For the fourth year in a row, BYU’s Counseling and Psychological department is offering a premarital workshop for young couples who are either engaged, thinking about getting engaged, or newlywed. The workshop is designed to help couples create a resilient, healthy, hopeful and sustainable marriage to meet the stresses and challenges of life with love.
Marty Erickson, a marriage and family therapist and a part-time administrator in the Counseling and Psychological Department at BYU, is one of the premarital workshop’s directors. He said premarital education and counseling have been shown to have wonderful benefits for a couple’s marriage over the long run.
“Young couples have so much to deal with. They have a wedding to plan, finances to manage and a lot of the time actual marriage preparation doesn’t happen. They don’t realize until after they’re already married that it would have been a good thing to do,” Erickson said. “Marriage preparation programs like this have been shown to cut the divorce rate by more than 30 percent. We’re excited for the opportunity to help couples right from the start to create the kind of marriage they both want.”
The workshop consists of four two-hour sessions, each with a different theme. Topics this year will include communication, unity, what a healthy relationship looks like and healthy sexuality.
Kathryn Hixson, a student who attended the workshop last winter semester, said the workshop helped her and her husband transition from an engaged to a married couple.
“Some people have asked us since we were married if it was a big adjustment and if we have struggled with it at all yet — we’ve been married seven months now. Obviously, we have small ups and downs just like before we were married, but the adjustment hasn’t been that big, and we attribute it to having realistic expectations and taking time before we were married to learn about what a healthy marriage requires,” Hixson said.
Jacob Albrechtsen, a student who attended the premarital workshop last winter, agrees. He said the adjustment of expectations was critical for both him and his wife.
“We feel that the workshop helped us to understand at least a little better what to expect in the relationship of marriage, and it has helped us to have reasonable and respectful expectations of one another,” Albrechtsen said. “When we have run into difficult situations as a newlywed couple, as all couples do, we have been able to refer back to the shared experience of the workshop and refresh our memories.”