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The MST Seminar



   Philosophy  Rationale   Overview   What You’ll Get   Structure   Content   Inventory   Schedule   Location   Cost   More   Search


 Click here for a quick seminar info summary on MST Home page.


 Marriage renewal / rescue seminar - Click here if you're married more than a year



The Philosophy Behind MST


·        Learning should be fun and relaxed

·        Marriage preparation works best when based on research

·        Small group, active learning is most effective

·        Each couple is unique, so the training must help them to focus on their own needs, vision and goals

·        Every relationship can and must grow over a lifetime as it passes through natural stages


Here's some of what we feel makes Marriage Success Training superior to other programs and worth traveling to participate in: Our approach is eclectic. Along with our original content, we've reviewed the marriage research (e.g., Gottman) and most of the major premarital education programs (e.g., PREP, Prepare-Enrich, Engaged Encounter, etc.) and incorporated the most effective elements. Our seminars emphasize interaction with your partner and even some men who start out less enthusiastic really enjoy and benefit from the seminar.


Unlike most programs, we don't advocate a pre-packaged system of techniques, although we will tell you about these systems. Instead, we present you with a range of options to promote marriage success and give you ways to select those that suit you best according to your relationship profile (e.g., best tools relative to your respective communication and conflict management styles, etc.) So, you choose the approaches that are most comfortable and compatible for you and your partner. We lead all of our MST seminars ourselves. Click here for detailed comparison to other classes and programs.



Seminar Rationale


A satisfying, enduring marriage is one key to a lifetime of happiness.  Love alone is not enough to produce a wonderful marriage.  Over time, all marriages evolve—pass through stages—and face challenges.  Everyone knows that successful marriages require commitment and work.  But even these are not enough to ensure the marriage you want. 


What can you do to make sure that your marriage will grow stronger over time?  That life’s challenges will serve to temper its strength and deepen your intimacy?


The key to building a wonderful marriage is not a secret.  But surprisingly few couples understand all, or even most, of the ingredients that make for success.  Do you know the stages that all marriages experience?  The key knowledge and skill areas that maximize long-term success in marriage?



Seminar Overview


Marriage Success Training is a comprehensive program designed in accord with the latest research findings to help you achieve your marriage goals.  MST is for engaged couples, couples considering marriage, and recently married couples.  These couples are in the window of opportunity where they can most easily benefit from MST.  Before challenges build up or become entrenched and before the demands of career and childrearing have intensified.


During MST, you and your partner will work together to learn about your relationship compatibility profile, to strengthen your relationship skills and to plan long-term strategies to promote growth and address areas of challenge.   The program covers all the knowledge and skill areas that research has shown to be essential to successful marriages.


Every individual and couple is unique.  MST is not a one-size-fits-all program.  The individualized nature of the program will help you focus on the areas where your relationship can benefit most.  We guarantee that you’ll experience new areas of intimacy during the seminar.  MST will excite and inspire you as it deepens the bond between you.


Unlike some other marriage preparation, MST is not a presentation or lecture format.  MST is a relaxed, fun, inspiring experience based on a small (15 couples maximum), active learning format. The seminar includes a guided review of your relationship profile, a series of carefully structured and moderated group discussions covering all the research-validated content areas, strategy and skill demonstrations, and other activities and exercises, with lots of interaction, planning and skill practice with your partner under our guidance.  MST will actually lead you and your partner through the process of working together to begin building the customized relationship skill set that’s right for you and that will serve you for a lifetime. 


How can this be done in one seminar?  The seminar provides 8 hours of direct prep, plus you do 2 - 3 hours of pre-seminar, self-guided relationship inventory and review exercises, then you have the option to do up to 2 - 3 or more hours of additional, self-guided optional topic exercises following the seminar.


MST helps you to plant the skill seeds that will grow over time to enrich your marriage.  Marriage research shows that a single seminar can produce long-term results.  You’ll see results right away.  But more importantly, you’ll see these results continue to blossom over time.  Your relationship will grow now and keep on growing.  And that’s what makes a great marriage.



What You’ll Get from MST  


Research has identified specific areas of relationship skills and knowledge that contribute to successful marriage.  MST builds your skills and knowledge in each of these areas and others by helping you to:


·        Identify and enhance your relationship strengths

·        Better understand yourself and your relationship style

·        Better understand your partner’s background and style

·        Understand your relationship compatibility profile

·        Explore your expectations

·        Set key relationship boundaries

·        Accommodate your personality styles

·        Appreciate gender issues that affect your compatibility

·        Understand family-of-origin issues that impact on your relationship

·        Strengthen your relationship skills, including conflict management, resolution and consensus building abilities

·        Select the set of strategies and skills that work for you and your style

·        Identify areas that need change

·        Apply your own style and new skills to key relationship issues and challenges (including sexuality, finances, childrearing, family-of-origin and in-law issues, personality and style conflicts, impasses, etc.)

