What is Relationship Education?

B. Miller

Relationship education is a process by which individuals and couples can learn more about each other as well as methods for communicating effectively, resolving conflicts, eliminating bad habits, and having an overall successful relationship. There are a few different main types of relationship education, and these may be classified as couples or family therapy, when a couple or family is having specific problem. The other, more common type is a type of pre-marital counseling and education that may be taken by a couple after they get engaged, but before they are married.

Effective communication can lead to a successful and happy relationship.
Effective communication can lead to a successful and happy relationship.

Some members of the clergy who are performing a marriage ceremony will require engaged couples to complete a relationship education course. This is occasionally taken with other couples who are getting married around the same time, but it is typically given on an individual basis. Depending on the couple's religious beliefs, the relationship education may be focused on religion and the specific ideas surrounding a healthy marriage and home life. Other relationship classes may be more general, focusing on more practical topics that are important for a successful marriage that some couples may not always think to discuss before getting married.

Some religious groups require engaged couples to undergo relationship education before agreeing to marry the pair.
Some religious groups require engaged couples to undergo relationship education before agreeing to marry the pair.

Communication skills and conflict resolution are often emphasized in relationship education, as well as taking responsibility for one's own actions and responding to one's partner with kindness rather than anger. In addition to behavior tactics in relationships, issues such as money, children, and sex will be discussed, as well as division of household responsibilities. This is because working out these issues ahead of time in pre-marital counseling and discussion can help to prevent problems from arising in the future. It is best for each individual to be honest about his or her hopes, expectations, and fears before getting married so the education and counseling is most effective.

Relationship education that is given as a part of marriage or family therapy generally has a slightly different tone and focus, since it is intended to address specific problems that have already developed. Some marriage or family therapists will give couples specific tasks to work on in between therapy sessions to try to overcome their difficulties and to try to give them better tools for communicating with and appreciating each other, or moving past difficult events in the past. Some people find that this type of relationship education can be very helpful for resolving problems in the family, and may be able to prevent separation or divorce as well.

Couples therapy is one form of relationship education.
Couples therapy is one form of relationship education.

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