For couples who have made a commitment to be married (whether you have a date set or not).

Congratulations on your Engagement! 

In order to increase your odds of making your marriage to this person – whom you are head over heels in love with – a marriage that lasts a lifetime, we suggest a proactive marriage preparation program. For specific suggestions on what to include in YOUR marriage preparation program, click on Marriage Preparation Suggestions. You will also want to check out the “Romance, Rice & Reality” workshop for engaged and newlywed couples, or the “First Dance” program that is specifically for engaged folks involved in planning a wedding!

And one other thing. Continue to invest in this marriage relationship even after the wedding! Would you buy a new car and then never change the oil? Of course not – you recognize the importance of “preventive maintenance” for your car. The same exact principle applies to your marriage. We strongly suggest that every married couple participate in some sort of structured “Marriage Enrichment” program every year of their marriage; that’s one of the best ways to “keep your love alive”. We even have a section on this web site of special programs for Newly Married Couples; check it out either now, or soon after you are married.

By the way, for some interesting marriage rituals you might want to consider adding to your wedding plans, or to your life as newlyweds, see the list at www.smartmarriages.com/intentionalmarriage. Some great fun ideas!

Marriage Inventories 

One of the keys to successful premarital preparation is to get the couple to bring out and discuss any emotional or family “baggage,” conflicting attitudes, unrealistic expectations or other problems that may become potential hotspots in a marriage. An excellent way to do this is by use of a marriage inventory – a personal questionnaire filled out by each of the couple as a part of their premarital preparation. On the basis of their answers to a couple of hundred questions, the instrument is scored to indicate strengths and weaknesses of the relationship, along with possible trouble areas. These can then be discussed with the couple in premarital preparation, either by appropriate clergy or a mentor couple.

The inventory materials and the scoring are priced reasonably. Generally, they must be administered and/or interpreted by someone who has been trained in that particular method.

The three best-known variants are:
FOCCUS/ReFOCCUS (www.foccusinc.com)
(FOCCUS for premarital, ReFOCCUS for married couples, and a new spiritually-oriented package called BRIDGES)
PREPARE/ENRICH (www.lifeinnovations.com)
(PREPARE is for premarital, ENRICH is for existing marriages, and there is a new version, PREPARE-CC for cohabiting couples)
RELATE (www.relate-institute.org)
(RELATE for dating, engaged or married couples, and READY for currently uncommitted individuals)

In Central Virginia, we are blessed with several trainers for these programs.

Potential Events or Resources for you:

Premarital Preparation
Premarital Workshops