Athens, Ga. – PREPARE, a day-long workshop designed for engaged couples of all ages, will be offered Saturday, Oct. 2, at Sandy Creek Nature Center. PREPARE stands for Premarital Preparation and Relationship Enhancement.
“Participants in PREPARE report that they have a better understanding of their partners and of the strengths and growth areas of their relationship,” according to Ted Futris, who heads the program and is an assistant professor of child and family development in the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences. “They also say they’ve learned better ways to communicate their needs and wants; ways to listen more effectively; and ways to manage conflict.”
Research conducted by Futris that compares the PREPARE programs with sessions in which engaged couples meet for six sessions of 1½-2 hours with a trained counselor have shown that the one-day programs are just as beneficial as the longer-term programs, Futris said. The findings will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy.
“One-on-one sessions have always been considered the gold standard of counseling,” Futris said. “Knowing that a day-long program that can involve up to 10 couples can be just as effective opens the door to broader use of PREPARE by a range of professionals, including those in faith communities and county Cooperative Extension agents.”
While the majority of the 80 couples who have participated in PREPARE have followed through with their weddings, Futris said he has heard from some couples who postponed their nuptials after realizing they needed to deal with some issues.
“We conduct follow-up surveys two to three weeks after the program and again at six months,” he said. “The majority have said they’re happier with their relationship after participating in the program.”
PREPARE is open to couples in Clarke and surrounding counties. Registration is $60, but couples who complete the program will qualify for a $35 discount on their marriage license.