"This program and our Coach saved our marriage. We were professional arguers with 17 years of experience. No one had taught us how to love and communicate and we are smart people. I would recommend it to anyone. I wished we had come sooner." A Couple's Testimony
if you have marriage problems right now, you feel like you need to get in an Intensive, we’ll get you all connected with the Smalley Institute.
[Jimmy Evans 0:00] Well, over thirty years ago I started as a pre-marriage and marriage counselor. And over the last thirty years, I’ve taken hundreds of people through marriage counseling -- many times, it’s a great experience. But a lot of times, an hour of counseling or two hours of counseling just simply isn’t enough because the problems are so severe, they’re chronic, in many cases there’s a couple on the brink of divorce. An hour or two of counseling won’t even come close to helping them.
[Jimmy Evans 0:26] You know, our frustration here at Marriage Today, for many years, has been we have a lot of people contact us having severe problems and needing help in their marriages and, until recently, we didn’t have a solution for them. But we have now partnered with the Smalley Institute in what is called Intensives. The Smalleys invented Intensives. Gary Smalley and now Michael Smalley and Amy Smalley, they have carried on the tradition. This is Michael and Amy Smalley. God Bless you guys. Good to have you with us.
[Jimmy Evans 0:55] I absolutely love what you do. Now, I want you to explain: what is an Intensive.
[Michael Smalley 1:01] You, know, in essence, Amy and I, we’re going on twenty years of marriage and we’ve been to marriage counseling over the years. So, even though we’re supposed to do this for a living, we get in trouble. And the frustration with marriage counseling is that an hour, like you just said, it really all it ends up doing for a couple is ticking them off to where they’re upset and they have a really rough week. They come back. And so the average couple only goes twice to marriage therapy which, really, as we know is really nowhere enough time.
[Michael Smalley 1:27] And so the Intensive, what makes it different is really two huge factors. One is time. So, our Intensives are two or three days in a row. You go from nine to five with a lunch break. It’s all day. So now you’re getting roughly fourteen hours just processing and identifying what’s broken in the relationship and then what you can do to fix it. And that’s really the second thing is the marriage education piece.
[Amy Smalley 1:52] Absolutely. The marriage education I feel like is the biggest difference because a lot of times, people just get that reflection or they just get, “Yes, uh huh. So how does that make you feel?” Instead of going, “Okay wait a minute. How that just came across. Wow. I totally understand maybe where you’re coming from, that you’re hurt.” And so we tell them why they’re arguing. What’s at the root of that. Those buttons that are underneath that. But we also tell them, “Okay, now how can you communicate that?”
[Amy Smalley 2:17] You know and you talk a lot about how to communicate with compassion and with gentleness. We teach them how to do that and process through their issues and process through in such a way that there is gentleness., that there is resolution, that we get to a solution that works for their marriage.
[Jimmy Evans 2:34] So, in a two day Intensive or a three day Intensive, they’re alone with a therapist. It’s private. And so they’re going to get the therapy -- the professional therapy -- that the need and the training so they don’t just leave with some of their problems kind a massaged around. They leave healed and educated.
[Michael Smalley 2:53] Well, I think, you know, we actually have a 99% with the Intensive program. So 99% of the people the come through say 100% we recommend anybody. And that’s even from the ones that don’t make it. So, there’s couples, obviously, that don’t make it. And so what really helps with that is it’s very goal oriented. I think couples get frustrated in traditional therapy settings that it’s just a long -- hey let’s wait until they figure it out. And in the Intensive program, when they come -- within the first hour or two -- we’re asking you and writing down, “What are your goals? What do you want to accomplish?” And they have it they know exactly, man, “Our sexual intimacy is not where we’d like it,” “There was an affair, how do we repair that?” Some people come in, “Should I even stay in this marriage?”
[Michael Smalley 3:43] It’s intense stuff but what’s fun is when you ask someone, “What do you want to accomplish,” then what we do -- every Intensive is catered to that couple in that moment. So we basically hear what you need and we apply - you know since 1979 everything that we’ve learned, that my father learned, things that you teach, and we apply that to their specific situation.
[Amy Smalley 4:07] And then we get a game plan together. That game plan together is, “What do you want to be held accountable for?” Say, you’re the male, you say, “You know what, honestly I want to respect my wife and I want to not be chauvinistic. I want to be gentle with her.” Okay, we’re going to hold you accountable to that because you’ve said that’s been a kind of struggle for you. As a wife, I really do not want to browbeat my spouse; I don’t want to nag. So, okay, there you go. We’re going to hold each other accountable to that. And, then, what happens is they have a follow-up after that. And then the follow-up usually happens about a month after. And then we get a chance to see did we succeed and fail. And then, I’m going to hold you accountable. And then I can continue on with them. I have couples that I see quarterly, you know? Yeah.