·        Avoid unhealthy or destructive relationship habits and behaviors

·        Identify and develop attitudes and approaches that enhance intimacy and promote growth

·        Deepen intimacy and enhance long-term sexual compatibility

·        Plan long-term strategies to build on strengths and address areas of challenge

·        Plan long-term strategies to address the issues associated with the normal stages of marriage


In addition, you'll find that what you learn about your style and many of the communication, conflict management and other skills that you learn in MST will enhance your effectiveness in work and other social situations.


The MST seminar will provide:


·        A relaxed, collaborative atmosphere for learning about yourselves

·        An exciting, inspiring, fun experience that will motivate you to learn and internalize new relationship habits

·        Encouragement to augment your strengths while building confidence to address challenges in a healthy way

·        Accommodation for a broad range of relationship and learning styles—acceptance of individual differences within and between couples

·        A format that allows couples to focus on their own needs and goals

·        Support to discover, complete and follow your own vision of what you want your marriage to be

·        A personal workbook that will track and record your MST experience

·        Warm, caring seminar leaders who share examples from their own married life

·        A sense of humor about the challenges of marriage and all the advice about marriage

·        Religion-neutral content

·        A first-class marriage preparation experience that covers all the bases



Seminar Structure


The MST seminar is carefully designed to provide the right environment to maximize your learning and skill acquisition.  Each seminar is limited to 15 couples.  Warmth, support and enthusiasm are the defining features of the MST experience.  MST is a here-and-now experience that helps you and your partner integrate marriage success skills and begin a personal and relationship growth process that is difficult to initiate on your own.


MST is structured to accommodate the diverse learning styles of different couples.  Some people are highly participative learners, while others are more laid-back.  Some are cognitive learners, while others are more emotional.  It’s not at all unusual for the individual partners in the same couple to have different learning styles.  MST has a role for each style and optimizes the benefit for each individual and couple.  MST is a secure, safe place for learning.  No one will be pressured to do anything that makes them uncomfortable.  Participants who are less outgoing are not disadvantaged in the MST approach and can still enjoy the excitement of the engaging format.


The MST seminar uses many different approaches to cover the broad array of issues.  Among these are structured dialogues between partners, moderated discussions in supportive groups, demonstrations, guided exercises, and question and answer sessions.  Each session is concluded with a leader summary that helps you to internalize the key points covered.  Research has shown that this combination of experiential and cognitive learning is the most effective.  You’ll also have the opportunity to ask questions individually during breaks.  Your workbook will provide a complete record of the key issues and results throughout the seminar, along with your short and long-term relationship plans and goals.


You are never required to share anything personal about yourself or your partner, although you’ll be invited to participate in discussions and to ask questions when you wish to do so.  No one is required to participate in any exercise.  You’ll always be free to observe quietly, if you prefer, without being disadvantaged in any way.   Everyone who participates in MST agrees to keep the proceedings confidential.


Many couples never call us over to share in their private discussions and goal-setting. Likewise, some don't say much during the group discussions or are rather general in what they have to say and don't disclose much about the specifics of their relationship. They take in the seminar content and work away with each other. While we don't know the specifics of their relationship issues, we do know that they give the seminar experience a high rating -- just as the other participants do. 




Seminar Content Areas


The seminar is a systematic guided process that takes your intimacy to a new level as it moves through a series of focus areas:


Click on green topics to learn more about our approach.




·        Marriage success factors

·        Common challenge areas

·        'Deal breakers'


Inventory Review


·        Guided review of inventory covers personality, values, family background, conflict resolution styles, communication styles, and relationship qualities

·        Guided review of supplemental inventory covers individual strengths, areas for development, expectations for change, and plans for children

·        Understanding your individual personality and relationship styles profile

·        Relationship expectations, areas of similarity and difference

·        Guiding your seminar focus according to your styles and other inventory results


Intimacy Styles & Strategies


·        Gender and personality differences

·        Self-validation vs partner validation

·        Intimacy styles

·        Learning from your partner's style

·        Turning toward your partner and building intimacy

·        Protecting and optimizing emotional relationship tone and reservoir

·        Fidelity


Communication & Conflict Resolution


·        Gender and personality differences

·        Successful styles for managing differences

·        Harmful styles and behaviors to avoid

·        Control issues

·        Selecting a compatible, successful relationship style

·        Skills, tools and strategies demonstrations: intent, structured communication, active listening, conflict resolution models, self-soothing, etc.

