The first years of marriage are the hardest.
The first years of marriage are the hardest.
It turns out, marriage is hard.
We know this isn't the first time you've been told that, and it isn't because there's anything wrong with you—or marriage!
Navigating one life is difficult enough. Tying two together? It's not surprising it feels like trying to run a three-legged marathon.
Everyone, including you, is so optimistic when you start out. But then life gets real, real fast.
So... you're married!
- What do you mean, you don't know how to budget?
- You load the dishwasher THAT way?
- How can you sleep in so late?
- Do we really have to do that thing with your family?
(We promise, this is hard for everyone. It's not just you!)
You read the books, you did pre-marital counseling, you did everything you could to prepare
— and you're still not sure if you're doing it right.
Pre-marital counseling just isn't real life.
Pre-marital counseling just isn't real life.
First of all, you were probably in the middle of planning a wedding—so safe to say your plate was full and you were more than a little distracted.
You don't always get to pick when, or with whom you do your pre-marital counseling. Most are great, but talking sex with your pastor may be a little...awkward.
There's just no way to know what it's like to be married to your person until you're actually married to your person!
This is why pre-marital counseling leaves many with a false sense of preparedness.
You can imagine what you'll do or speculate about the unique challenges you'll face as a couple...
pre-marital counseling is great, but here's the thing...
Until you're actually in it, it's all just theoretical.
Marriage is WAY too important to just wing it and hope for the best.
Most of our pre-marital education happens before we've identified our real trouble spots. And then a lot of us wait for true couples therapy until we're dealing with really big problems.
But we're on a mission to bridge the gap.
We want you to actually enjoy your early years of marriage, and lay a strong, intentional foundation for an incredible lifetime to come.
We want you to have the help you need when you actually need it (and way before you really really need it!)
What if you could go back and re-do pre-marital counseling now that you actually know what it's like to be married?
so here's your do-over
This course is well worth the investment. You'll be so glad you took it."
In The Marriage Starter Kit, we'll help you get on the same page in six of the trickiest (and most important!) areas of your marriage and life together.
In the course you'll learn what you need to do today to set yourselves up for the marriage, the family, and the life you both want in the future.
Very few couples stumble into a marriage and a life they love. We'll help you build a path to get there.
A 6-week course for couples in their first few years of marriage.
A lot of people, books, etc. will tell you communication is the key to a healthy marriage. Easier said than done, right? That's why we start off the course talking about where this advice falls short, what healthy communication really looks like, and the practical things you can do to start communicating more effectively today.
If your marriage is going to grow and stay dynamic, the people in it need to grow in their ability to love one another—in every way. That's why week two is all about making plans and getting practical about love, romance, sex, and more.
Kids are a great place to start, but they aren't your only goal or dream for your future together.
In week six we shift our focus further into the future. We'll discuss how to dream together, make future plans, and then actually take the steps to pursue what you want in your career, finances, impact or philanthropy, travel, and more!
In marriage there are some things you just have to be ok not being on the same page about (like the "right" way to load the dishwasher). Your plan for kids isn't one of those things.
We'll help you talk about your hopes and expectations as well as your ideas about roles and responsibilities. We'll also help you determine your timeline, when to start, and what to do if things don't go as planned.
LET'S BREAK it DOWN
The truth is, the healthier you are as individuals, the better your marriage will be. However, many couples handicap their marriages from the start by never learning to understand and support what their partner needs to feel fully healthy.
Week three is all about how you can work together to get both of your needs met in areas like sleep, physical and mental health, autonomy or togetherness, friends or hobbies, physical space and more.
Co-habitation is a field of marriage booby-traps, hidden behind what seems like run-of-the-mill logistics and seemingly straightforward to-dos. Don't be fooled!
Week four will save you from so many unnecessary disagreements—and big fights—by teaching you how to share a space (and a to-do list!) without wanting to kill each other.
"There were so many times I looked at my husband during the course and said, 'Every couple needs to take this!'
There are so many practical tips and concepts that I know will truly help us minimize (or even totally prevent!) issues in the future. Every single section was incredibly valuable, and we will take these lessons to heart for the rest of our lives."
"This course is so worth your time. It's truly a priceless investment in your future.
The course helps bring you closer together, and helps you talk through things you might not normally bring up on your own. Not only that, but it’s such a comfortable, casual setting. You feel like you’re getting to have dinner with Carl and Stephanie every week. We positively loved it."