[Michael Smalley 4:51] Well, they don’t get ditched, is the point. It’s kind of the beginning.
[Jimmy Evans 0:55] I love everything about it. Now your dad is Gary Smalley and Gary Smalley was the premier marriage expert when I was coming up and learning what I did. He was a great mentor for me. I used to watch your dad teach and he was funny and he was brilliant and I thought, “I want to be Gary Smalley. That’s who I want to be like.” But you guys invented these Intensives. Now, what is the rate -- all the couples you see are really having severe problems -- okay -- how many of them make it?
[Michael Smalley 5:21] Yeah, were at about an 85% success rate which is radically higher than traditional therapy. And what’s exciting about that is there’s hope. Even with the expansion, because you kind of get nervous when you’re sort of the founders. My brother was the big leader in this thing at the Smalley Institute but when you found something, ugh is it going to replicate? What we’ve discovered is yeah. It’s not rocket science. There are some key things we’ve discovered over a decade now researching Intensives that if we can get a couple to learn just a few core skills, it will turn around.
[Jimmy Evans 5:57] I love it. Well, as a pastor, if you’re a pastor, if you’re a business owner, if you’re a parent, whatever you are, you may have issues that you feel like you need an intensive, you can go on our website, marriagetoday.com/intensives. All the information about the Smalley Institute is right there to show you where they are. So, hopefully, there’ll be one close to you and you guys are raising up new people all the time. So this will be spreading across the country. But just remember the Intensive model because, think about it, 85% of critically-ill couples that come to them for marriage help -- their marriage has turned around. The divorce has stopped or, at least, the pain has stopped in their lives. This is huge.
[Jimmy Evans 6:40] It really is a game changer, honestly, and for us as a ministry now when we have a couple that comes to us with severe problems, 100% of the time, we try to get them into an Intensive. And when we do, we see radical changes in their lives. This is huge. As a pastor, as a business owner, as a family member, when you see someone hurting in their marriage, remember this issue of Intensives because this gives hope and healing -- real healing. In two or three days they can have a huge turnaround and then come back for checkups when they need to and have a point of accountability.
[Jimmy Evans 7:18] I cannot recommend this highly enough. I love the Smalleys. This is a fantastic family. They believe in marriage. They’ve been investing in marriages for decades and now they have this wonderful Smalley Institute that is able to help people in marriage problems. So if you have marriage problems right now, you feel like you need to get in an Intensive, go on our website, marriagetoday.com/intensives and we’ll get you all connected with the Smalley Institute. God bless you.
"This program is wonderful! The processes that my husband and I have learned are life changing! We are going to have a better marriage because of the tools that we have learned. The skills we had were lacking, at best, and we have realized that what we will be applying to our lives will not only effect us, but our children and even their children. I am thrilled to know that we will be able to teach them by being good (better) role models."
"We saw God do amazing things in our two-day intensive. I had all but given up on my marriage. I came out of obligation and had decided I would be done with the mess of a marriage that we had. After 26 years of pain and inability to communicate, after addiction and infidelity. God showed up and healed a shattered relationship and stared us on a new journey. Looking forward to continuing on in therapy. Our coach was such a blessing and made us so comfortable. No words to describe what happened. Thank you!"
"I personally had about given up on our marriage. After years, even decades of different counselors, we were still stuck in unhealthy and destructive cycles. Our coach had the knowledge, style, tools, and care to hear our pain, validate us, and teach us to do that for each other. It was the key for our hearts to soften and opened the door to a healthier and happier future together."
The Smalley Virtual Intensive is a 1, 2, or 3 day virtual marriage intensive that gives you effective, long-term results to relationship issues. We now offer a three hour version of our virtual intensive that helps make it even more affordable. This unique experience focuses on helping you resolve your biggest conflicts. It’s built on the proven techniques and communication skills used in every successful relationship.
Yes. This in-depth, one-on-one experience with a certified marriage coach shows you how you can rebuild trust, resolve marital problems, and restore relationships.
The Smalley Intensive one-on-one program really works, because it’s customized for your unique relationship.
In just two days, you can rediscover why you fell in love in the first place. Take your first step on the path to a stronger, more loving relationship today.
Each intensive is personally scheduled to meet your needs and your calendar. There are no set dates for a Smalley Intensive because we schedule them at a time that works for you.
Each intensive is lead by a highly trained Smalley Intensive Coach. Only the best experts in marriage and family are chosen to be a part of our intensive program.
