“You spent how much on a purse? It’s just a bag!”

“You want to spend the weekend playing sports instead of visiting my family?”

“Am I the only one around here who does the dishes?”

Sound familiar?

The decision to get married or to make an official commitment to a life partner is perhaps the biggest decision that we make as individuals (and contrary to popular belief, it’s not the last). It requires subsuming our personal identity and desires for the purpose of creating a joint partnership. It’s not a simple matter; however, working out details such as parenting styles, religion, and financial habits before a wedding all help make the marriage run more smoothly.

Psychologist Rachel Barbanel-Fried recommends that couples take her class, “Tying The Knot: A pre-marriage workshop for couples” before they get hitched. But in truth, the class is relevant for many pairs: from those who are only contemplating engagement to those who have been married for a year or two. Dr. Barbanel-Fried describes the workshop as “a comfortable and non-judgmental group focused on helping participants understand what skills they can employ to enrich their commitment to each other and create the strongest union possible.” She has taught these classes with people who are married for the first time, as well as those who have been married before and want to start their new commitment on better footing.

Just as you wouldn’t buy a car without doing research or start a new business without preparation, so too would it be unrealistic to hope that “love will keep us together” without doing the proper work to make your marriage successful. Unromantic as it sounds, marriage is not only about your love for one another – it is about being able to fight fair, to compromise without being hurt, and to come to agreement on some potentially messy issues.

This class uses the format of a couples group to enrich discussion and offer a variety of helpful resources. Topics include communication strategies and psychology theory, to engage couples as they reflect on real-life experiences and challenges. You’ll leave the class better prepared to move to the next stage of life with your partner. 

This 5-session class will run twice this year, once in the fall and once in the spring both on Wednesdays at 7:30pm, at Congregation Kehillath Israel, 384 Harvard Street in Brookline. Fall: 11/16, 11/30, 12/7, 12/14, 12/21 or Spring: 2/1, 2/8, 2/15, 2/22, 2/29. It costs $100 for KI members and $125 for non-members. Please register through the main office (paula@congki.org or 617-277-9155)

Facilitator: Rachel Barbanel-Fried is a clinical psychologist specializing in working with couples who are thinking about getting married, planning their wedding and marriage, and who are working together to strengthen their union once it’s already established.