"Before we found this course, we felt stuck, alone, and desperate for help — this course changed everything!
It's not that Steph and Carl waved a magic wand and fixed it all for us — but they met us where we were at, shared their own experiences with us, pointed us towards invaluable resources and ultimately JESUS. And it made all the difference for us."
6 live mentorship video sessions (6+ hours of mentorship with Stephanie and Carl)
Lifetime access to the recordings of these mentorship video sessions. That way you can watch them whenever is most convenient for you and rewatch whenever you need a refresher
A weekly 30-minute Q&A session where you can ask Steph and Carl any question you have about marriage, faith, life, and more
A 100-page workbook. Many of the lessons have their own exercises, and this printable workbook creates space for you to really dig into the curriculum, as well as take notes and keep a record of all the things you're learning, and all the plans you're making together
Each person gets a one-on-one Zoom call with Stephanie or Carl during the six weeks. You can choose to do them individually (him with Carl, her with Steph), or to do a 2-on-2 with Carl and Steph together
join the waitlist
You'll get to see (and add your name to!) our Community Directory. That way you’ll be able to see everyone who's taking the course, see all the things you have in common, find people who live in your same town, and connect with each other in real life! (This is a GREAT way to make new friends!!)
Access to our suite of 7+ bonus videos
The course covered so many important topics and helped us have some incredibly meaningful conversations. Our communication is so much better than it was before, and that’s made our relationship even stronger."
PAY IN FULL
Most Economical Plan
6 monthly payments
Most Adaptable Plan
You can enroll with one easy payment
OR, easy monthly payments to spread out the investment.
Imagine what could happen if people invested even a fraction of that time and energy in the foundation of their marriages!
My fiancé and I have always been very intentional with how we've gone about things and this was a perfect guide to help us navigate moving into this next season with that same intentionality."
How to bond with your new family, set appropriate boundaries, and plan the holidays now that you’re together (without ruining everyone's family traditions).
How to Deal with Difficult In-Laws
For years, many of us have been taught that it's IMPERATIVE that we're both equally strong in our faith. But what happens if we're not, or if we express our faith differently, or if one (or both) of our beliefs change along the way? That's what we'll talk about in this bonus video — now to navigate both faith and doubt together.
Whether you're choosing between apartments, considering buying a house, or wondering if it's time to leave (or come back to!) the place where you grew up — the question of "Where should we live?" is such a hard one to answer. In this bonus video, we'll teach you the decision-making process we've used for almost a decade that has led to some of the best decisions of our lives!
Where should we live?
In this bonus video, you'll learn:
✔️ How to stay close to your friends now that you're married. (How to make this transition with your community instead of away from your community.)
✔️ Couple friends: Why you need them and how to meet them
✔️ How to balance time with friends, time with family, and time with just the two of you (without hurting everybody’s feelings)
✔️ And why friendship is one of the best gifts you can each give your marriage.
How to navigate friendship now that you're married
In this bonus video, we're talking about what it looks like to have two big dreams in one marriage. We'll talk about how to get on the same page about your career goals, how to support each other, how to make time and space for the things you're each meant to do in the world, when to prioritize one over the other, how to avoid pitfalls like comparison or jealousy, and more.
How to support each other's career goals
As a couple, do you need to be on the same page about your political beliefs? And what do you do if you're not? In this bonus video, we'll talk about how to keep political tension from causing problems in your marriage.
How to navigate politics in your marriage.
You're not alone in this, and you don't have to figure this out alone! In this audio interview, you'll learn what to do to find healing, and freedom, and redemption in this area of your life and marriage.
What to do if you or your spouse struggles with porn
We laughed, [I] cried, if you're on the fence, don't wait. You'll wish you'd done it sooner!
“I loved working through the workbook answers together. We laughed, [I] cried — the prompts helped bring to light our values and preferences on big, important topics in greater depth than what we had discussed at that point. If you're on the fence, don't wait. You'll wish you'd done it sooner!"
"I feel 1000% more confident in our life and relationship together. This is a 5-star course for SURE!"
"I feel 1000% more confident in our life and relationship together! I know that we will face many trials and hard times in life but now I feel like we know how to do it TOGETHER. This is a 5-star course for SURE."
"There's so much practical insight in here, you will not be sorry you spent the money!"
