Free marriage prep workshops to be offered on-campus

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Learn how to be married, before it’s too late.

Starting Monday, BYU’s Counseling and Career Center is offering a free four-week workshop for engaged and newly married students.

[media-credit name=”Photo courtesy of Heather Whitaker” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]
Brett and Heather Whitaker, married six months, are shown out on a date in Salt Lake City while they were dating last year. Heather said good communication helps ease the marriage transition.
Stephanie Davis, co-leader for the workshops, said the workshops are a condensed version of a semester long marriage prep course and will allow couples to practice necessary skills to help them when difficulties arise in marriage.

“If students have taken marriage prep classes before the workshops can be a refresher,” Davis said. “Students can learn some new things or remember things you’ve learned before.”

BYU professor Marty Erickson will be the instructor for the workshops. The workshops will feature exercises to do as couples as well as group discussion.

“It’s critical to attend as a couple,” Erickson said. “It’s important to share the experience together.”

The goal of the workshops is for couples who are engaged or newly married to have a place to learn and practice some skills for a positive relationship, Davis said.

“It’s just a fun experience,” Davis said. “The workshops are more interesting than regular, semester long classes and there’s no homework.”

The workshops are once a week for four weeks; students will cover topics that Erickson thought were important for BYU students specifically.

“We really tried to boil down the main things that are most critical for pre-martial education,” Erickson said.

Topics for the four workshops include:

1. What does a healthy relationship look like? Keys to a successful marriage.

2. Communication and handling conflict positively: Do you want to be right or do you want to be married?

3. Healthy sexuality in marriage: The talk your parents wanted to have with you.

4. Unity: Defining dreams of what you both want your marriage to be about.

“You don’t know what to expect in marriage, the workshops would  help students better understand what to expect,” said Heather Whitaker, a junior, married to Brett Whitaker for six months.

Whitaker said marriage takes work and a lot of love. To ease the transition, couples need to learn the best way to communicate with each other and how to be considerate of each other before they get married.

Erickson is a relatively new faculty member at BYU with a Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy. He’s worked as a therapist for 13 years and has spent the last few years in private practice.

In order to attend, students must contact Erickson by email prior to the workshop. His email is .

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