Premarital Preparation

 

~  Getting Married? ~  

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And, an effective, research-based, professionally delivered, premarital preparation program is high on your gift registry – right?

If you answer “Why yes, of course! Why on earth would I consider something so life-changingly profound without some serious tire-kicking, research and advice!” then good for you.

You and your partner have already considered the top six benefits of  professional premarital preparation:

1. BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND ~ Just because you love someone very much does not a happy lifetime make. A premarital prep program which helps a couple dig more deeply into who each person is as an individual and how this person with this background might mesh with that person with that  background is vital for planning a life together.

2. GRASP THE ENORMITY OF THIS COMMITMENT ~ I mean, whom you marry will have THE biggest impact on every aspect of your life: Where you live; how you live; the rhythm of your days; your children’s genes and/or upbringing; your daily budget and your long term savings; your friends; your diet; your connection with your family of origin; your spiritual life; your recreation…. you get the point! Learning how to broach and discuss these topics with a spirit of curiosity and openness is a vitally helpful skill.

3. ENORMOUS PERSONAL GROWTH ~ A committed, long-term relationship is going to call you into places of deep personal awareness and growth like nothing else can. Learning how to allow this, how to respond without defensiveness and how to gracefully expand into the best possible version of yourself is something you’ll learn with good premarital consulting.

4. ANTICIPATE & PREDICT ISSUES ~ A bit like hearing there’s a storm coming allows you to put up the shutters and lay in extra food, getting an eyes-wide-open awareness for the areas in your relationship that are likely to be rocky allows you to prepare, and not be so side-swiped when they show up. Money, sex and anger are the “big three” but all sorts of differences which can seem small now might blow up one day – so skill up for this.

5. GET AN OUTSIDE OPINION ~ You know your love is vast and sound, but if you feel  vulnerable about exploring some issues before you even say “I do” it might be particularly wise to expose your relationship to the helpful wisdom of a licensed marriage and family expert. Not because he or she will find flaws and tell you you’re nuts, but because it helps to normalize rough spots and frictions, see yourselves from the outside, and feel free to talk with a trusted professional who has only your couple success at heart – not familial loyalty and impossibly high expectations.  

6. SKILL UP! ~ This will not come as a surprise, but people have been getting married and divorced for a very long time and by and by some social scientists and researchers have been paying attention. There is excellent evidence based research out there from which you can benefit – but only if you know about it. Setting aside some time to learn about principles and practices that foster love, connection and attachment will be one of the best educational investments you ever make over your lifetime if you want to boost your chances of creating a loving, secure, mutually satisfying relationship.

Ready To Sign Up?

A great gift for the first time soon-to-be-newly-weds in your family ~

$500 Package – which includes

  • 1 x 60 minute on-line computer assessment through PREPARE/ENRICH –
    the most advanced couple assessment tool available;
  • 1 customized summary of your couple assessment: Sample Couple Report;
  • 2 PREPARE/ENRICH Couple’s Workbooks with 20+ exercises designed to increase your knowledge and teach key skills proven to build stronger marriages;
  • 1 PREPARE/ENRICH Certificate of Completion (some wedding facilities ask for this);
  • 3 x 90 minute sessions with Gemma to understand/process your assessment;
  • 1 copy of John Gottman’s Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work;
  • 1 x 90 minute session going more deeply into any of the Seven Principles that you feel would most benefit your particular relationship.

Seeing me privately is $100 an hour so this package represents $712.94+ in Value ~

  • $600 for 6 hours @ $100 private LMFT consulting services
  • $100  (typical price facilitators charge their couples to take the assessment))
  • $12.94 The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

NOTE – Details of the on-line PREPARE/ENRICH assessment and The Gottman Seven Principles are below. Please scroll down.

 OR

A fabulous gift for the seasoned second or third-time-around couple who want to be sure that this time they get it right – straight out of the gate.

$1000 Package – which includes

  • 1 x 60 minute on-line computer assessment through PREPARE/ENRICH –
    the most advanced couple assessment tool available;
  • 1 customized summary of your couple assessment: Sample Couple Report;
  • 1 PREPARE/ENRICH Couple’s Workbook with 20+ exercises designed to increase your knowledge and teach key skills proven to build stronger marriages;
  • 1 PREPARE/ENRICH Certificate of Completion (some wedding facilities ask for this);
  • 4 x 90 minute sessions with Gemma to understand/process your assessment;
  • 1 copy of John Gottman’s Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work;
  • 1 x 90 minute session going more deeply into any of the Seven Principles that you feel would most benefit your particular relationship;
  • 5 hours of Email, telephone, or in-person consulting during your first 12 months of marriage to support you right when you need it most.

