Despite the fact that a great deal is now known about how marriages live and die, there is no simple formula for keeping any given marriage strong. Over time, two partners must find a way to keep their friendship alive, their life goals and expectations in sync, their emotions and passions transparent and communicated, their commitments intact and their boundaries, both as a united couple and as separate individuals, unbroken. Commitment, flexibility, compromise, consciousness and more than a little luck are required for these things to happen.
Marriage skills training classes exist to teach couples ways to keep their marriages strong. Such seminars are offered for couples in all stages of committed relationship from engagement through living together, to long-married. Communication, soothing and relationship strengthening skills are taught proactively in these classes (as opposed to reactively during marital therapy for an already troubled relationship). Learning relationship enhancing skills during times of marital harmony is a good idea, as it helps prepare couples to better recognize and cope with stressful events.
Marriage skills training classes are offered in many communities through various institutions including clinics, universities and religious organizations. Although individual trainers, therapists and clergy may individually produce excellent curriculums, there are also national programs that are worth seeking out. In selecting a program, keep in mind that programs based on scientific evidence are more worth the price of admission than are ideology-based programs as they will be more likely to provide solid helpful and realistic advice.
A listing of national programs follows:
The Gottman Institute
Couple Communication Seminars