Zoom, zoom, zoom into the future/ eHarmonyMarriage - 1/25/07

Smartmarriages smartmarriages at lists101.his.com
Thu Jan 25 11:44:35 EST 2007



Here's the key quote from today's Orange County article (below) about
eHarmony Marriage: 

> "I talked to my mom about it. She thinks I'm kind of crazy," Amanda Sheehan,
> 29, says of the online service she and Kevin, 28, signed up for in October. "I

Emphasis (CAPS) added.  If our goal is to get the information out of the
research labs and to couples, then we not only look to marriage education
CLASSES, and to putting the classes on DVD, and adding phone-COACHING, we
also have to 'smell the coffee' and realize that the next marrying
generations, as this woman says, "DO EVERYTHING ONLINE".  The
eHarmonyMarriage folks (see article below) will present and exhibit at the
Denver conference so you will all be able to check out their trail-blazing,
pioneering work in the ON-LINE frontier.  Kim Halford from Australia opened
this territory last year with his "Couple Care: FLEXIBLE Delivery"
DVD-based, home-coaching format keynote, and Michele Weiner-Davis and Bill
Doherty will carry on with their Sat morning "expansion" keynote - Michele's
multi-facted "Divorce Busting on Steroids!" model and Bill Doherty's  "First
Dance" DVD-phone-coaching model.  Actually, so many of the sessions are
about blazing this "get-the-information-out-there" trail: John Gray will
update his MARS/VENUS RELATIONSHIP MAKEOVER out-of-the-box kit which is now
augmented by his daily internet TV show; and THE ULTIMATE RElATIONSHIP,
IMAGOConnects, LOVE & RESPECT, out-of-the box kits mentioned in the last
email will all be there with updates and advances which will blow your
minds. And then there are the dozens of TOOBs - teach out of the box kits
introduced at either last year's conference or that will be launched in
BLACK COUPLES AND SINGLES; SECOND HALF; etc.  One of the best examples is
Jon Carlson & Pat Love brand new "Love: What Everyone Needs to Know"
incredibly well-produced DVD-series which includes 'what everyone needs to
know' - you just plug them in in a school, congregation, community program.

All I can tell you is that not just the times, but marriage education
movement IS CHANGING. And, because we believe that "when couples know
better, they will do better" this has to be a great leap forward in helping
people "get smarter about marriage". We shall see.....

In case you want to get some ideas about getting started on putting your own
programs/wisdom on DVD, listen to Halford's 2006 keynote (download for just
$9.95 at http://www.iplaybacksmartmarriages.com session #756-P-5) or check
out any of the DVD-based programs on the 2006 Mini/Toob page:

- diane 



Click here for a better marriage
Matchmaking site eHarmony broadens its services to help committed couples.
The Orange County Register
January 22, 2007

After 31Ž2 years of marriage, Amanda and Kevin Sheehan are expecting their
first child.

What better time to take a look at their relationship and see where it might
need some fine-tuning? the Laguna Niguel couple thought.

They didn't head out to a couples' seminar or make an appointment with a
counselor. Instead, they sat down at a computer and found help a few clicks

That's mouse clicks, not miles, an important distinction since convenience
is a big selling point for eHarmony Marriage.

The popular eHarmony.com online matchmaking site broadened its
singles-minded focus last year, offering a service for married couples and
others in committed relationships.

Launched in February, eHarmony Marriage has attracted more than 100,000
couples like the Sheehans who have signed up for a computerized analysis of
their relationship.

It's definitely a departure from the standard self-help books, marriage
workshops and counseling.

"I talked to my mom about it. She thinks I'm kind of crazy," Amanda Sheehan,
29, says of the online service she and Kevin, 28, signed up for in October.
"I do everything online."

Amanda Sheehan spotted a promotion for the marriage program while shoulder
surfing one day with a single friend who logged into eHarmony.com.

Similar to the eHarmony dating service, the heart of eHarmony Marriage is a
questionnaire with more than 300 questions that are said to be backed by
empirically sound research on relationships.

The questionnaire takes about 45 minutes to complete and generates a report,
the eHarmony Marriage Action Plan, that assesses a couple in what the site's
operators say are 10 key areas for a successful relationship. It includes a
guide to making improvements.

