Web-Based Marriage Skills Training is Affordable & Private

Win a free lifetime membership! Power of Two will award two free lifetime memberships to this week’s winners. Read and comment to qualify.

Jesse Heitler was a computer whiz from Yale when he joined his family’s established business, Power of Two, about five years ago. It was his vision to bring interactive, web-based marriage skills training to the company that drastically changed how Power of Two would operate.

A 20-year-old organization, Power of Two (or PO2) was founded by his mother, Dr. Susan Heitler, an experienced marital therapist and author of the book, Power of Two. His sister, Dr. Abigail Hirsch had followed in her mother’s footsteps to become a psychologist and provide training and education on marriage skills; she had joined her mother’s business a few years ahead of Jesse. Their brother, Jacob, also joined the company after earning his MBA.

When Jesse explored the industry and attended a marriage education convention, he realized that most of the couples he knew getting married were of a completely different generation and mindset than the experienced clinicians giving marriage advice. He believed he and his friends would sooner turn to the Internet for marriage advice than to their church pastor or a marriage counselor. Having just sold a previous start-up, Jesse was excited to try working with his mother and sister to see if they could find a way to bring marriage education to the Internet.  The trick would be to determine how to reach couples in an affordable, fun manner. Recruiting a family friend, who was skilled at creative production and also worked as a comedian, was a big part of the solution.

A new business model was born:  a membership-based Internet marriage skills training program. At $18 per month for access to all the videos, articles and interactive programs members want, the company says it’s in the range of coffee money, especially when compared to the expense of couples’ therapy. The company currently has about 1,000 members, and services are scalable to any number.

Initially, Dr. Hirsch told me, the PO2 staff believed they would be targeting mostly women and younger couples with the online model. They have since found the age range to be much more broad than expected. They were also surprised that “a huge percentage of members are men,” and that men tend to be the most active members. Dr. Hirsch explains, “We hear all the time from men, ‘My wife and I tried counseling, and I felt the counselor was always on her side.’” Men value the privacy and neutrality of the online program. They learn the skills, practice, get feedback, can ask personal questions, and see positive changes in their marriage, adds Dr. Hirsch.

Power of Two’s goal is to provide educational resources to all couples, so they don’t get to the point where divorce is on the table, says Dr. Hirsch. The program is based on Dr. Heitler’s many years of clinical practice. The skill sets are useful in the real world, and they’re not a band-aid approach, she adds. For example, many people teach listening skills as “parroting back” what you heard your partner say. Dr. Hirsch says real people don’t talk like that, and they won’t keep that strategy going. “We teach you how to really listen, not to debate.”

The program isn’t only for couples who feel they are struggling. It’s useful for premarital education, for couples early in their marriage, soon-to-be parents, couples who want to tweak certain areas of their marriage, as well as couples who need a major overhaul. The program can be done on a flexible schedule, together or separately.

Dr. Hirsch says she uses the skills in her own marriage, and says her husband attributes the program to enhancing their marriage during the stressful period of their second child’s birth. “We were practicing the skills a ton, trying to learn how to teach them to others,” says Dr. Hirsch. “My husband said, ‘This is changing our marriage. This is what makes things fun and allows us to enjoy each other and not get stuck on the daily wrinkles.’”

Power of Two was in many ways already a company on the cutting edge before moving to the Internet. The organization prides itself on making sure that the solutions they’re advocating for others are hard at work within their company as well. In particular, they believed in work/life balance above all else. Employees’ marriages and families are as high a priority as their work responsibilities, explains Dr. Hirsch. “It’s critical that we all have rock-solid marriages if we sell marriage help. We should be a model of how you can run a business and run lives that work well,” she added. How does a balanced workplace look? Employees take real vacations. They learn how to turn off their cell phones. They sometimes telecommute or work a flexible schedule. Their employees work from offices in Berkeley, San Francisco, London and Denver. “Somehow in America we have gotten out of whack on our priorities. It will only change when someone screams for marriage and family,” she adds. Juggling three young boys of her own, she understands what is at stake. Read the team bios here.

The same principles from the book are used online, with more enhancements, marriage boosters, and quick tips. There’s also more entertainment and humor in the online program. The topics are based on:

  1. Emotion regulation—How to keep disagreements calm and supportive, how to navigate difficult conversations.
  2. Communication—How to say things in a way your partner can hear and understand, and how to listen in a way that makes your partner feel heard.
  3. Decision making—How to make win-win joint decisions.
  4. Positivity/Intimacy—How to express your love day-in and day-out.