Seeing me privately is $100 an hour so this package represents at least  $1512.94 in direct value, and potentially $1000s more if working with me helps you avoid getting unnecessarily hurt in this first year and keeps the divorce attorneys permanently out of work.

  • $900 for 9 hours @ $100 private LMFT consulting services
  • $100  (typical price facilitators charge their couples to take the assessment))
  • $12.94 The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
  • 500 for 5 hours of telephone or email consulting during your first year
  • $1,000s potentially – if our work can prevent separation and divorce and instead flood you with the understanding, compassion and skills you need to build a robust, enduring love and friendship.

 NOTE – Details of the on-line PREPARE/ENRICH assessment and The Gottman Seven Principles are below. Please scroll down.

HOW TO SIGN UP

Email me at gemma@gemmautting.com with your names, email addresses, preferred phone numbers, the date of your wedding and a good time for me to call. I will get back to you within 48 hours to discuss options, timing and your preferences.

And again, congratulations! I am very excited for your love and impressed by your wisdom in bringing some solid, proven skill sets and abilities into the relationship.

HOW TO PAY 

Fees are due in full at the beginning of the program.

I accept

  • Cash
  • Checks
  • Mastercard / Visa / Discover / American Express
  • Paypal (gemma@gemmautting.com)

NOT CONVINCED?

That’s understandable. These days marriage is – more than ever – a conscious choice.

When the Pew Research Center asked a sample of Americans in 2010 what they thought about the “growing variety in the types of family arrangements that people live in,” 34 percent responded that it was a good thing, and 32 percent said it made no difference. Having a child outside of marriage has also become common. According to a report by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, 47 percent of American women who give birth in their 20s are unmarried at the time.

from a NYT article, April 27, 2013

Getting married with no investment in relationship skills is a bit like starting a business –  that will consume all your energy and resources now and forever – without any training in business strategy, planning, budgeting, hiring and firing, setting business goals or marketing. You might make a profit and you might still be in business for your 50th anniversary but will you have enjoyed the ride?

Sure, there are all kinds of benefits that married couples can claim including financial and health advantages, but the deeper truth is that these advantages disappear when couples aren’t happily married.

So, getting a jump start on any and every tool that helps you cultivate and nurture a great relationship should be a high priority.

Premarital counseling is the smartest decision that any couple can make, and you don’t need to be religious to try it. No matter how cohesive a couple may be, problems and differences will inevitably arise, so premarital counseling really functions like the best insurance policy a couple could ever purchase.

Seth Meyers, PsyD

Are there any guarantees for how to have a happy marriage? No. But there some resources that have been proven to increase your odds.

If you’re at all pro-active and keen to do all you can to set your marriage up for success right at the get-go, I have two data-driven, results oriented, proven-to-be useful suggestions for you.

  1. LEARN ABOUT THE TWO OF YOU –  Using a fun, stimulating, customized, on-line questionnaire you can begin to discover how your particular set of life experiences, personalities, families of origin, spiritual leanings and hopes will mesh together over time. Once you’ve responded to the on-line questions, we meet over a series of 4 sessions to review your answers and initiate pro-active, respectful conversations with an attitude of curiosity that models moving beyond good/bad and right/wrong thinking about those areas where you may disagree.
  2. DISCOVER WHAT MAKES GREAT RELATIONSHIPS no matter how similar or different you are. Leveraging relationship expert John Gottman’s research as our guide, delve into his Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work.

Gottman’s principles are research-based. He and his colleagues have studied hundreds of couples (including newlyweds and long-term couples); interviewed couples and videotaped their interactions; even measured their stress levels by checking their heart rate, sweat flow, blood pressure and immune function; and followed couples annually to see how their relationships have fared.


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Gemma Utting, MA, LMFT A trained educator with The Gottman Institute.

 What will you learn about yourselves using PREPARE/ENRICH?

Once you and your partner have completed the questions on-line (about an hour) – you’ll receive a customized report like this one.

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Sample Couple Report

Then we’ll set up a series of conversations and have fun hearing from both of you about where your responses are similar, and where your responses are different. There are NO bad answers! The whole point is to create a safe place to begin conversations that – believe me when I tell you this – many many couples never have until they smack into an issue after years of tension and conflict.

