The cost of education.......
My wife and I were talking about one of the couples that had been at the center for about three months. When they originally came they had problems they believed were insurmountable and thought that a new start (without each other) might be the best option. We were told we were the last stop before the courts!
We did what we almost always do, ask for a week for every year of marriage (or six weeks if married less than six years). We gave them some tools the first week, gave them homework assignments every week, and held them accountable individually for their progress. We told them it took a while to get into this mess, it will take a while to get out, however, you should start seeing improvement in three or four weeks. They did, and although they are still working towards the relationship they both want, they are both happy with the one they now have and no longer need us to continue growing.
This got us talking about the cost. They came in once a week for twelve weeks. Since it was during the week the cost came to about $320 per month. After three months they were ready to leave.
Had they gone the other route (starting over with another person) the average attorney fee is around $250 per hour, with an amicable divorce costing between $3500-$5000. Of course, since each of them would have had to have an attorney this would be double. Unfortunately, this money comes from the same set of assets (the couple's home, retirement, etc.) so unless money was not an object this would change the standard of living for both them and their children. This doesn't even count the cost to the extended family.
What we teach here is not rocket science. We are not physicists. We do believe relationships are learned behavior. We offer hope through practical education (communication tools) and spiritual growth (teaching how to love). We are grateful for the couples that come see us before trying other options.
At the end of the day, it's not a "cost" but an investment. Not only will this couple use the tools they now have, but they will teach their children to use them also. Now that's what I really call a return on investment!