Marriage Prep:
Prepare for Your Marriage, Not Just Your Wedding

"Happily Ever After" is great, but what about the 10-year follow-up study? How do we make a great thing last, especially in the face of daunting divorce statistics? Learn effective ways of making the marriage you're going into the one you dream it will be.

Marriage Prep is perfect for engaged and newlywed couples.

There are two Marriage Prep options:

1. The Marriage Prep Class is two Saturday's from 9 am to 12 pm (6 hours total). I don't have one scheduled anytime soon, but could set easily set one up as soon as enough signed up for it, btw. This is a educational class/group setting with multiple couples and minimal sharing. The pre-marital class is $250/couple. See details below.

2. The Marriage Prep Coaching Package is a private training between the couple and myself. In this setting we not only cover the educational aspects we cover in the class (see below) but customize the process to their individual strengths, concerns and goals where we can discuss anything they want confidentially and in-depth, which obviously cannot be done in The Premarital Class. Also, we don't waste time covering the stuff in The Pre-Marital Class that are not relevant to the specific couple. This allows the time we do spend to be laser-focused and relevant to the couples specific needs.

  • Length: The couple can do more sessions if they like or need to, but six is the minimum. Scheduling is very flexible.
  • Cost & Session Structure: Pre-marital counseling is $900 for six sessions, which includes:
    • One 90-minute assessment session and five 60-minute sessions. As a session package this fee saves $50 off the price of the same sessions purchased separately.
    • You will leave with a clearly defined and customized "OUR WAY" Plan (think of it like a football team's playbook or contractor's blueprint).
    • Payment Options:
      • When money is an issue (when isn't it?!) I do accept payments over time and I don't charge interest or fees.
      • Many parents and grandparents have purchased The Marriage Prep Package for their children and grandchildren as a wedding gift that keeps giving throughout their entire marriage.
      • Scheduling: You can set up pre-marital counseling as you would schedule a regular appointment by clicking here.

The Marriage Prep Class is excellent general knowledge. The Marriage Prep Coaching Package is where the investment pays off year after year as they leave with a truly customized, specific plan focused only on making sure that the love they have now will truly last the way they want it. It's like buying marriage insurance. More people do The Marriage Prep Package more than any other service as the ROI value gained from it makes the fee look small in comparison.

Are you attending this workshop soon? Please fill out the Pre-Questionnaire which helps me craft a more tailored presentation to participant's feedback.

Course Details

Start your marriage right!

Give the best gifts: the gifts of knowledge, commitment, appreciation, communication and time together. This workshop is designed for pre-marital couples and newly married couples (married less than two years).

What's included:

  • Eight Sessions in Six Hours over two Saturday mornings! 6 hours of instruction, discussion, exercises, etc. See full details & schedule below.
  • The Four Couple Inventories.
  • Great Relationships Workbook full of the best of the best articles, worksheets, exercises, ideas and inspiring quotes.
  • Approaches that really work based on the best research and the PREPARE/ENRICH model. More info about the PREPARE/ENRICH model...
  • Refreshments.

Six Goals of the Program:

  1. To explore Relationship Strengths and Growth Areas
  2. To learn Assertiveness and Active Listening Skills
  3. To learn how to resolve conflict using the Ten Step Model
  4. To help the couple discuss their Family-of-Origin
  5. To help the couple with financial planning and budget
  6. To focus on personal, couple and family goals

Six Couple Exercises in Feedback Process:

  1. Building Strength and Growth areas
  2. Couple Communication Exercise
  3. Ten Steps for Resolving Couple Conflict
  4. Family-of-Origin Issues
  5. Financial Planning and Budget
  6. Personal, couple and family goals

Twenty Areas Assessed in each of the Four Couple Inventories

A. Focuses on Significant Issues for Couples (13 scales):

  • Communication
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Personality Issues
  • Financial Management
  • Marital Satisfaction
  • Leisure Activities Children and Parenting
  • Family and Friends
  • Realistic Expectations
  • Cohabitation Issues
  • Idealistic Distortion
  • Role Relationship
  • Spiritual Beliefs

B. Personality Assessment (4 scales):

  • Assertiveness
  • Self Confidence
  • Avoidance
  • Partner Dominance

C. Couple and Family Map (4 scales):

  • Family Map used to describe Family-of-Origin
  • Couple Map used to describe Type of Marriage/Couple Relationship

Curricula subject to change as needed without notice.


Two Saturdays, 9-12 each day.

Day 1 (1st Saturday)

8:30 AM
Welcome, Registration

Session 1: Explore Relationship Strength and Growth Areas
This session is devoted to providing couples with feedback from their Inventories. Using the Couple Report, couples are walked through the feedback process, giving them the opportunity to identify Relationship Strength and Growth Areas and to plan for future growth.

Session 2: Developing Assertiveness & Deep Listening Skills
Couples are taught how to improve their assertiveness and active/deep listening skills. These skills are the foundation for building and maintaining a good relationship.

Break & Refreshments

Session 3: Strengthening Communication skills
Communication is the lifeblood of a relationship. This session is designed to help couples increase their awareness concerning patterns of communication that presently exist in their relationship and to introduce skills that are useful for enhancing their ability to communicate.