Members receive individualized feedback on personalized assessments. They can also ask personal questions. One of the psychologists may recommend they see a professional if the problem is particularly difficult or complicated. Most couples view the membership as similar to the Netflix model; some months they use it a lot, and some months they use it less. “They appreciate knowing it’s there when they are ready or when they need to get back on track,” says Dr. Hirsch. They also receive reminders.

The program sounds unique, affordable and beneficial to a wide range of couples. As always, I receive no financial benefit for sharing this information with you, but since I was excited by the innovative approach, I knew many readers would also be. You can read testimonials, take a quiz, or get started here.

Power of Two has generously offered two free LIFETIME memberships to their program. If you would like to be entered in the drawing for a free membership, simply make a comment below, or send me a private message if you prefer. I’ll hold the drawing in about one week. Everyone else can still benefit from a free 14-day trial membership. And, Power of Two offers a money-back 100% satisfaction guarantee on its site for members. If you decide to join, I would love to hear your input on the program’s impact on your marriage.

Photo Credit: ©huaxiadragon/PhotoXpress.com

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23 responses to “Web-Based Marriage Skills Training is Affordable & Private

  1. This seems like a wonderful website. I’ll probably sign up if I don’t win this giveaway.

  2. I am a pastor with a passion for the family. As a new stepfather I have been working on seminars for pastors and others related to developing good marriages.

    Enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to more.

    • Thanks, Jeff. I’m glad the information is useful for you. Check out the resources page as well. A great Christian resource is Intimate Allies (details listed on resource page). It’s not a new book, but you can probably still find it.

  3. I love your site Lori! I always appreciate your tips and this website sounds fantastic!! Hope I can win this lifetime offer! :D

  4. I enjoy your blog and have learned much. The online course is an interesting approach, and I wonder how different the effects would be, compared to a self-help book or an actual therapist. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!

  5. This site has been such a huge help to me and my husband. I would love the opportunity to win a membership to Power of Two!

  6. I like the concept, as it does provide neutrality & privacy for the couples. Also, the subscription model aligns with a foundational element for modern businesses espoused by Seth Godin: subscription models. On top of that, it can strengthen marriages. What’s not to like?!? Please enter me into the drawing.

    Thanks,
    Kevin

  7. Hi Lori,
    I really enjoy your blogs. Would the PO2 program be beneficial to a solo, i.e. only one partner is trying to improve the marriage at this time? I have also looked at the Marriage Boot Camp by Mort Fertel and he has a “Lone Ranger Track” for people with an obstinate spouse.

    Thanks,
    Jamie

    • Yes, Jamie. My understanding is that individuals can and often do the skill building on their own. Even couples often do them individually and then talk about them later. So, yes even if only one person is trying to improve skills it can help. One person can help change the cycle of negative communication, for example. Good luck!

  8. Sounds Great I have had to plan my own getaway material and it is a lot of work but well worth it. We lead marriage classes and do a little mentoring I will be sure to pass this along.

  9. what a fantastic idea. my husband and i have recently started putting our marriage first again after the birth of our first child 7.5months ago. we are tired, stressed and financially strapped but we know and understand how important it is to put our marriage first. reading your blog has been a big help to me. i am also quite interested to check out PO2. what a cool idea! if i don’t win the lifetime membership, i will definitely propose that we try out the free two week trial. thanks for sharing such wonderful info.

    • Heather, thank you so much for the feedback! Let me know what you think of PO2 either way. Good for you to put your marriage first. Your child will benefit from a stronger family! All the best,
      Lori

  10. Andre and Andrea

    We saw the post about creating your own marriage retreat, and would love to win the giveaway! We’ve been married a little over a year, and have never been on a marriage retreat. We’re hoping to start our family soon, and we’re pretty sure free time will be even harder to come by…so PO2 seems like a great way for us newlyweds to get off to a great start and keep our marriage healthy for life!

    • I agree, this is the perfect time for you to concentrate on your marriage skills. Sleepless nights and stress of babies definitely can add stress to your relationship, so now is the time to focus on each other. Good luck!!

  11. I had a chance to go trough the first 6 chapters of the book, it is an excellent resource, and would LOVE to have a lifetime membership! It is the only thing that helped our marriage. :)

  12. With 5 jobs and 4 children between us, it’s hard for me and my fiance to find an evening or weekend to attend counselling. This online approach is a great idea. We are hoping it helps us build communication skills that can prevent us from reacting to the other person.

    • Wow, 5 jobs and 4 kids. That’s a little bit of stress right there. Hope you can carve out a little time for the online programs, and let me know if they work for you. Best!

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