The Ours Premarital Experience
Spoiler alert. Details of the program inside. Note that most of this article talks about our premarital couples for the sake of clarity, but almost everything below applies whether you're dating, engaged, married, or anything in between. If you'd like to read a detailed review by two parents, you can read this detailed breakdown in the New York Times.
Only 12% of our couples said they “knew what to expect” when signing up for the OURS program and we’ve served a lot of couples. So, it’s very possible that the majority of you are risk taking adventurers. If that's the case, stop reading here. But, if you’re like the 12% who like to know what to expect, keep reading.
Let’s start with the basics - our program is based in premarital counseling - we help people talk about the big stuff before they make the big leap.
To be honest, this term doesn’t totally fit, though - we’ve had dating people, married, people and everyone in between go through our program and learn something new and feel more connected (in fact 100% of our couples thus far have said OURS has made them feel closer - this feels like a stat we’re making up, but no matter how many couples we serve, it’s remained at 100%, truly).
We also have mixed feelings about the term - many people have been “kept out” of premarital counseling in the past - particularly LGBTQ folks and those who are in interfaith relationships or just aren’t religious at all.
So, why do we use the word? Welp, Google recognizes it and so do you. That’s likely how you found us in the first place. We’ve decided to evolve the very valuable practice of talking about the big stuff before getting in too deep.
Beyond Google, though, we know that premarital counseling matters because the work of marriage isn’t exactly second nature. While humans are certainly wired to bond, they are also wired for a lot of other things that can disrupt our relational satisfaction - impulsivity, selfishness, and aggression to name a few. Research shows that premarital counseling helps couples to harness the magic of their relationship ultimately reducing divorce rates and increasing relational satisfaction. In fact, couples who complete some form of premarital counseling have a 30% increase in marital satisfaction compared to those who hadn’t undergone such counseling.
Marriage is one the biggest decisions you’ll ever make in your life and almost nothing has a bigger impact on your social, emotional, physical, and financial health (studies have shown this to be true). When your marriage is running well, all areas of life reap the benefits. Whereas, when your relationship is struggling so does everything else.
How’s it work?
If you’re this far, you did not take my spoiler alert warning and you really do want to know how all of this works.
TLDR: You sign up and pay, meet with one of our amazing guides, get a roadmap of sessions that you complete together while laughing, learning, and planning, then you meet with one of our guides again, and then you ride into the sunset happily ever after.
Once you sign up you’ll be given an opportunity to schedule with an OURS Guide for your welcome session. You’ll also be sent a welcome survey that will ask you questions about your relationship to get you thinking and to help your guide start to get to know you.
Soon after, your guide will send you and your partner a welcome note and personalized video introducing themselves. We want you to be able to put a face to the name before meeting your Guide. Then, you’ll wait til the big day!
The Big Day
On the day of your scheduled meeting with your Guide, you’ll hop onto a Zoom call where your Guide will, well, guide you through a series of questions that help them to understand what type of roadmap you’ll need to take throughout the OURS experience. They’ll ask you questions about how you met, what your strengths are, and where you think you need extra support.
At the end of the session, they’ll share with you what they believe your roadmap of sessions should be. They choose these specifically based on you and your partner’s needs. Then you’ll say au revoir!
After the call
After you meet your guide, you’ll complete a “pre-trip checklist” while your guide puts together your roadmap of sessions in Loveware (that’s our proprietary software, made with lots of love). The pre-trip checklist will teach you all about how to move through the sessions and will help you develop some rules of engagement for how you’d like to communicate during your sessions.
Your Loveware sessions
Once your guide sends you your sessions, you’ll have access to one session at a time. These sessions might be on topics like finances, parenting, family, boundary setting, or dealing with differences, to name a few. We recommend doing a session a week. They tend to take about an hour.
Each session will include:
- A warm up exercise
- Lots of learning (if you like to nerd out on fun facts like us, you’ll get a lot of them here)
- Guided conversations
- Fun (think art projects, scavenger hunts, and dancing)
- A cool down
You will be doing these sessions on your own - but your Guide is there for you if you need any extra support. Throughout the session you can send in questions, share what you're learning, and write plans to your guide. Your guide will look over everything you write and offer email or video feedback if you need it.
After you complete a session, Loveware will unlock your next session to start.
In between sessions
When you’re in between sessions, your guide will be checking in with you and sending challenges. Kind of like this one:
Take 2 minutes right now to open up a text with your partner. For two full minutes write down everything you love about them into the text box and then send it to them. Do it right now.
No, seriously, you - the person reading - do that challenge right now :)
Or, this challenge:
Go into your cabinet and pick one item that reminds you of the best date you’ve been on with your partner. Tell them the story.
You can do that one too.
You can also reach out to your Guide in between sessions if you want more support or resources. Or, if you just want to say “hi” and tell them a cute story. We love getting the cute stories.
Once you’ve completed your Loveware sessions, it’s time to meet with your Guide again! You’ll have been engaging throughout the entire process and now you can put it all together. Your Guide will ask you questions about the experience, provide you with feedback, and offer you support as you prepare for the next steps in your relationship.
How did you decide on what to cover in the Loveware sessions?
Using decades worth of research and over 10,000+ hours of team working time, a team of therapists + engineers combined together to create an experience that takes the best of human touch and combines it with the best of technology. After interviewing thousands of couples, pouring over hundreds of research papers, and testing dozens of programs, we’ve landed on what we believe to be the best approach to proactive, modern, premarital counseling.
Oh, and did we mention that our Head of Relationship Health, Elizabeth Earnshaw, LMFT, has worked with hundreds of couples for over a decade and written a book on relationships?
Using our research + the experience and skill of our clinical team, we have tested and retested our program to make sure you are prepared for a happy and relationally healthy future together. But, we won’t stop there. We know that there is always more to be done when it comes to improving the way we take care of the most important thing in the world - our relationships.