The typical virtual intensive starts at 9:00am and goes till 5:00pm with an hour lunch break on both days. You can choose to add an optional third day. Our Intensive Consultants help you determine what's best for your specific circumstance.
Because of the current pandemic we are now offering our powerful program virtually. Meet via video conferencing with one of our coaches. You'll be surprised by how effective virtual coaching can be!
[Daniel 0:00]: We had different struggles throughout our relationship, and finally, we were kind of at the last straw/breaking point.
[Lexi 0:06]: You know, working in a church and being in a place where counselling wasn’t going to be as comfortable. We really needed an outside source, and we needed somebody who really knew what they were doing because our situation was pretty intense.
[Lexi 0:30]: In booking the Intensive, it was absolutely a completely supportive situation. I actually had to call to cancel our Intensive because I didn’t think that Daniel was going to go. I believe I spent over an hour on the phone just being encouraged to stick with it. Just being encouraged to stick it out and just come by myself, even if that was necessary. I really felt like rather than them going, “Okay, see you later. We’ll book somebody in your place,” I really felt like they genuinely cared about our relationship and about our ability to make it work.
[Daniel 1:12]: On the flipside, because I’m coming from the aspect of when I went to it I didn’t want it to work. I didn’t want to be there but yet I went and said, “You know what? Forget it. I’m already done so what does it matter. I can give it a try and say, ‘I told you so.’”
[Lexi 1:25]: Coming in knowing that we were going to be sitting in an Intensive for two eight hour days was very intimidating to me. I know the personality of my husband, and I know my personality. I just wasn’t sure how we were going to be able to work through some of the things we needed to work through.
[Daniel 1:47]: Coming into it that was my basic rule. She was going to be all about, “What you said,” ‘cause you scheduled it and everything else and it wasn’t. It was a bunch of my points, a bunch of things that I needed to be heard or that I had issues with. It was a balance between, “Okay, Daniel you’re at fault here, Lexi you’re at fault here, and here is where you meet in the middle of the two.” And saying, “You know what? What’s the matter I can try these few little things, I can try these few tips that they gave us and different things to do in different situations.” It was like a light switch as far as, “Wait a minute, this problem went away because I did it. This isn’t happening because I’m reacting this certain way.” Just all the little things that helped.
[Lexi 2:27]: I feel like we were just sitting right at home. Not only that but we were able to discuss those hard things with somebody who was capable of walking us through them and who made us feel like we weren’t crazy for being in that situation. That did help that eight hours go by very quickly and very smoothly. Day two was a little better, there were softer hearts and there were things that we were able to pull out of that to practice some of the things we learned the first day. So I believe that the two days were definitely a necessary thing. If you want to make your marriage work then it is worth spending the money and the time to invest for the longevity of your relationship. Not only how to deal with tough stuff but how to communicate in a way that keeps peace just on a day to day basis.
[Simon 0:00]: I think when people talk to people about coming to a smaller intensive I think a lot of people first mull on the price and from an economic perspective, when we were faced with the same decision, divorce is an expensive process. I believe that, “Okay, you should pay for education.” Well what we got out of it was education but we also avoided a divorce.
[Nathalie 0:27]: It was great! I think Amy understood where we were at. She was really able to dig into where we needed to be in and coach us in that way, she was incredible. We also are at different levels spiritually and she was really able to not make that an issue and to help us with that also.
[Simon 0:52]: Amy dealt with me without, let say this, I never got “Bible-Bashed” by Amy and she didn’t call me the Anti-Christ either, so there’s a balance for you. I knew coming in that your work wasn’t about Christianity or scripture or converting anybody, your work was about working on the marriage. For the people who wanted that side, you were included, as part of the people where that wasn’t important, that wasn’t your primary focus. I didn’t feel like I was in danger of being converted. You get somebody who’s with you for those two days. You get a hundred percent of that person’s attention and help through that time period. And you’re not talking about taking out the garbage you’re talking about really really difficult issues and we needed somebody to help us talk to each other or at least help us talk at all.
[Nathalie 1:49]: It is so much better than going to weekly counseling because you are really right there, you have nowhere to go you have got to finish it in a couple of days and move on.
[Simon 2:01]: After the end of the first day everything’s kind of raw. You know and you could send off to go and have some quality time together! You know you come back here in the second day and put it back together but I think it’s an emotional ride for all three of us, I don’t discount the fact that Amy became part of that two days as much as we were in it. I felt that actually by the end of the two days were were pretty exhausted, learned a lot at that stage, it was time to actually start doing.
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