Marriage courses and counseling are both often suggested for couples looking to strengthen their relationship. But what is the difference between the two?
Traditionally, most couples attend marriage counseling to fix a problem at hand or to get to the root of an issue that is already plaguing the relationship.
Marriage courses, on the other hand, usually consist of a series of sessions and lessons designed to build a strong marriage. These pre-marriage counseling courses are designed for engaged couples to reinforce their relationship before walking down the aisle.
Whether you and your spouse are just about to tie the knot or you’ve been married for many years, here is what marriage courses can do for you.
What Marriage Courses Teach You
Baring your soul to a complete stranger or taking an actual class on how to be a better spouse isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It can be very difficult to be vulnerable with someone you’re in a marriage with – let alone a complete stranger!
Still, couples who want reassurance that they’re both going into their marriage with the same ideas and expectations will greatly benefit from counseling.
Whether you’re seeking counseling in person or are looking online, here are just some of the benefits you’ll experience after taking a marriage course.
Growing apart and being unable to communicate with one another play a large role in why many marriages don’t stand the test of time. In a study of 886 divorcing couples, 53 percent cited the inability to communicate as the biggest reason for splitting up.
Looking online for marriage counseling or seeking a counselor in person can help couples learn how to express themselves and fight fair.
When a sexual connection is missing or perhaps mismatched in a relationship it can leave one or both partners feeling frustrated.
One spouse may perceive the other’s lack of interest in sexual activity as a lack of interest in the marriage itself. This can lead to low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness, depression, resentment, and temptation to look outside the marriage for both emotional and physical fulfillment.
Marriage courses can help couples learn how to navigate around sexual issues. A counselor can also help open the door to talking about sex, past experiences, and expectations within the marriage.
Problems with anger and abuse
Many people deal with substance abuse and anger problems. These are serious issues that should not be brought into a marriage.
Statistics show that 10 percent of children living in the US have a parent who is dealing with addiction. Substance abuse, whether it is alcohol or drugs, can have a devastating effect on children – not to mention a romantic relationship.
Seeing marriage counseling can help the addicted spouse identify their problem and take positive steps going forward to correct any behavioral problems that could negatively affect the marriage.
These are just some benefits of marriage counseling, but the list goes on. Learning about spousal triggers, past experiences, raising children/starting a family or forming a blended family, and learning how to handle temptation and infidelity are some other issues you may touch on during therapy.
The Best Marriage Counseling Sites Online
1. Focus on the Family
Focus on the Family is a couples counseling website that views things from a religious perspective. Uniquely, this website has a “Request a Prayer” submission, where couples can send in their prayer requests, which are kept purely confidential.
This website offers free counseling sessions about marriage, parenting, and life challenges. Appointments are made by phone at no cost.
They also offer a Focus on the Family Broadcast, which is a question and answer podcast about improving your life.
We’d be remiss not to mention our own website as a great resource for couples! By using our online marriage course, couples will learn everything they ever need to know about building happier, stronger marriages.
This course offers lessons on communication, navigating the financial challenges that often stress couples out, and how to build intimacy in marriage.
Other topics covered in this course include traditions, shared goals, and having empathy and compassion for one another.
This engaging marriage course features instructional videos, quizzes, and lists for you to better understand your partner.
Marriage.com also offers a wealth of information about pre-marriage advice, marital communication, emotional intimacy, raising a family, and counseling.
3. The Five Love Languages
Created by Dr. Gary Chapman, this website has a lot of great resources for couples. Here you will learn how to read your spouse’s “Love Language“, of which Dr. Chapman believes there are five: Acts of service, quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation, and receiving gifts.
The quizzes and tests on this website will help couples learn how to be on the same page with their love. There is also a blog, podcasts, videos, apps, book recommendations, and other free resources for couples listed on the website.
4. Bliss Counselling
Bliss Counselling is a team of sexologists, counselors, social workers and psychotherapists who all agree that therapy sessions should differ from couple to couple. That’s why Bliss uses a wide variety of Psychotherapy and Counselling methods to help couples receive specialized support that is unique to their circumstances. Just some of the counseling techniques used are:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- EMDR therapy
- Solution-focused therapy
- Sex therapy
These online e-counseling sessions can be “attended” weekly or bi-weekly via Skype or telephone. Your therapist will then create a program that is unique to your marriage and the problems you are facing.
5. The Marriage Course
This website has created a series of seven online counseling sessions that are designed to help couples invest and strengthen their marriage. The sessions consist of:
- Building strong foundations
- Resolving conflict
- Having great sex
- How family impacts the relationship
- Love in Action
The unique courses are said to include food, a practical talk, and private discussion between spouses. These online marriage courses are fantastic for those who are wary of attending in-person therapy, as these sessions are only to be shared between partners.
Do you want to have the best marriage possible? If you are newly engaged, marriage courses can be of great benefit to you and your spouse. Pre-wedding counseling may take some personal investment, patience, and vulnerability on your part, but it is entirely worth it to strengthen your upcoming marriage.