"I liked how it could rate where we were together on some issues and where
we were apart," Amanda Sheehan says. "We're really open to this kind of
thing because we're always willing to work on stuff. We don't want to end up
in a rut." The founders of eHarmony Marriage like to refer to it as a
marriage wellness service that puts an emphasis on the positive.

"It's not about pointing out foibles and mistakes. It's about showing the
potential to improve. Nobody wants to take an assessment and get a 2-by-4 to
the head. Why would they sign up for that?" says Les Parrott, a clinical
psychologist who serves as a virtual co-host for the online program with his
wife, Leslie, a marriage and family therapist.

Couples can go through the questionnaire at their own convenience, together
or separately. The same is true for the optional series of 12 interactive
video exercises ­ an added cost ­ that make up the second part of the

The Sheehans signed up for the full eHarmony Marriage package and have
completed about half of the exercises.

One of the exercises involves making marriage vows to address some of the
things they want to work on.

"We have this role-reversal thing where Kevin does all the cleaning," Amanda
Sheehan says.

"My vow is equal sharing of housework and cooking. If I can stick to that,
he'll feel better."

Kevin Sheehan says their assessment didn't present any surprises.

"We're both exactly where we thought we would be," he says. "We know the
issues that needed a little bit of work."

Personalization is key

The personalization and interactive component of eHarmony Marriage
differentiates it from other relationship online assessments, say the
Parrotts, who worked with eHarmony.com founder and clinical psychologist
Neil Clark Warren on the program.

The Parrotts have written best-sellers on relationships and travel the
country holding workshops for couples. They founded the Center for
Relationship Development at Seattle Pacific University in Washington.

"It's a new way of thinking about marriage wellness, for sure," Leslie
Parrott says of eHarmony Marriage. "But I think the culture is ripe for us
to consider an online interactive tool as a way to approach marriage

Giving couples options on when and how long they work on the exercises
acknowledges their time demands.

"The No. 2 complaint that couples have is that they don't have enough time
together," says Les Parrott, who, with his wife, wrote "Your Time-Starved

The No. 1 complaint? They don't communicate well.

For the Sheehans, the assessment made them focus on communicating better.

"Just talking to each other more," Amanda Sheehan says. "We go through our
daily routine, and we talk about our day, but we don't talk about anything
important. Now we're making time to do that."

The personal-values section in the questionnaire helped deepen their

"Values, politics and spirituality, we've started thinking about that more,"
Kevin Sheehan says. "We're making more of an effort to read up more, so we
can talk about those things."
Not for everyone

Some therapists have incorporated eHarmony Marriage into their couples
counseling. Others worry that it could give couples the idea that
maintaining their marriage is simpler than it really is. "What they are
doing is saying this is better than marriage counseling and better than
self-help books," says James Koval, a licensed marriage and family therapist
who teaches family studies courses at Cal State Long Beach. "The idea that
counseling requires significant emotional work and we're a substitute for
it, to me is like saying, 'I'm going to teach you how to swim, but only with
your head above water.' "

It's true, as the Web site points out, that marriage counseling is more
expensive and that it involves more time, Koval says.

The average cost for one hour with a therapist is about $75.

The price for the eHarmony Marriage profile alone is $49.95. Couples who
want the full package with the 12 video exercises can sign up for a
three-month subscription at $119.95 or an open-ended subscription for a
renewable monthly fee of $49.95.

Koval does find value in eHarmony Marriage, though.

"I do think if individuals want to be able to get a broad picture of what
some of the issues are in their relationship, taking an inventory like this
online would be of benefit," he says. "But I want them to know there are
other inventories online."

His biggest concern is for couples who have serious issues.

"Many times people are going to access these sites because they are feeling
very alone, very scared and very desperate," he says. "They may be given a
lot of simplistic advice or suggestions."

The site does include an advisory regarding therapy.

"You are urged to consult a licensed marriage therapist or counselor if you
or your spouse believes that such services may be beneficial to either of
you or your relationship," the terms-and-conditions agreement reads.

"I don't know of any couple where this program would do any harm. That's for
sure," Les Parrott says. "But if you're on the brink of divorce, you need to
be with a real-life person in a counselor's office."

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