In a word, yes.
But don’t be scared off.
I can honestly tell you that doing the homework was crucial to turning around my own marriage when I first went through as a participant.
The better question to answer first, then, may be Why?
I’ll explain by telling you how (and why) it worked for us.
For the first four years of our marriage, Daniel and I were what John Gottman’s team of marriage experts would label “terminally unhappy.”
We had no intention of divorcing, but we were miserable and couldn’t figure out how to fix things.
We were constantly disrespecting each other, we couldn’t have a fair fight, we couldn’t communicate, and we had trust issues with each other. We tried everything that we could think of - classes at church, marriage books, prayer groups, retreats, friends, counselors - but we couldn’t get the help that we needed.
We didn’t know what we didn’t know, and no one else seemed to know either.
When we finally found The Marriage School, we started to understand what was going wrong.
We began to recognize our destructive patterns and learn about the tools that would build the marriage. It gave us a common language and a playbook with rules.
Most importantly, it gave us hope.
But just being able to conceptualize how a healthy relationship works was not enough to change our dynamic. We needed to practice these newly-discovered skills.
Many marriage books or workshops are conceptual or theological. They give a great vision of what marriage can and should be, but they don’t necessarily show you how to get there. Rather than just providing information, The Marriage School gives couples the tools for transformation - which includes homework!
Every week, The Marriage School gives participants homework questions related to that week’s topic. Because our program is founded on the principle that “I cannot change my spouse; I can only change myself,” the homework questions are designed to be especially self reflective.
The amazing thing about the homework is that you can either do it together or alone.
Some couples talk through the homework in the car on the drive home. Many couples have a weekly couch date while others choose to do it in public at a restaurant. Some spouses prefer to read through it alone or process it by journaling.
We used to do our homework in the middle of our frequent fights. We were in conflict, but we had our workbook open and were trying to follow the rules for respect, the rules for a fair fight, the steps for forgiveness and reconciliation.
There is no right or wrong way to do the homework - as long as you do it.
And, slowly and surely, the homework gives a safe structure for the difficult conversations. It gives insight and personal revelation. And it gives practice and do-overs.
It took a long time for us to unlearn our bad habits and relearn healthy ones, but it was so worth it. Over time, the fights got shorter and, with newly emerging skills, we were doing less damage. We were able to resolve conflicts, forgive each other, and build trust.
We are still a work in progress and, after 13 years in The Marriage School, we still do our homework.
Proverbs 13:4 says, “The soul of the lazy one craves and gets nothing, But the soul of the diligent is made prosperous.” Like every other endeavor in life, having a successful marriage takes work. And it is so worth it.
We invite you to join us and take The Marriage School’s 6-month challenge.
Your marriage is worth the effort.