Most people don’t know the underlying reason for Freshly Married being here. It’s because relationship education is important! And yet so many people have either never heard of it before, are intimidated by it, scared of it, or assume it means you have relationship problems you need help with. WELL NEWSFLASH, WE ALL HAVE PROBLEMS! haha. But really.
Because I believe passionately that relationship education is a helpful tool for all relationships, not just marriage, I want to explain what relationship education is while addressing some misunderstandings so that you can feel more comfortable with seeking help.
My definition of relationship education (RE):
Programs, campaigns, and informational materials that teach relationship enhancing skills and principles that promote healthy interpersonal relationships.
Misunderstanding #1: RE isn’t just some boring class you get dragged to by your spouse. I said “programs, campaigns and informational materials” because relationship education comes in many forms! Most known types are smaller classes or interactive workshops like these that I teach, or longer conferences or retreats. The way I see relationship education moving towards are online videos or courses that couples or individuals can do in the comfort of their own home. (This is something I actually have in the works and will be announcing soon!) I also believe that relationship education comes in the form of simply reading credible articles on relationships that you see floating around on social media. Which brings me to my next point…
Misunderstanding #2: RE isn’t something commonly done … so we may think. I believe we participate in it more than we think we do. It’s not all about a big gesture like physically attending a workshop. It can be reading an article on websites like Freshly Married, searching online for helpful information about a specific problem you are having (we all do this!), and even as simple as following different social media accounts that share encouraging thoughts about improving relationships. YEP, every time you double tap to like a marriage quote, I believe you are participating in relationship education :)
Misunderstanding #3: Participating in relationship education does not mean your marriage is on the rocks. While you might be there because your relationship is not in a good place, even people who have a healthy relationship participate! And guess what? It probably makes their relationship even more healthy! Because the thing about relationship education is that it’s preventative. The idea is to learn skills and healthier ideas and techniques that can come in handy when the next inevitable bump in your marriage comes. That bump might not be so rocky if you know how to more effectively work through it together. This is the most frustrating reason to me for why people don’t go to workshops and such. They are afraid of what people will think. More people should be impressed that couples care enough about their relationship to want to improve it with help!
Misunderstanding #4: While people probably go for their marriage most often, it can be on relationships with ANYONE. There are several kinds of interpersonal relationships, aren’t there? So there are all kinds of classes and helpful material on the various kinds of relationships we will have in life. For example, I am certified to teach 7 different kinds of family education classes ranging from dating curriculum to fatherhood-focused curriculum.
I just hope that more people realize that relationship education is not a negative mark on your marriage. It doesn’t mean that one of you feels like your relationship is terrible! It’s OK to want improvement in your marriage and it’s OK to do something about it. I really think the best mentality to have towards relationship classes/workshops/events/courses is: “You know I feel like we are doing pretty good right now, even though we have our struggles in this one area. But maybe this class can teach us how to better understand it and work on it together. And maybe we will learn some other skills that can be useful to our relationship.”
If you are a wife, check out the upcoming workshop I’m holding in Utah in a few weeks called the “Wife Life Workshop!” And stay tuned for more local workshops that can enrich your marriage!