·        Non-resolvable issues, fighting

·        Selecting relationship skills, strategies, models and tools that fit your styles


Family of Origin


·        Learning from and reconciling your family of origin experiences and expectations

·        Gender roles and expectations

·        Parent, sibling and birth-order relationship patterns

·        Healthy separation

·        Transition to establishing your own family

·        Healthy in-law relations


First-Year (and Beyond) Marriage Expectations


·        Post-honeymoon

·        Normal stages of marriage

·        Psychological shifts

·        Childrearing challenges

·        Finances

·        Chores

·        Work and careers

·        Balancing work and family

·        Religious and cultural compatibility

·        Friends and social life


Sexuality & Sensuality


·        Gender and personality differences

·        Evolution and development of sexuality in marriage

·        Styles of sexuality: sensate, relational, roles

·        Common interfering factors, problems and issues

·        Protecting and optimizing your sexual relationship


Optional Topic - Couple chooses an individual focus that may include, for example:


·       Becoming parents

·       Interfaith, intercultural and interracial marriages

·       Financial issues

·        Balancing family and work

·        Remarriage and stepfamilies

·        A more in depth focus on one of the earlier sections or other special interest


Couples who wish to do so may explore additional optional topics after the seminar using the self-guided materials in their workbooks. We are available for post-seminar consultation.


Friendship & Commitment


·        Building, deepening and protecting friendship

·        Risks: Work, children, competing relationships

·        Common negative patterns

·        Marriage as a catalyst for individual growth

·        Primacy and the core of your marriage

·        Relationship impasses

·        Commitment and relationship limits

·        Fun


These topics are covered by:


·        Structured private couples discussions, exercises, goal-setting, etc., which are guided by your detailed individual workbook, your inventory report, etc. A substantial portion of the seminar is spent confidentially interacting with your partner in a variety of ways while other couples are doing likewise. We circulate among couples for those who wish to use us as a resource. It's your choice how much to involve us in your private exchanges.


·        Guided, group topic discussions during which we present research findings and other expertise.


·        Some discussion formats are in smaller (for example single gender) groups.


·        Demonstrations by us of communication, conflict resolution and other marriage styles, strategies, tools and situations. Couples are encouraged to practice and experiment with new communication skills and strategies during their goal-setting and other interactions with their partner throughout the seminar.


·        A relatively small portion of the seminar involves brief presentations by us concerning marriage success factors.


Many couples never call us over to share in their private discussions and goal-setting. Likewise, some don't say much during the group discussions or are rather general in what they have to say and don't disclose much about the specifics of their relationship. They take in the seminar content and work away with each other. While we don't know the specifics of their relationship issues, we do know that they give the seminar experience a high rating -- just as the other participants do.



Pre-Seminar Relationship Inventory


After enrolling, each couple will complete a comprehensive relationship inventory that will help them to take stock of where they are now.  In any learning process self-assessment is an important beginning.  The inventory covers your values, expectations, personality, experiences, communication and conflict management styles.  The inventory findings, which compare your profile with that of your partner, help you to understand your compatibility profile, including areas of strength and challenge.  (The inventory is not intended to predict relationship outcomes.)


The results are completely confidential and private.  Only you and your partner will know your findings.  You will not be asked to share any of these results, but they will be essential to you and your partner in the course of the seminar.  In addition to many other benefits, your individual and couple profiles will enable you to customize your participation in the seminar.  The results will guide you to identify and focus on your specific needs right from the beginning of the seminar.


You'll complete most of your inventory in advance on-line on the web. We'll also send you some supplemental inventory items before the seminar. You'll review your inventory report together with your partner before the seminar, guided by the structured review and interpretation exercises in your MST orientation.



Seminar Schedule


The standard MST seminar runs from 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m., on a Saturday.


All seminars include refreshments and a complimentary lunch.


A schedule of available seminar dates for the next several months is available by clicking Dates, either here or on the menu bar at the top or bottom of this page.





Location and other details will be sent to you along with other orientation information upon receipt of your reservation.


Click here for information on locations and dates.


Consider traveling to an MST seminar. Many couples enjoy a romantic weekend getaway focused on their relationship. 



Seminar Cost


$495 per couple, including refreshments and lunch. Register at least one month early and receive a $20 early registration discount.



Click on Reserve here or on the menu bar below for details about reservation deposits, credit card payment, etc.



More About the Seminar


MST is a secular, religion-neutral approach and is not affiliated in any way with any religion or other spiritual organization or philosophy.  We welcome couples from all backgrounds and faiths.


If you have very serious problems in your relationship, these may be better addressed in a private consultation or counseling, although the MST seminar enables many couples to 'fast track' their couples counseling by clarifying issues and concerns. Often couples find that problems that have really been worrying them are very normal and shared by many other couples. 


MST is designed to address the normal relationship challenges found in most marriages and will give you skills helpful in resolving many special problem situations that you may encounter over the years.  MST is not couples counseling or therapy.  Some couples, though, will find that MST can be very helpful in laying the groundwork for counseling.  If you are not sure whether MST is right for you, contact us to discuss your situation or for information about private consultation or counseling options.



Be sure to click here for our FAQ section to learn more about the seminar.


Click here for a quick seminar info summary on MST Home page.


Marriage renewal / rescue seminar - Click here if you're married more than a year




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