage and relationship education provides you with an opportunity to learn new skills and tools that when put into practice, strengthen your marriage. Just as you wouldn’t stop taking music lessons or practicing daily after your first recital, you shouldn’t stop working on your relationship or learning things that will help you better your marriage as soon as you get married. We can always improve our communication skills, connect on a deeper level and learn more about each other. Relationship education gives you a chance to do these things in a casual atmosphere that includes an element of fun and makes it the perfect activity for date night!

I’m really excited about our upcoming date night with a relationship education component! We have the opportunity to listen to world renowned relationship expert, John Gottman and his wife, Julie! They are coming to Utah to speak at a date night event in the Salt Lake area in September. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunities and tickets are less than $75 per couple! It’s going to be an evening filled with entertainment, laughter and learning. I’m really excited to leave with new tools we can use to make our marriage better. If you want to join us, click here to purchase your tickets {partner link}!

married date night

So many couples wait until their marriage is struggling before they look into counseling or seek out relationship opportunities. When I discovered the field of Family Studies and started to pursue my degree, I knew that I could continue on to become a therapist, but I really loved the preventative side of the field. Preventative education encourages couples to strengthen the relationship that they have been building and work on challenges that they might have before those turn into bigger problems. I’ve seen classes for individuals to focus on developing healthy relationship skills while they’re dating, classes that help couples to be a better team as they tackle life together, and even classes for blended families that help them merge their family cultures and address common challenges that come with remarriage.

Related: How Family Life Education Benefits You

There are many ways to participate in relationship education together. I love teaching classes and speaking at workshops and love to attend them for my own learning as well. I know not everyone is excited about the idea of such a public setting for learning how to have a better marriage, and lucky for them, there are a lot of great ways to learn at home! Below are some of my favorite ways to increase my knowledge and better myself as an individual and a wife.

date night ideas

Types of Marriage Education for Couples

Books

If you love to read or listen to audio books, you can get some good education at home! I know a lot of couples who have their own book club and I think this would be a fun way to learn together! Read together every night and discuss what you’ve read, or read the books on your own before planning a date night to discuss the book and the concepts that you want to work on in your own relationship. Click here for a list of my favorite books for couples or check out my Pinterest board for some other ideas of books I’ve heard great things about, but haven’t read yet myself.

Podcasts

I’ve really gotten into podcasts this past year and think they are a great form of self development. You can find podcasts in all genres, even marriage! Click here for a list of my personal favorites, that I update every time I find a new one worth listening to. A lot of podcasters have the opportunity to interview experts in the field and share those lessons and skills with you for free through their platform. Podcasts are an awesome resource and can be listened to while you drive in the car, clean the house, go for a walk or sit in the dark before bed.

Websites

Blogs and websites are a great resource as well! I have a list of reputable sites, put together by people in the field of relationship education who really know their stuff. If you follow us on Facebook, you’ll see links to articles that I’ve found that I feel are valuable for other couples to read. This is a good way to learn something new daily that you can apply to your marriage and other relationships in your life.

Online Conferences

I love building an online community because I know that it’s a great way to reach more people with my message, and in this day and age, that’s where everyone is hanging out. Online conferences, webinars and video series are convenient because they can be accessed when your schedule allows and are often available for replay or lifetime access for a small fee.

Interactive Classes

These are some of my favorite to both teach and attend. These types of classes are usually labeled as a date night and they have a fun activity component that leads to some learning and practicing the skills learned. One of the favorite that I’ve attended was a love languages class and I’ll be helping with a grilling date night next month that also includes a relationship education component. If you have a spouse who is hesitant to participate in marriage education, looking for free local classes like these, offered through the extension might be a good option.

Workshops or Events

The rest of the relationship education opportunities I’ve attended, spoken at or seen advertised are longer and more involved. Some, like the Gottman date night we’ll be attending or the wives only workshops that I’ve spoken at, include multiple speakers, a few fun activities and last a few hours. Others are all day events with multiple classes, relationship building activities and often include a meal or two. I’ve even seen overnight events put on by different church groups or professionals, and these include lots of learning, meals and fun opportunities to connect with your spouse.

marriage counseling

As you can see, no matter what stage of life you’re in, what your budget looks like or how much time you are able to devote to education, there is an option for you. There is no reason you shouldn’t be continually working on your marriage and doing all that you can to make it better every single day. I have a passion for marriage education, and I hope that reading this post has given you a glimpse of how awesome it can be!

I would challenge you to make marriage education of some kind a priority at least once a quarter! Grab your favorite takeout and learn at home, or make a night of going out to eat and attending a local class, workshop or event.

Photography by Sadie Banks Photography

Why relationship education is important for your marriage before you tie the knot and for years after!