When the Parent Bloggers Network offered the chance to take a look at eHarmony's new Online Marriage Counseling Alternative, I was pretty excited. Like many couples post-kids, we rarely take time to focus on our marriage. And even though we are very much in love, there are plenty of areas where we, like most couples, could use some strategy and guidance to help make our marriage even better.
With our busy schedules, tight finances, and lack of red-hot burning issues between us, we've never been motivated to pursue counseling together. We'd rather spend the time and money needed for a counseling session on a babysitter, so we can talk amongst ourselves. But over the years, we've learned to avoid certain topics, and we've put up walls around sensitive issues - nothing major, but things that really need to be aired out.
You know how it is... sometimes starting the conversation is a thousand times harder than talking it out, once the subject is raised. A good counselor will help identify these 'hidden' issues, and will help facilitate the conversation, opening those doors so that you can get to the bottom of it, together. I've heard that one of the problems with couples therapy can be personality and trust issues between one or both partners and the counselor as well. Add to that the assumption that therapy means something is wrong, and you have a recipe for avoidance.
The folks at eHarmony recognize the different reasons that people seek out marriage counseling. While many people wait for their pants to catch on fire before turning to counseling, others use counseling from the first months of marriage to help build their relationship skills. Some, like me, want to tune up their marriage, throw some light into those dark corners and mend any broken seams. There is something for everyone here.
One of the most recognized dating services on the internet, eHarmony is tapping into great market with eHarmony Marriage. Like with their dating service, eHarmony offers a comprehensive, highly individualized questionnaire that will identify your strengths and weaknesses, resulting in a very clear plan of action for improving your marriage.
The second step is the Marriage Profile. After individually filling out your own questionnaire, eHarmony puts together a marriage profile. My own profile was dead-on, and I eagerly read through the resulting information. There are pages and pages of great, insightful information and personalized plans to act on included with the profile. I was quite impressed.
The third step on eHarmony Marriage takes you through twelve 20-minute online video exercises. I didn't have the chance to view them all, but I enjoyed the ones I watched. They were entertaining, not preachy at all, and featured couples-in-the-street and sketches that helped illustrated the subject at hand. The video exercises also give personalized feedback and activities, which is a great way to reinforce the subject, and help you get the most out of the information.
Honestly, what really appealed to my internet-addicted, nerdy heart was the fact that this information is online. You can curl up with your honey in your bed after the kids go to sleep and view a video or two. You can be inspired or prodded to raise these important subjects without dragging anyone to a counselor's office. This is good stuff.
For the purpose of this review, I went through the process without my husband - but I'm convinced that eHarmony Marriage is exactly what we need to put a new spring in our steps. I can't wait to see how our relationship will improve.