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Course Outcomes

As a result of successfully completing this course you will be better able to:

  1. Assess your strengths and work areas as a partner and a couple.
  2. Communicate clearly with your partner.
  3. Deal with conflict, disagreements, and relationship issues in a healthier way.
  4. Make self-directed changes in your relationship.
  5. Recognize and deal with marital myths.
  6. Understand the differences and similarities between men and women in marriage and how to enrich marriage based on that understanding.
  7. Relate sexually in a more fulfilling way.
  8. Apply scriptural concepts and teachings to enrich your relationship.
  9. Not just read about these subjects but start applying them to your marriage or committed relationship from the first day.


The only prerequisites for this course are an open mind, eagerness to learn and try new skills, a willingness to become more self- and other-aware, and a commitment to make your marriage stronger as you take this course. Often, this will include self-directed change on your part. The adage that “It only takes one to improve a marriage” is true. I may ask you to do that on occasion. But the adage, “It takes two to have a good marriage” is also true in that the most progress can generally be made with both spouses working together on improvements. I’ll let you choose how you will use the course contents and assignments to enrich your relationship.

Course Materials

You will need to purchase all of these textbooks:

You need to purchase one of the two Larson textbooks:


About the Books

The Miller workbook, Collaborative Marriage Skills, is actually more than a book—it is a couple packet. Both you and your partner will have a workbook to use in the course, skills-practice mats to use to practice speaking and listening skills, and a set of wallet-size cards to remind you of the communication skills. If your spouse is not enrolled, your practice partner (friend, sibling, etc.) can use one of the workbooks if they would like.

This Collaborative Marriage Skills packet is also used outside this course in groups of couples with a certified trainer as coach. I am a Certified Couple Communication Instructor and have taught this well-researched program for over 20 years. Research shows couples’ marital satisfaction and communication skills improve by using these materials. So, in this course you are getting couple-communication training as well as a marriage-enrichment course.

The Gottman book is also a research-based approach to teaching couples how to interact more effectively, understand differences better, and build a marital friendship. It is a classic!

Larson’s books are really workbooks whose focus is to assess the strengths and work areas in your relationship. The “tune-up” book is for marrieds; the other is for singles (even engaged couples!). The contents are very similar but each is written to a different audience.

Finally, Stahmann’s book is a conservative but frank on improving sexual functioning in marriage, written by an LDS professor of marriage and family therapy. Students consistently praise the book for its helpfulness and ease of reading.

In summary, all these books are trade books for the couple “on the street.” They are not theory and research textbooks only we professors or researchers would enjoy! Don’t worry, you will not want to sell any of them after taking this course. You will likely recommend them to your kids, relatives, and friends to help enrich their relationships, too. And, you will frequently refer back to them for advice in times of stress.

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Course Content and Structure

The course content, the assigned readings, and written assignments are divided into 2 modules:

Self Check Questions

Each lesson also includes Self Check questions intended to help you review the material covered in that lesson by focusing on important concepts. If you find that you do not know or are not certain about an answer, go back to the lesson material and re-read the entire section pertaining to that question. In doing so, clarify the materials so that you understand the reason for the correct answer. These questions are not graded.

Journal Entries

Throughout the course there are various “Journal Entries.” These are thought questions that prompt you to apply the course concepts to your own life.

Journal entries will not be submitted for grading. However, I highly recommend that you keep a journal throughout the course to answer the journal-entry questions and write down your own thoughts on enhancing your marriage.


During this course, you will complete computer-graded and written assignments, as well as a relationship assessment.

Lesson Assignments

Assignments are given at the end of each lesson. These consist of multiple-choice and true-false quizzes that are submitted electronically and for which a grade is given immediately. Incorrect answers are noted and the reason(s) for a particular answer’s preference are provided. Questions are taken from the textbooks, other readings, video examples, outside resources (like a website), etc.

TWAs (Thinking/Writing Assignments)

The TWAs are short (1-2 page) reaction papers that reflect your understanding of select readings and course concepts. For example, you will be assigned to review the Smart Marriages website marriage-education website. You will read, summarize, and critique 3 articles on how to improve your marriage from this website. This 3-page assignment is a TWA—you think and then you write. TWAs encourage you to go beyond an intellectual understanding of course material and actually think about how to apply the concepts/skills to your own marriage.

The Relationship Assessment

This assessment exercise will be given in the first lesson. Its purpose is to:

Formatting Your Written Work

All TWAs and the Relationship Assessment (RA) should be typed, double-spaced, one-inch margins with a 12 pt. font size. Graded TWAs and the RA will be returned with comments.

Your TWA and RA assignments must be submitted as .DOC or .DOCX files.

Use the course number, your first and last name, and the assignment name for the filename. For example, SFL224_JaneSmith_RelationshipAssessment.docx.

Submitting Written Assignments

Here’s how to submit your completed written assignments:

  1. Click the corresponding Assignment Submission link in your course.
  2. Click Open.
  3. Attach the assignment by clicking the Choose File button, then locating the file you wish to submit.
  4. When you are finished, click Submit.
  5. You will be asked if you are sure you want to submit this assignment. Click Yes.
  6. You will receive a message that tells you that you have successfully submitted your assignment. Click OK.

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Exams are multiple-choice and true-false exams consisting of 50 questions worth 2 points each (each exam is worth 100 pts). About 50% of the exam questions are based on textbook readings and 50% on course readings. The final exam is not comprehensive. Approximately equal numbers of questions on an exam come from each lesson.

In the lesson just before each exam, I provide a study sheet so you know which course content to go back and study the most to pass the exam.

There are no time limits for the exam and there are no extra materials needed to take them. The percentage of points to pass an exam is 60% or higher (see grading calculations for each assignment and exams).

Note: You must pass the final exam to earn credit for the course.

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The grading in this course is based on a point system:

Exam I on First Module 100 points
Exam II on Second Module 100 points
8 Thinking and Writing Assignments (TWAs) 10-20 points each (100 total)
1 Relationship Assessment 50 points
15 Lesson Assignments 10 points each
TOTAL points: 500

Grade Scale

Grades will be calculated by the percentage of total points






































"Marriage does not make you happy. It makes you married! It's your job to make it happy or not!"

Frank Pittman, M.D.

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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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