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Pre-Martial Enrichment Program

DALL·E 2023-11-12 20.53.13 - An image for a therapy website, emphasizing the metaphor of a
Premarital Education 1:1

Dive deep into the wisdom of the "Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work" enriched with additional insights. This course is inspired by the groundbreaking work from the relationship masters at the Gottman Institute. But, knowledge alone isn't power—how you use it is. The educational approach is about rolling up our sleeves and putting theory into practice. I'm here to guide and support you and your partner as you explore new skills and weave them into your relationship tapestry. Just a heads-up: while our sessions are therapeutic and we'll tackle real-life scenarios, this isn't traditional therapy—it's a toolkit to supercharge communication and connection via a structured educational approach.

Important note: If you're navigating a relationship storm or seeking immediate resolutions, this will not be the right fit. This isn't your typical couples therapy. Instead, I specialize in enrichment guidance for those looking to solidify their bond and learn relationship skills, whether you're heading towards marriage or simply committed to nurturing a new lasting relationship.  🌱💌


You will learn skills in the three key relationship areas:
(1) Keep conflict discussions calm

(2) Breakthrough and resolve conflict gridlock
(3) Strengthening a couple's friendship  
(4) Creating a couple's sense of shared purpose and meaning.

(5) Foster respect, affection and closeness

(6) Build and share a deeper connection with each other's inner world

Research shows that on average, couples wait 2.68 years* from the first sign of problems before they seek professional help. Increasingly, couples are proactive and getting the expert guidance they need to set their relationship up for success or fix their problems before they get worse.



The Gottman Method 

The class on the 7 principles for making a marriage work is designed to provide couples with practical tools and strategies to build and maintain a happy and healthy relationship. The class is based on decades of research conducted by Gottman and his team at the Gottman Institute, which has identified the key factors that contribute to successful, long-lasting marriages.

The class covers seven principles, which include enhancing your love maps (knowing your partner deeply), nurturing fondness and admiration, turning toward each other instead of away, accepting influence from your partner, solving solvable problems, overcoming gridlock, and creating shared meaning. By understanding and applying these principles, couples can strengthen their emotional connection, resolve conflicts more effectively, and deepen their intimacy and commitment to each other.

Each session of the program will adopt a structured format comprising a lecture delivered through

  • PowerPoint, 

  • Video presentation

  • An in-session exercise, a discussion focusing on the weekly theme

  • A practice goal accompanied by assigned readings between sessions.

  • Despite the structured nature of this program, flexibility is ensured to cater to individual needs but the amount of effort you put in between sessions can significantly impact its effectiveness.


Helpful Material

How to get started!

1. To get started with the program, you can schedule a free consultation by emailing During this consultation, you can ask any questions you have and determine if the program is a good fit for your needs.

2. If you decide to move forward with the program after the consultation, simply email back and let me know that you would like to schedule a session. I will then send you a link to fill out the necessary paperwork on my portal and we can schedule your first appointment. 

3. (Optional) After our first session, I will send you a link to complete the Gottman assessment, which costs $40 for a couple. In the following session, we will review the results of the assessment and identify strengths and areas for growth.

4. In each subsequent session, we will cover 1-2 of the principles from the Gottman Research (as outlined in his book). For the best outcome and benefit from the program, it is recommended that we meet regularly on a weekly or biweekly basis.

Consider this a proactive journey for your relationship. If you're currently navigating serious relationship challenges or specific issues, this may not be the right fit for you. However, I can certainly recommend some couples counselors who specialize in crisis management and traditional couples therapy 😊🌈

With this upbeat approach, couples eager to nurture their bond and build an even deeper connection often find the best results. Here's to growing together and celebrating love's potential! 🌱❤️


Insurance: If you fit the criteria for a DSM mental health diagnosis, your insurance might offer coverage.

The exact amount can depend on your insurance plan's agreed rates, deductibles, and copays. For detailed information go to my insurance page.



I offer sessions via Telehealth in OK and TX. 

Estimated Program Outline

I recommend taking the Gottmans' online assessment, which is optional and takes approximately an hour to complete. The cost of the test is $40, and we will follow up with a session to discuss the assessment's general areas guiding us on what principles need more or less attention. Please note that I will not share any of your responses or comments entered during the assessment. You can learn more about the assessment by clicking here, but please refrain from purchasing it on the website provided, as I will send you a separate link to ensure that I have access to your assessment.

1-3 Sessions: Let me get to know you!  What are your hopes, fears and goals for the class?  How did you meet? What is going well?

  • Patterns of communication 

  • Review your assessment results

  • Family of Origin 

Overview of the seven principles, Gottman's research, and lecture on what makes a marriage work:

  • Longest lecture on summary of class

  • Video discussing Gottman's 4 horsemen that are disasters to marriages

  • Assign a practice assignment

  • This session covers chapters 1-3

Enhance your love maps

  • Lecture for about 10 minutes on Principle 1

  • Practice Exercise on Love Maps

  • Practice Exercise on Asking open-ended questions

  • Assign a practice assignment

  • This session covers Chapter 4

Nurture Your fondness and admiration

  • Lecture on Principles 2 and 3

  • Practice exercise on cherishing your partner

  • Assign a practice assigned on Fondness and Admiration

  • Principle 3

  • Turning Toward Bids of Connection

  • This session covers Chapters 5 & 6     


Stress Reduction Exercise

  • Increase your ability to truly listen to each other related to stressful events in your life (not related to conflict)

A stress-reducing exercise called "soothing oneself and one's partner." The exercise involves taking turns as the listener and the speaker. The speaker shares their feelings and the listener listens without interrupting or trying to solve the problem. The listener then repeats back what they heard to show understanding and validate the speaker's emotions. The goal is to reduce stress and promote emotional intimacy in the relationship.

