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The "OUR WAY" Marriage Plan:

Prepare for Your Marriage, Not Just Your Wedding

Please share this with someone you know who is contemplating marriage, is engaged or recently married. You may save them years of unnecessary frustration and sorrow!

Start your marriage right!  "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 such daunting divorce statistics? Learn effective ways of making the marriage you're going into the one you dream it will be.

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).

Marriage Prep is perfect for engaged and newlywed couples.

What is The “OUR WAY” Marriage Plan?

The “OUR WAY” Marriage Plan is comparable to a building’s blueprint, a football team’s playbook, a movie's script, and a business’ policy and procedure manual. 

Related Articles

Read the following articles to get a feel for some of the content we'll be discussing:

The “OUR WAY” Marriage Plan is comprised of the following 12 areas:

  1. Purpose, Vision, & Mission

  2. Rules & Roles

  3. Communication, Conflict Resolution, & Safety

  4. Love Languages & Operator’s Manuals

  5. Time Together &Time Apart

  6. Sex & Intimacy

  7. Money & Finances

  8. Parenting & Discipline

  9. Extended Family & Friends

  10. Religion & Spirituality

  11. Maintenance, Enhancement, & Romance

  12. Mentoring & Mastery

The “OUR WAY” Marriage Plan is both: 

  1. An all-encompassing view/mindset = "The WHY.”

  2. As well as a specific conflict resolution strategy with specific strategies for each area = "The WHAT.”

The "OUR WAY" Marriage Plan coaching package is a private training between the couple and myself. In this setting we not only cover the educational aspects outlined above, but also customize the information to the couple's individual strengths, concerns and goals. In this format we can discuss anything they want confidentially and in-depth, which obviously cannot be done in a traditional classroom or workshop setting. Also, we don't waste time covering general information 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 sessions is the minimum. Scheduling is very flexible and can be done locally or anywhere in the world via phone or video.

  • Cost & Session Structure: Pre-marital counseling is $825 for six sessions (6.5 hours), which includes:

    • One 90-minute assessment session and five 60-minute sessions. As a session package this fee saves $150 off the price of the same sessions purchased separately (normally $975).

    • You will leave with a clearly defined and customized "OUR WAY" Plan covering the 12 key relationship areas outlined above.

  • 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.

Return on Investment
A Marriage Prep Class is excellent general knowledge. However, The "OUR WAY" Marriage Plan 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.

What is The "OUR WAY" Marriage Plan based on?

  • 25+ years of experience as a counselor, marriage and family therapist, author, and speaker.

  • The evidence-based research of John M. Gottman, Ph.D.

  • The PREPARE/ENRICH Pre-Marital & Marriage Enhancement Approach

  • The larger body of research in marriage and family studies.

Article: Prepare for Your Marriage, Not Just Your Wedding

Most people get married to stay married, right? However, with fifty percent of first marriages and sixty-five percent of second marriages ending in divorce, it seems like a dicey proposition at best. The good news is that approximately two-thirds of divorces could be prevented with education and intervention. One of the absolute best ways to prevent divorce is to get that education and intervention as soon as possible—even before the problems arise.

The main problem most divorced couples report was their inability to manage and resolve conflict around various issues (most commonly: finances, parenting, in-laws and sex). The issues themselves, however, are less important than the impact of the conflict on both adults and children. For example, some of the deleterious effects of marital conflict are:

  • Destructive parental conflict is a key risk factor for both children and adults developing physical and emotional problems. Stress and conflict have major impacts on our physiological and emotional systems.

  • Poorly managed conflict is a predictor of marital distress, divorce and children’s acting out behaviors (such as aggressiveness, depression and anxiety).

  • Marital conflict can impact work productivity, increase stress and decrease life satisfaction.

Conversely, marriage researchers and therapists Jerry M. Lewis, M.D. and John T. Gossett, Ph.D. (Disarming the Past, 1999) define eight characteristics of a healthy marriage:

  1. Both partners work together to define the relationship

  2. The marital bond balances both closeness and time apart

  3. Both being interested in the other’s thoughts and feelings.

  4. Expressing feelings is encouraged.

  5. Managing conflicts so they do not escalate out of control or become overly discouraging.

  6. Well-developed problem-solving skills.

  7. Sharing common values.

  8. Well-developed ability to manage stress

Marriage education (either through counseling or workshops) works to help couples both prevent unnecessary conflict and manage necessary conflict more effectively so they can put their time and energy into the reason they got married in the first place: to enjoy one another’s company throughout their lives together.

So what is learned in premarital education? Couples learn the guiding principles (knowledge) and practical techniques (skills) to create, maintain and enhance a great marriage such as:

  • How to improve communication and understanding skills

  • How to improve conflict management and problem solving skills by learning how to “fight fair.”

  • How to balance love as a feeling with love as a behavior.

  • How to develop couple stress management strategies.

  • Learning to work together as a team.

  • Learning how to harness the power of acceptance and forgiveness.

  • Learning relationship enhancement skills such as appreciation, sacrifice, deep listening, friendship building

  • Learning the benefits of a healthy marriage and the impact on children. (such as happily married couples: live on average seven years longer; earn and save more money; tend to be more independent and less reliant on government services; have greater sexual satisfaction than unmarried people (really!); are safer as they experience less violence in the home. Children in happily married homes: tend to do better academically; are more likely to develop long-lasting marriages themselves; experience less violence and neglect; fare better emotionally and physically, and engage in fewer risky behaviors (i.e., sex, substance abuse, delinquency and suicide).

  • Learning what to expect in the course of your marriage. Removing blind spots and having realistic expectations can prevent a lot of headaches. Such as: dealing with the in-laws (yes you are marrying his/her family); negotiating and balancing work and family needs; understanding and responding to sexual differences; adjusting to becoming parents and figuring out how to develop “our” parenting style.

  • How to control finances so finances don’t control your marriage.

  • How to put each other first in all things.

Just as buying a car and then never maintaining it isn’t enough to keep it running, falling in love and living “happily ever after” isn’t enough to maintain a marriage. No marriage is guaranteed and marriage in and of itself is not the answer. How we relate to each other and treat our marriage is the answer. We must then do everything we can to make our marriages as strong as they can possibly be. I realize that not all marriages can and should be saved. However, there are many that can be saved and since you got married to stay married why not learn all you can to actually make that happen?

My encouragement to you is to look before you leap. Marriage education gives people a chance to take a good hard look at their relationship to see if marriage at this time with this person is really a good idea or not. And if you have already leapt learn all you can to make it rock solid and absolutely great.

Join me for the fun, upbeat and informative “Pre-Marital Workshop: Prepare for your marriage, not just your wedding.” This workshop is perfect for recently married couples, too. Space will be limited. This workshop will begin when class size is full. Call 801.787.8014, contact or visit to register and for more details.

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

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