Have you wondered if an online marriage or intimacy course could benefit you? The simple answer is yes. But, let’s go a little deeper here.
Online education is quickly becoming one of the best ways for people to get immediate access to help that they’re looking for, and this includes marriage help. I expect that over the next several years, e-courses are going to become more and more accessible. Here are some of the pros and cons I see to getting marriage or intimacy help from an online program.
Benefits of taking a marriage or intimacy e-course.
Flexibility in your schedule:
One of the biggest reasons people have for choosing an online course if the flexibility it allows. You don’t have to worry about waiting lists to see a therapist or if you’ll be able to line up your schedules once you are ready to start services. You also don’t have to worry about taking time off of work or getting your spouse’s schedule to line up with yours. Also, one huge benefit is that you typically have immediate access to course material as soon as you sign up. For busy couples, flexibility is a huge benefit.
In some cases, you have lifetime access to training material:
This will vary according to the instructor and sometimes according to the “release schedule” or access guidelines, but many times e-courses offer you a system of learning that’s always available to you after initial purchase. This is great because all of us have a tendency to forget what we’ve learned and we need a little refresher. If you’re doing traditional therapy, you’d need to record all of your sessions AND remember what was learned in each appointment to go back and listen again. This is a pretty impossible task for most of us. E-courses, on the other hand, not only give you access to the material but usually label it well. If you needed to remember how your instructor talked about a specific concern, you just head back to that video lesson and watch it one more time. And, if you and your spouse disagree about how an assignment should be handled, you can re-watch that lesson together. Just make sure nobody says “I told you so” after rewatching. 😉
Access to an e-course just requires a decent Internet connection:
One huge benefit to e-courses is that all you really need is a stable Internet connection. Even if you’re in a public place, a good set of earbuds will give you the privacy you need to learn on the go. And, many times you can easily access courses from your phone or download audio files. This gives you complete access even when you’re on the go. You can literally listen on your drive to work, while you’re at the gym, or even when you’re doing chores.
What an incredible world we live in, right? One of the biggest benefits to a marriage or intimacy e-course is that you’re not limited to the experts that are within driving distance to your home or work. As long as you speak the same language as the course instructor, you can literally take a marriage course from anyone anywhere in the world. That is certainly a major advantage to online marriage work.
Alright, let’s be fair and talk about some of the cons as well.
Risks of taking a marriage or intimacy e-course.
A bit too much flexibility:
While flexibility is super ideal, it can also be the main reason that a task gets forgotten or moved to the back burner. All of us tend to take care of that thing that’s highest on our priority list. And, that usually happens to be the thing that’s due next. With so much flexibility, some people are guilty of buying an e-course and then never completing it. Been there, done that! 🙋♀️
A lack of 1-to-1 teaching:
A definite benefit that you get with the in-office counseling experience that you don’t really get with an e-course is the opportunity to share exactly where your pain points are in your marriage with examples and get really specific feedback. Marriage or intimacy e-courses can only provide general advice through their training videos. And, even when courses offer free membership into a group of people with similar experiences and Q&A sessions, it can still feel like the advice is so generalized that it’s a little tough to apply it to your own situation. Luckily, some courses will offer check-ins where you get more specific advice, or the instructor will do a formal assessment-type process while you’re in the beginning stages of the course so they can provide you with more specific help.
It may be hard to discern the instructor’s level of training or expertise:
There really isn’t any governing board of e-courses unless you’re actually taking them at the academic level and those courses just don’t exist for someone simply looking for marriage or intimacy help. Since there are no regulating boards, literally anyone can create a course and put it out there for the world to buy.
This means that your instructor may simply be offering advice that helped them in their own marriage or advice they’ve read in books. This isn’t necessarily bad, but if you’re looking for someone with training in marriage or intimacy, you might be a bit disappointed in a course with someone who doesn’t have that training. The solution? Simply, make sure that you research your instructor a bit. See if you can find some free material that you resonate with. And, be really weary of the hard sale or the “huge discount” for quickly making a decision. This is a sales tactic that can certainly lead to buyer’s remorse.
So, what’s the takeaway re: e-courses?
A marriage or intimacy e-course can have both benefits and risks. But, you can set yourself up for success by minimizing those risks.
Make your own e-course schedule:
First of all, if you’re going to use an e-course as your primary form of marriage help, make sure that you schedule the times that you’ll work on the course and the times you’ll do a check in with your spouse. Make these times sacred by prioritizing them and letting nothing else get in the way of your learning time or your check-in time. An ideal course would have some sort of scheduled check-in process for you so you can stay motivated and moving toward your marriage and intimacy goals.
Make sure you’ll have flexibility:
Find a course that has some flexibility in it and offers you more of what you need instead of just a “general package” for everyone. While there is definitely a benefit for the “all-inclusive” information that most couples need, there is a greater benefit with a course that can be a little bit more fine-tuned for your specific marriage concerns.
Research the instructor:
Finally, make sure you do a little research on your course instructor. Go a little deeper than the TV shows they’ve been on or even their testimonies and advertised successes. Read about them and find them online to see what kind of expertise and knowledge they have. And, if you want to make sure that the course integrates your faith, make sure that the instructor has a theology that you can agree with.
Taking those steps, even though they might take some time, will make it much more likely that you will benefit from the online marriage help. By the way, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I just happen to have an online program (two actually) that can help you reach your marriage and intimacy goals and I’d love for you to check it out. You can see it right here!
Blessings on you, your marriage, and your intimacy!