Let your Partner Influence you/2 kinds of conflict

  • Lecture on Principle 4
  • Exercise 1, Yield to win
  • Two kinds of conflict
  • Exercise on solvable and perpetual problems
  • Lecture the keys to managing conflict
  • Covers chapters 7 & 8

Working on solving solvable problems

  • Lecture on principle 5 - soften your startup

  • Exercise practice on softening startup

  • Lecture on learning to make and receive repair attempts  

  • Practice with the repair checklist by learning how to repair after conflict and 4 horsemen

Full session on anxiety and self-soothing practice

  • Self-soothing practice exercise

  • Self-regulation

  • Co-regulation

  • Nervous System overview from a psychological perspective 

Self-regulation of emotions refers to an individual's ability to manage and control their emotions in a healthy and adaptive way. It involves recognizing and identifying one's emotions, evaluating the intensity and impact of those emotions, and then choosing an appropriate response or action that aligns with personal values and goals. Self-regulation of emotions is important for overall emotional well-being, effective communication, and healthy relationships. 

Introduce the Initiator-Inquirer framework on how to work through an issue

  • Introduce how to practice

  • Read through an example

  • Practice with examples

  • Practice talking about a topic of couples' choice using the I-I approach. 

​The initiator-inquirer process is a tool used in couples therapy to help couples communicate effectively and resolve conflicts. The process involves one person, called the initiator, bringing up an issue or concern in a respectful and non-critical way. The other person, called the inquirer, then asks questions to better understand the issue and the initiator's perspective. The inquirer is encouraged to avoid making assumptions or judgments and to focus on gathering information. Once the inquirer has a better understanding, they can then share their own thoughts and feelings on the matter. The goal of the initiator-inquirer process is to promote healthy communication, understanding, and collaboration between partners.​

* Review and practice of the I-I approach 

During our sessions, we will engage in further practice of the I-I approach. Each partner will have the chance to address an issue that they would like to apply the teachings to. It's essential to note that, as this is a practice session, the topic brought up should be non-threatening and have less emotional intensity to it. This slower approach will allow couples to become familiar with the format before moving on to more emotionally challenging topics.

* The Art of Comprise 

  • Lecture on how to compromise

  • Exercise on how to practice using the skills of compromising about issues

  • It's essential to note that, as this is a practice session, the topic brought up should be non-threatening and have less emotional intensity to it. This slower approach will allow couples to become familiar with the format before moving on to more emotionally challenging topics.

Compromise involves finding a middle ground between two conflicting needs or desires, where both partners feel heard and valued. This involves active listening, empathy, and a willingness to negotiate and make small sacrifices for the sake of the relationship. Additionally, research stresses the importance of taking breaks and avoiding getting stuck in negative patterns during the compromise process.​

* Review of session and practice session  on compromise​

  • We will continue to practice the art of compromise on a non-threatening or safe subject matter

* Overcome gridlock or long term issues

  • Lecture on Principle 6  

  • Lecture and overview of understanding the dream behind the conflict

  • Practice exercises on detecting dreams behind the conflict

  • Lecture on working on a gridlocked Issue

  • Practice exercise on a gridlocked martial issue

  • This session covers Chapter 11

The "dreams within conflict" approach involves helping couples to identify their deeper, underlying dreams and aspirations, which often get buried in the midst of conflict. By understanding and acknowledging each other's dreams, couples can learn to support each other and work towards shared goals, rather than getting bogged down in disagreements and misunderstandings. The technique involves a structured conversation process that helps couples to listen to each other, identify their individual dreams, and find common ground for moving forward.


 Overcoming gridlock Part 2

  • We will continue to practice the application of the principles of the "Dream within Conflict" exercise to address an issue in your relationship. Please be advised that we will begin with a safe and approachable topic as this is a new skill. 


Create shared meaning

  • Review readings or assignments

  • Lecture on principle 7 the ideas of shared meaning pillars: rituals of connection, support for each other's roles, shared goals, shared values and symbols

  • Exercise on using the four pillars above

  • Lecture on The magic 6 hours

  • Lecture on The marital poop detector

  • Lecture on forgiving yourself

  • Practice exercise 

  • Next steps for therapy or plan of action for applying the skills over time

  • This session covers Chapter 12

Shared meaning, as described by John Gottman, refers to the shared values, beliefs, goals, and traditions that couples create together over time. It involves creating a sense of purpose and direction for the relationship, beyond just the daily routines and tasks. It requires ongoing communication and negotiation to develop and maintain, and is based on a deep understanding and acceptance of each other's individual perspectives and backgrounds. Shared meaning can help couples navigate challenges and conflicts, and provide a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction in the relationship.

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