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Two Ways to Improve Marriage

by Antoinette & Leon Smith

We often hear that marriage enrichment is for couples who have a satisfying marriage that they want to improve. We say that the purpose of marriage enrichment is to make marriages better, but that marriage enrichment is not a substitute for therapy. How can a couple know which is appropriate for them? Here are some guides:

Marriage Enrichment

  1. Couples are ready for marriage enrichment when they want to face whatever is unsettling in their relationship. They believe they have potential for growth. 
  2. They can identify the problem(s) and issues in their marriage and agree on what they want to work on without the need of professional assistance to do it. 
  3. They are motivated to work on their marriage; they believe they have enough positives going for them to make their marriage worth working on. 
  4. Couples benefit from marriage enrichment when they can identify the problem areas and can talk about them enough to begin the process of growth. They are open to learning new skills to deal with issues. 
  5. When they identify and face a problem, they have an optimistic attitude about working on their relationship. Attention to their relationship helps rather than hinders growth and development. 
  6. In marriage enrichment couples may have some anger, but they are not so consumed by it that they try to destroy each other; rather, instead of attacking one another, they can face issues and deal with them constructively.

         For marriage enrichment trained leaders, contact

         The Association for Couples in Marriage Enrichment

         P.O. Box 21374 Winston-Salem, NC  27120

         Phone: (336) 724-1526 or (800) 634-8325


Counseling or Therapy

  1. Couples need therapy when they have a sense that something is wrong with their marriage, but they want to avoid facing it. One or both may deny they have a problem. 
  2. They recognize they have a problem but don’t know what it is. They have a lot of difficulty identifying the problem(s) or agreeing about what the problem is. 
  3. They feel overwhelmed by the negatives in their relationship and one or both feel like giving up. They feel that it’s not worth the effort. 
  4. Couples need therapy when they feel they just cannot talk about their problems even when they are able to identify them and agree on what they are. Perhaps they are too painful to bring up or to look at fully. 
  5. When trying to bring up a problem to work on it, they find talking about it only makes matters worse. Giving attention to their relationship makes them spiral downward. 
  6. Couples need therapy when they are so angry with each other that they want to hurt one another more than they want to focus on the problem; or when trying to face the problem, they find themselves trying to destroy each other.

         For a qualified marital therapist, consult

         The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy

         1133 15th Street, NW

         Suite 300

         Washington, DC 20005-2710

         Phone: (202) 452-0109


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