“We took this course while we were engaged, and it made all the different. I feel more prepared for wedding planning, dealing with family, sex, becoming roommates. Take this course!! There is so much practical insight in here, you will not be sorry you spent the money!”
"This is the practical and down-to-earth marriage intro that you are looking for. It's also an excellent opportunity to have some intimate time with your partner!”
The "unknowns" of marriage feel less scary after taking this course. I believe that my partner and I now have the tools we need to tackle any issue in the future.
“This course is SO worth it! We are in a MUCH better place than we were when we started the course. It was so helpful!!"
When we got engaged, we knew getting married would be a big life transition. But overnight it turned into the biggest transition of our lives.
Three months before our wedding, we were both laid off from our jobs. In an instant, our paychecks, our plans for our careers, our homes, our community, our mentors — all of it was ripped out from under us.
And so suddenly, we weren’t just combining our lives together, we were building a whole new life from scratch.
One night, all of Stephanie's fears about our future came spilling out. She was so worried that we were going to make the wrong decisions, or miss the right decisions, or mess something up — the stakes just felt so high in every part of our lives.
Carl took her hands, looked her in the eye, and he said, “Steph, we get to decide.”
He told Stephanie that marriage (and family, and work, and home, and life!) isn’t one-size-fits-all. Every couple is different, every marriage is different, every family is different. This is our life to build together and we can build it in the way that's right for us.
Now, we've spent the last nine years doing just that.
Two businesses, three houses, two babies, 16 new passport stamps, and countless experiences later — we love the life we’ve built together.
Our life is a reflection of who we are and the family we want to be.
Yes, our first years of marriage were EXTRA hard — and we really did have to build a new life together from scratch.
And that's why we've made it our mission to be who we wish we had when we were newlyweds — friends and mentors — a couple just a few steps ahead of us who could walk us through this, make our journey easier, and help us from wandering off course along the way.
That’s something we’ve been doing — both in official capacities, and informally over dinners and coffee dates — for the last several years. And we’re so excited to share what we’ve learned with more couples through The Marriage Starter Kit.
If you’re on the fence, we totally understand. This is such a busy, important, and expensive season of life. You don't want to spend a minute (or a dollar!) on something that isn't absolutely worth it.
And so that’s why we offer our 100% Risk Free Promise.
After fully completing the six weeks, if either one of you feels like the program wasn't helpful, we will refund you 100%. That way you can sign up and take advantage of all of the possibilities available to you without any of the risk.
Read our full terms and conditions right here
Meet your mentors!
Carl Wilson is a design thinking expert who helps individuals, brands, and organizations create beautiful things that make a difference in the world.
He coaches his clients on how to shape their company culture with intentionality and purpose, and that’s how he approaches relationships as well.
Carl believes marriage is the most meaningful, challenging, and profoundly shaping relationship we have in life and is passionate about helping couples discover their relationship roots and intentionally build their family culture.
He’s been doing this, both publicly and behind the scenes, with Stephanie for years, and he’s excited to partner with Stephanie in teaching this course.
Outside of work, you can find him on the golf course, coaching lacrosse, or going on adventures with Stephanie and their twin toddlers, Annie and Quinn.
Meet your mentors!
Stephanie May Wilson is an author, a podcaster, and the go-to guide for 20 & 30-something women — helping them figure out what they want to do with their lives.
Over the last ten years, Stephanie has had the honor of mentoring more than a million women through her books, her courses, and her chart-topping podcast, Girls Night.
After taking her courses and reading her books, women have gone on to adopt children, travel around the world, step further into their identity and calling, and have incredible marriages.
Stephanie’s writing has been featured on NBC, the Anthropologie blog, and Relevant Magazine. She has also been a long-time blog contributor for CNBC’s Nightly Business Report, Darling Magazine, and the Christian Mingle blog.
Stephanie May Wilson
We have answers!
Great question! So many of us are new to the world of online courses (and they can feel a bit confusing at times!), so let’s break down what it actually looks like to join us.
The course is made up of three main parts:
1. Six weekly live video calls
We'll be teaching each module of the course on a website called Riverside (you'll just click a link and you'll be able to watch live and ask us questions via live chat!), but we hope our time together feels more like six dinner dates than a class! We hope you will order in, or make dinner ahead of time, and curl up on the couch together to join us. We'll be on our couch too (and may or may not be eating our dinner as we hang out), and then we'll work through a section of content together via live video!
