On Saturday I participated in a training workshop for the premarital and marriage counseling program Prepare/Enrich. It seems like a really helpful tool! I have quite a bit of training in counseling from my undergrad in psychology, an internship in marriage and family therapy, pastoral counseling classes in my MDiv and helping with premarital counseling for an internship during my master's program, but Prepare/Enrich seems like it will give more focus to counseling sessions. It has an online assessment that each person in the couple takes, then it gives the counselor and the couple an easy-to-understand packet detailing the couple's strengths and "growth areas." There are a bunch of exercises the couple can then practice, with the help of the counselor, to get stronger in their "growth areas," such as communication, conflict resolution, etc. It also helps couples think about the similarities and differences between their families of origin and the family they want to create together.
I would love to get more involved in premarital and couples counseling. It's something I enjoy because I think a life-long partnership is both amazing and wonderful as well as one of the most difficult things you'll do in life. It's funny how the person you love the most can also be so hard to communicate with! Joel and I have found over the years that when we use the stuff we learned in our premarital counseling, it actually works really well and we can overcome things we were having difficulty talking through on our own.
I'm pretty sure this is the program our premarital counselor, Stan, used with us, but it's been a few years so I don't remember for sure... At any rate, I'm excited to actually use these tools with Joel because we've been talking about brushing up on some of that stuff, just for a "tune-up," since our ten year anniversary is coming up this summer!
And if any of you in the area are interested in premarital counseling or couples counseling, and/or if you want me to perform your wedding, let me know. It's something I'd like to get into doing more.