Lessons In Lasting Love
By Lindsey Palmer
Want to divorce-proof your bond? Try taking a course in Love 101.
Just a few hours of marriage education can lower your chance of divorce by 31 percent, according to a recent Journal of Family Psychology study. And experts say any couple can benefit from heading back to love school, no matter how long you've been hitched. "We used to think only bad marriages end in divorce," says Diane Sollee, director of the Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education. "But it turns out a lot of people are just misinformed about how to make a marriage work." Here's the scoop on how to get smarter about marriage.
● What is marriage education?
Marriage education courses can be anything from short, lecture-style classes to weekend workshops to weeklong cruises. "Most people go into marriage with the idealistic notion that they're becoming one with their perfect soul mate," says Sollee. "These classes, which are led by therapists, ministers, and regular people, address the reality of what marriage is - a team of two people with two histories, two skill sets, and two perspectives to bring to every issue, which will inevitably lead to lots of conflict."
● What exactly do you learn?
Most classes teach skills for handling all that conflict. Surprisingly, successful and unsuccessful couples fight the same amount and about the same things (money, kids, sex); it's a couple's ability to manage those disagreements that's the best predictor of whether they'll stay together. Depending on the class, you might also learn how to improve communication, keep your sex life hot, or just have more fun together.
● How do you find a class?
Classes are held at places like community centers, colleges, and churches. They might be free (say, at a church) or cost up to $650 per couple for a full-weekend, two-day course. Check out SmartMarriages.com for listings, and sign up to start learning to love better.
8 Ways to Say "I Love You"
It sounds even sexier in another language.
Je t'aime (zhuh tem)
Te amo (teh ah-moh)
Watashi wa anata o aishite-imasu (wa-ta-shee wa a-na-ta o a-ee-shee-tee-ee-ma-su)
Ti amo (tee ah-moh)
Mi amas vin (mee ah-mahs veen)
Aloha au ia 'oe (ah-low-ha wow ee-ah oh-ay)
Ya lyublyu tebya (yah lyoo-blyoo tee-byah)