Carl and I have so much to teach and share with you (including so many personal stories of our own — things we did well, and things we would definitely go back and do differently if we could!), and we'll also have time where you can ask us questions. Truly, nothing is off-limits. This is the time and the place to ask the questions you have about this season of life and the next. We're here for it.
The live calls will take place each Tuesday (Feb 21, Feb 28, March 7, March 14, March 21, and March 28th) at 7:30pm CST and will last for about an hour. We'll finish up our time together on Tuesday nights with 30 minutes of Q&A.
(If you can't join us live for one or even all of the calls, that is TOTALLY okay. We know we'll have people joining us from all different time zones and with all different schedules. We'll be recording each and every call so you can go back and watch it at a time that works for you. You won't be missing out at all.)
You'll have access to those video replays indefinitely (for as long as the course exists, which we're hoping is for years and years to come!) which means you can go back and re-watch videos whenever you need a refresher, a reminder, or just a pep talk!
Whenever you do watch the videos — either live or on-demand — we do recommend that you reserve an additional hour each week for the next part of the course...
2. The workbook
When you're finished watching the video (either live or recorded!) we'll then send you off with an assignment. It will either be a short activity or a series of questions to answer together, but this is where the good stuff happens.
This is the moment when you take what you learned from us in the call and put it into practice in your own relationship. This will be a time of opening up, of vulnerability, of getting to know each other on a deeper, more meaningful level, of falling more in love. This is the time when you ask big important questions and really take the time to listen to each other's answers.
This is where you start to get on the same page about what you want your life together to look like and when you make a plan for how you're actually going to make that a reality.
Then, last but not least, there's...
3. The 1-on-1 call with Steph and Carl
Everyone who signs up for the course will have an opportunity to have a 30-minute one-on-one call with either Stephanie or Carl. (You can also opt in for 2-on-2 if you want to have your call together!). This was our favorite part of teaching the course last time. We can't wait to get to know you better!
So, that's the course! If you have any additional questions about the structure of the course or how it will work, please do not hesitate to reach out! We're always here to help! (Hello@StephanieMayWilson.com)
Great question! We've designed the course for couples who have been married for less than 3 years. But if you're seriously dating, engaged, or have been married for longer, you're also totally welcome to join us. If the course sounds like it would be helpful for you, we'd love to have you!
Nope! Not at all. We will be teaching each part of the course through live video (Tuesday nights at 7:30pm CST) but if you can't join us live, that's no problem at all. We'll record every minute of our time together and put that video on our private course website (you'll get access to that as soon as you sign up for the course!), and you can go back and watch the video at the time that works best for you!
The course will begin on Tuesday, February 21st at 7:30pm CST. That's when we'll be going live and teaching part one of the course. And then we'll be teaching part six on March 25nd.
This course is for couples! So men and women are both invited. The course will be taught by Carl and Stephanie Wilson, and it's designed for you to watch together!
I totally hear you. The thought of spending an extra dollar on anything right now is truly hard to stomach.
(We lost four jobs between the two of us before our first anniversary — we know how tight money can be.)
But even so, we don't offer any scholarships or discounts. That's for two reasons:
The first is that we've done everything we can to offer this course at a rock-bottom price. Comparable programs, retreats, and mentorships are usually offered for upwards of 1,000 dollars! (Especially when you factor in travel and lodging and meals and more). And so because we want as many couples to be able to participate as possible, we’ve tried to keep the cost as low as possible.
The other reason we don’t do discounts or scholarships is because we know there’s such a strong correlation between what we put into something and what we get out of it. When we’ve invested our hard-earned money into something, we’re more likely to give it the best of our time and our effort. You really will get so much more out of this course because you have some skin in the game. It’s crazy how it works that way. But it’s really true!
But still, we know how tight our budgets can be, and so that's why we created the 12-month payment plan. We're hoping that makes it possible for you to join us!
When you pictured your first few years of marriage, you pictured romance, right? But the truth is, romance can be a bit hard to come by during this season of life. You're going through an enormous transition, you're still responsible for every part of your normal life, but now you're trying to figure out how to do them together. It's a lot — and not always romantic.
But we’re here to help. Our hope is that instead of watching these videos individually, that you'd carve out an evening and watch them together.
Make dinner, light a candle, curl up on the couch together and join the call! We'll walk through a section together and then give you plenty of time to discuss, dream, pray, and work through a series of questions or an activity once we're finished.
