Lessons in love

Zest, 01 April 2011

As Wills and Kate take 'marriage lessons' before their big day, more couples than ever are investing in pre-marital therapy to guarantee their happy ever after..

Claire and David downloaded an online programme from thecoupleconnection.net, a free service provided by relationship research body One Plus One. 'The Couple Connection is about strengthening your relationship and learning how to deal with any changes,' says Justine Devenney of One Plus One. 'You work through key areas that can cause problems in married life: hopes and dreams, understanding each other's expectations, children and families, and managing conflict. You also get advice from a psychologyist. It's very flexible – you can do it in one go or break it down over a number of weeks. And if it reveals you have different opinions, you can discuss them and go into marriage with your eyes open.'

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'An online programme was perfect because we could do it at home with a glass of wine!' says Claire. 'It revealed we had different views about our future. I'd always wanted to raise children outside London but David was concerned about a long commute. Also, I'm quite close to my parents, and David worried I'd want to live next door to them. I've never felt that way, but I didn't realise he was stressing over it! It enabled me to reassure him. Doing the course has made me more excited about getting married. A wedding is just one day, but you're choosing to spend a life together, which is far more important. The course helps you appreciate that.'

Originally published in Zest magazine, April 2011.