 

You’ll be able to get curious with one another about ~

  • how you talk to one another / your communication styles
  • conflict resolution
  • partner styles and habits
  • money
  • leisure
  • sexuality and affection
  • family and friends
  • relationship roles
  • spiritual beliefs
  • children

And, spend time together thinking about how your differences can be used to strengthen your relationship, rather than undermine it, using SCOPE – the five factor model of personality

  1. Social ~ extroversion vs introversion
  2. Change ~ dependable vs open to change
  3. Organized  ~  conscientious vs easy going
  4. Pleasing ~ agreeable vs competitive
  5. Emotionally Stead ~ calm vs sensitive

We’ll also look at ~

  1. Relationship dynamics – assertiveness, self-confidence, avoidance and partner dominance;
  2. Family of origin maps – contrasting closeness and flexibility;
  3. Personal stress profiles – assessing current and potential future stressors;
  4. Satisfaction  – how you measure individual and relationship satisfaction;
  5. Commitment – each partner describes their commitment to the relationship and how they think their partner feels about commitment;
  6. Abuse and substance abuse – physical, emotional, verbal, sexual abuse are examined for couples as well as assessing how substance and sexual additional may be impacting the relationship;
  7. Customized Conversations such as ~

~  General Issues

  • co-habitation issues
  • cultural and ethnic differences
  • character traits
  • problems from previous marriages
  • forgiveness

~  Parenting Issues

  • Couples with no children
  • Planning to have children some day
  • Becoming parents (pregnancy & first child)
  • Currently parenting
  • Step parenting expectations
  • Inter-generational issues

~  Older Couples

  • Health issues
  • Role transitions
  • Inter-generational issues
  • Sexual relationship in later life
  • Financial management in later life

You’ll benefit by receiving ~

  • a confidential, easy, online way to assess your relationship;
  • a customized report personally relevant to each of you;
  • a non-judgmental guide priming you to further explore your relationship;
  • a series of conversational openers based upon the questions & report;
  • feedback from your facilitator;
  • help identifying strengths and potential issues;
  • useful relationship skills you can apply to current and future issues.

NOTE

The PREPARE/ENRICH a process is not a test and it’s not predictive of marital satisfaction. However, it does have a strong research and scientific background with high levels of reliability and validity, national norms based on over 500,000 pre-marital and married coupled, and it has been validated with various ethnics groups and adapted for use in several other countries.

 

What will you learn from me about The Gottman Seven Principles Program?

Some things can be learned by reading about them – maybe you can bake a lasagna or plant a vegetable garden by reading the recipe and following the steps.

Some things can only be learned by jumping and learning by doing – like swimming or riding a bike.

Learning how to communicate effectively without being reactive, or how to say sorry so it lands, or how to build your love bank account rather than drain it – that sort of stuff, you’ve gotta learn by doing. And that’s where a trained relationship professional makes all the difference.

In my decades of experience working with people, I’ve learned this. Sometimes knowing what to do is not enough. Ever felt that?

I invite you to get curious with me about times when you’ve tried to reach out to your partner using “techniques” you read somewhere, and it’s not worked out so well for you. While you might think you’re behaving “by the book”, you’re not getting the results you want. What’s happening?

My guess is that what’s happening is that you and your partner get stuck in parts of you who are not so giving or resourceful from time to time, and that’s right when the real juice of being in relationship can be mined for the learning and growing that makes relationship THE best people growing mechanism on the planet!

So – this fabulous value-add to my Pre-Marital Program includes 90 minutes with me and – of course – your own copy of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, by Dr. John Gottman.

With more than a million copies sold worldwide, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work has revolutionized the way we understand, repair, and strengthen marriages. John Gottman’s unprecedented study of couples over a period of years has allowed him to observe the habits that can make—and break—a marriage. Here is the culmination of that work: the seven principles that guide couples on a path toward a harmonious and long-lasting relationship. Straightforward yet profound, these principles teach partners new approaches for resolving conflicts, creating new common ground, and achieving greater levels of intimacy. Gottman offers strategies and resources to help couples collaborate more effectively to resolve any problem, whether dealing with issues related to sex, money, religion, work, family, or anything else.
   Packed with new exercises and the latest research out of the esteemed Gottman Institute, this revised edition of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work is the definitive guide for anyone who wants their relationship to attain its highest potential.

 

Still on the fence?

Give me a call  on 208-340-8989. It’s my driving mission to help as many couples as I can leverage their love into a skillful, rewarding, loving and lasting relationship. I’m really keen to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

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