This is going to work like a course (in that you'll walk away with a ton of practical, actionable information and next steps), but it'll feel much more like a date night!
You'll finish the course having had six wonderful, intimate, connective date nights with each other.
Great question! If you keep pace with us, the course should take about two hours per week for six weeks in a row. We recommend devoting one evening to it — watching it during dinner and then instead of curling up with Netflix, curling up with your course workbook and talking through the questions together.
We know it is so hard to find time for anything extra — especially during busy seasons of life.
We also know that the work you put into your relationship on the front-end through this course will pay off and truly save you so much time later down the road.
Because you talked through so many of these things, got on the same page, made a plan, and did it now – you will truly spend so much less time feeling frustrated with each other, and honestly, fighting about these things from now on.
(We say this from experience. Face-palm)
But of course, that doesn’t change the fact that you’re really busy. If this is you, know that once you sign up for the course you will have access to the material for as long as the course exists (which we hope is years and years to come!).
So if you need to wait a few weeks to start watching the videos, or even wait a few months until summer or another time that's a bit more open for you, or if you need to spread them out so you do one every few weeks instead of one per week, you can absolutely do that. You can go at your own pace. The content isn't going anywhere. (And you can come back and re-watch the videos any time you need a refresher!)
The truth is, we're not sure! We may be offering the course one more time this year, but also, this may be the only time we ever teach it. There is also the chance that if we do teach it another time, the price will increase by then.
So if you are interested in the course, we do recommend signing up now. Even if you have to wait and hold onto the content for a while before you're able to fully dive in.
Once you sign up for the course, you'll have access to all of the material for as long as the course exists, which we hope is for years and years to come!
That’s a great question! The last thing we'd ever want you to do is to invest in something that’s not going to really be helpful and beneficial to your life.
So we'll tell you two things:
First: The principles, ideas, and lessons we're going to teach you in this course have been backed up and verified by tons of other experts in the different fields we’re diving into. Not only that, but we have personally used and benefited from each of the things we're going to teach you in this course. We have been the personal guinea pigs for every single thing we're about to share with you, and these things have truly made an enormous difference in our lives and our marriage. (So many of our friends and mentors have experienced the same things!)
Second: That being said, whether this works in your life is really up to you. You will get as much out of this course as you put into it. But I know that if you put your heart, your time, and your effort into this course and actually put these things into practice, it will make a huge difference in your relationship.
However, if you go through this entire course and feel that it wasn’t helpful, let us know and we will refund you 100%. More than anything, we want this to be truly helpful for you!
Absolutely. More than anything, we want this to be helpful and beneficial to your life. And so if you make it through the course and feel like this wasn’t helpful, we would be more than happy to give you your money back (Not happy, because we'll be sad that it wasn’t helpful… you know what we mean!)
But we do have three things we’ll ask you to do before we give you a refund:
- We ask that you complete the course first and submit all of your completed worksheets to us. We want you to really put your heart into the course, really give it a solid chance before you decide it didn’t work.
- We ask that you include a note to us explaining why the course wasn’t beneficial to you. We want to continue to make this course better, and so if it didn’t work, it’s important that we can understand why.
- We ask that you submit your refund request within 45 days of when you signed up for the course. Since the course is only six weeks long, we won’t be able to give refunds after those 45 days are up.
Absolutely not! Anyone is welcome! However, I will tell you that we do talk some about Jesus, about prayer, and about the Bible throughout the course. So if that’s something you’re comfortable with, go ahead and join us! But if you’re looking for something that’s fully faith-neutral, this might not be the best fit.
This course is designed to be an encouraging resource and a step in a healthy, positive direction, but it is not a replacement for professional in-person mentorship, counseling, or therapy.
We are not licensed therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, or counselors.
But we are HUGE fans of people who are.
Our hope is that this course is a great supplement to counseling. There are things you'll be able to talk about in counseling that we won't cover here, or won't be able to cover as personally. But also, there are things we'll share and teach that you may not get in counseling!
Our hope is that they can work in tandem instead of you feeling like you should choose one or the other.
We totally understand! We want this to be something you are both excited about and both willing to do. (A marriage course isn't super helpful when it's just one-sided!).
So our hope is that you are able to find something you both feel good about. And if this is not that thing, that's totally okay!
We have you covered, friend! Just send us an email at Hello@StephanieMayWilson.com. 🙂