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An engagement is an exciting time in a couple’s life. They now look forward to the beginning of a new life together and the joining of two families. While most couples spend hours planning for the wedding, focused on dresses, cakes, photographers and seating arrangements, very few couples, unless they are required to do so by the church/synagogue performing the ceremony, focus their time on preparing for marriage. Premarital education or counseling can provide the basic relationship skills that couples need to form a healthy, successful marriage. Studies show that premarital education is effective in improving couple satisfaction overall.

According to practitioners, there are two general reasons why couples do not participate in premarital education courses. The first is a lack of awareness of their existence or benefit. The second is that the period of engagement is one during which couples look at each other through “rose-colored glasses.” Despite seeing divorce among their friends and families, the “it won’t happen to us” syndrome is alive and well. This how-to guide provides tips, strategies and sample materials to help workshop leaders engage this difficult-to-reach population. Keep in mind that the techniques provided in this material are geared toward a younger, first-time-married, engaged population. (Author abstract)