Sunday, April 18, 2010

Prepare-enrich certification

Yesterday I attended an all-day seminar to get my certification to use the Prepare-Enrich pre-marital/marriage counseling program. It was actually pretty good, and I'm glad I went. It was from 9 am to not-quite 4 pm at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne. Our presenter seemed to want to get the 6 hours of training done in less than 6, and he accomplished that. I believe there were 18 people there altogether. I think I heard him say 6 were graduating students, and the rest were from "outside" the seminary who just wanted to use the material. Apparently this instructor offers this training to all graduating students, and allows anyone else to attend who hears about it on the Prepare-Enrich website. I paid $166, which covers the materials, gives me my online password, and lunch and snacks for the day.

I went with Steve, and we had a heck of a time finding the place. I had never been to Concordia, but I knew where it was. However, once you wind your way through Martin Luther Drive, it was even more of a challenge finding which building we were meeting in. No one bothered to mention that. So after walking around the entire campus (there was also a confirmation camp going on - or something), we stumbled onto our classroom quite by accident. I also wasn't real happy that I emailed the instructor twice before registering and he didn't respond to either one. I know I could have called but still...

Perhaps the best thing about the training is that it is mostly video-based, and you get the DVD's with the training material, so you can go over it again. Sometimes I go through stuff, and if you can believe this, I forget it. So it will be nice to have a refresher always available.  Plus Jane can go through it with me, since we usually do pre-marital counseling together.

And I like the material - whether it is for pre-marital counseling, or just marriage counseling in general. It is not quite as specific as what I currently use (which is just a hit-and-miss conglomeration of things I've put together), but it more teaches the couple how to process and work through things on their own. They start with an on-line assessment - which is customizable depending on age, life-situation, and several other factors; then the topics covered are things like communication, conflict resolution, and so on, along with the regular topics like finances, sex, and the like. There are good exercises and handouts and such. I like the material.

I thought it was interesting too that they note the divorce rate for 1st marriages is 45-50%, but for multiple marriages it is 60-75%. Apparently going through a Prepare-Enrich program reduces those numbers by 30%.

A couple good quotes in the workbook:
  • "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf." ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • "Anyone can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way - that is not easy." ~ Aristotle
  • "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
  • "Marriage is a team sport; you either win together or lose together."
And I thought this was a great question: "Do you control the stress in your life, or does stress control you?"

Counseling is not one of my strong suits, but I definitely feel better about it after attending this seminar. Now I'm looking forward to Jane and I taking the couples assessment. Maybe there is hope for our marriage yet. :)