Session 4: Resolve Conflicts using the Ten Steps Procedure
Learning to effectively handle conflict and the anger it produces is an essential skill for relationship growth. In this session, the focus is on accepting conflict as a natural part of relationships and learning ways to manage it in a constructive manner.

12:00 PM
Evaluations & End of Day 1.
Meet again the following Saturday for the second half.

Day 2 (2nd Saturday)

8:30 AM

Session 5: Explore Relationship and Family-of-Origin issues using the Couple & Family Map
One of the most vital influences in the early years of marriage is each partner's family of origin. This session focuses on understanding the impact of each partner's family-of-origin on their present relationship. The Map is introduced as a tool to help couples evaluate the effect of those families on their relationship.

Session 6: Develop a Workable Budget and Financial Plan
A significant issue for a high percentage of married couples surrounds their ability to manage financial resources. This session explores the various meanings which money can have in relationships and investigates ways to effectively handle finances as a couple.

Break & Refreshments

Session 7: Demystifying Marital Intimacy and Sexuality
Developing and maintaining intimacy is a primary goal for most couples. This session focuses on the importance of affirmation and affection in marriage. It is designed to help couples find a variety of ways to create intimacy, including through their sexual relationship.

Session 8: Develop Personal, Couple and Family goals
Change is inevitable but growth is intentional. This session focuses on the importance of partners taking responsibility for growth in their relationship and helps them formulate a plan for continued progress. Couples focus on their personal, couple and family goals and develop an action plan using the CHANGE Model.

12:00 PM
Evaluations & Farewells

Note: descriptions in session summaries are from the PREPARE/ENRICH Counselor's Manual. This workshop is based on the PREPARE/ENRICH model as it is one of the most well-researched approaches available and is considered the best-practice in the field of pre-marital and marital enhancement work.

    About the PREPARE/ENRICH Pre-Marital & Marriage Enhancement Approach

    Scientifically Developed and Tested:

    • National Norms based on:
      • 350,000 couples for PREPARE
      • 150,000 couples for PREPARE-MC
      • 150,000 couples for ENRICH
      • High Levels of Validity and Reliability:
      • PREPARE has validity in that it discriminates premarital couples that get divorced from those that are happily married with about 80-85% accuracy. Reliability is high (alpha reliability of .80 - .85).

    The Developers

    DAVID H. OLSON Ph.D. Professor, Family Social Science, University of Minnesota; Developed ten diagnostic tools and Circumplex Model; Licensed Consulting Psychologist and Licensed Marital & Family Therapist, State of Minnesota.

    JOAN M. DRUCKMAN Ph.D. Marriage and Family Counselor, Palo Alto, California; Co-directed study on "Effectiveness of Five Types of Premarital Preparation Programs."

    DAVID G. FOURNIER, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Child and Family Development, Oklahoma State University; completed study of reliability and validity of PREPARE. Former Director, Marital & Family Therapy Program.

    For more information about research with PREPARE Inventories, see Research Studies on

    Changed Lives! Clergy & Participant Testimonials

    "One of the greatest relational tasks on life’s journey is building a strong family. We are committed to helping you keep those most sacred ties healthy and growing. Learning Jonathan Sherman’s key to relational wholeness will give you the tools to be the best partner, parent, or grandparent you can be, whether you are single or married, with or without children! These foundational skills apply to all core relationships!"
    –Rev. Janet Forbes, St. Luke's Methodist Church, in regards to Jonathan Sherman's "Building Strong Marriages & Families with ACCCTS"

    "We took your six hour workshop six years ago when we were first married. Six years later we still use what we learned. It's saved our marital-butt many times and has allowed the love we started with to grow stronger and stronger each year."
    —Young married couple, first marriage.

    Audio Testimonial:

    Hear the full audio testimonial
    (1:34min) from her sermon Relationship: The Heart of Ministry Rev. Janet Forbes

    Audio Testimonial:

    Hear the full audio testimonial
    (2:03min) from her sermon Celebrating Hearts for Ministry describing right relationship, trim tab, and Jonathan Sherman

    Many MORE comments here...

    Spreading the Word & Filling the Seats

    Sometimes someone wants a pre-marital workshop when there isn't one currently scheduled. No problem. Just gather five or more (no more than 20 couples) and I'll be happy to schedule a workshop as soon as you like!

    Registration & Fees


    Only $250.00 per couple. That's six hours of instruction for two people!

    I do realize, though, for some starting out this may seem expensive. I urge you to Count the Cost. This small investment of your time and resources can pay big dividends in both the short- and long-term life of your marriage and family. Many parents and grandparents know this and are more than happy to help with the cost. Inquire about scholarship options if finances are an issue.

    RSVP: Reserve your space today.

    Payment and Registration Options:

    • REGISTER NOWonline: You can pay with your credit card, debit card or check online safely, securely and conveniently via PayPal.
    • NOTE: Gift Certificate Holders: To register simply email or call me at 801.787.8014 and I'll be happy to reserve your space.

    © 2001-2017 Jonathan D. Sherman, Bardos Relationship Consulting. All rights reserved