Premarital counseling - It's not about love

it's about skills

May 17, 1997

It's not about love; it's about skills


Staff Writer

Smart Marriages Happy Families Expo, a three-day program of seminars, workshops and training, wraps up today in Arlington, Va. It is part of a six-day conference offered by Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education, headquartered in Washington, D.C. The group, formed in January of 1996, offers a new approach: "Instead of providing traditional therapy to struggling marriages and families - help that is too often too little, too late - this approach builds healthy families through preventive education," according to a conference brochure.

Diane Sollee, the coalition's director, had worked for 10 years as director of education for American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She says she was frustrated because she had wonderful research coming across her desk, but people didn't know about it because it couldn't be discussed for fear of marginalizing those outside traditional marriage.


"We couldn't be for marriage," she says.

The research indicates that couples who have strong, happy marriages are skilled in communicating and resolving conflict. The coalition believes the skills can be taught.

Couples in troubled marriages often say their love died, says Sollee. It's not about love. It's all about skills, she counters.

Sollee says if her sister or best friend asked her for the name of the best marriage therapist, she would tell her not to see a therapist, but to take a skills-based courses. She gives the courses as wedding gifts; she gave them to her two sons and their wives.

Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education serves as an exchange for information about preventive educational courses.

For information, 1-202-362-3332, or visit the Web site at (

The Herald-Mail Articles