Marriage workshop for engaged couples starts Monday


There is no perfect handbook for marriage, but by attending a workshop on campus, students can increase their chances of having a successful marriage.

To prepare for marriage, students can attend a free four-week marriage workshop, which starts Monday and is based on what a healthy marriage looks like and premarital education.

The workshop contains four courses, which are from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in room 5519 of the Wilkinson Student Center.

The courses will be taught by Marty Erickson, an adjunct faculty member in the counseling and psychological services, and Marlene Williams, a clinical professor of counseling psychology.

The workshop is tailored to engaged couples, but is also open to newlyweds who have been married for six months or less. The reason the course was started was to help students who could not fit marriage preparatory classes in their schedule.

“I am a licensed marriage and family therapist [and] I’ve done premarital workshops like this in my private practice,” Erickson said. “Research has shown that premarital training and therapy can cut the divorce rate by 30 percent.”

Erickson said the classes are not a group therapy, but are a workshop. The counseling center tries to have one premarital workshop each semester, about six weeks before the semester ends, to try and maximize the number of engaged attendees. Currently the class is set up to hold 30 students, but the current location has the capacity to hold 70.

Chase Barnes, a junior from San Antonio, majoring in computer engineering, has been married for 10 months and encourages students to remember the relationship they have with their future spouse should take priority over wedding plans.

“It’s important to take a step back and continue focusing on your relationship,” Barnes said.  “It’s amazing how [my relationship with my wife] keeps growing, and it’s important to realize that and look forward to it, rather than get caught up in the small things that can potentially put hitches in your relationship.”

Barnes said his preparation for marriage with his wife included reading many Ensign articles.

Heidi Bolster, a senior from Huntington Beach, Calif., majoring in recreation therapy, also stressed the importance of reading talks from General Authorities.

“I would [encourage engaged students to] read conference talks and the Ensign,” Bolster said. “Also … read something that would bring up topics you would not bring up yourself, e.g. finances, sex and schedule. ”

Bolster has been married for two months and admits that not everything always goes according to plan, but encourages students to have a good attitude.

“Be patient, persistent and positive, and look for the good in every situation,” she said. “Remember to focus on what is most important and take one day at a time to better enjoy this exciting and happy time you have with your best friend and future spouse. ”

Erickson highly encourages student attendance for the workshop, but if students cannot attend, he suggests three steps for engaged couples to prepare for marriage:

1. Read premarital education books (healthy marriage, sexuality, communication)

2. Attend a premarital couples therapy, which they can receive at the BYU Counseling Center

3. Take the Relate premarital inventory, which can be accessed at

To sign up for the workshop, or for other questions and information on future workshops, email Marty Erickson at .

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