PAIRS Inbox: Frequently Asked Questions

InboxTens of thousands of people reach out to PAIRS Foundation each month through the website and articles posted on, one of the Internet’s fastest growing and most popular sites for news, tips and resources for parenting, family, and marriage education. This week, we’ll begin posting messages from our Inbox that represent some of the most Frequently Asked Questions along with brief answers and contact information to learn more. We’ll add new items to the our “Inbox” regularly.

You can also find additional Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on the PAIRS website.

PAIRS Essentials WorkbookI am interested in learning more about the content of your program and the courses offered in British Columbia.  A friend suggested I check it out. I have a degree in Social Work and I would like to get into family counseling.

You can find a directory of PAIRS trained professionals and a list of classes open to the public online at PAIRS training will strengthen your work as a family counselor and also prepare you to teach evidence-based relationship skills and marriage education classes in your community. PAIRS Foundation offers five levels of training. The first level includes 32 hours of immersion in PAIRS most popular research-validated programs such as PAIRS Essentials (9 hours) and PAIRS for Life (12 hours), theory, best practices, classroom facilitation skills, and ethical practices. For information on upcoming certification trainings, e-mail or call (877) 724-7748 x80.

I’m looking for a premarital program. I was hoping for something ongoing not just a one-day session. Does PAIRS offer anything like that?

PAIRS programs range from one-day to a semester-long Mastery Course which many consider the most important investment a couple can make in their marriage and family. Unfortunately, few people have the time and resources to participate in a semester-long course, which has meant that the full Mastery program is taught by only a handful of PAIRS Master Teachers in a small number of communities. PAIRS brief, evidence-based programs such as PAIRS Essentials and PAIRS for Life are taught as one-day, weekend, and multi-week seminars throughout the country and online. It’s important to recognize that PAIRS is not marriage counseling or therapy. PAIRS is skills training that teaches singles and couples a range of practical, proven skills for improving communication, emotional understanding, and conflict resolution. While longer programs offer more support for practicing and integrating the skills within a classroom setting, the most important work in PAIRS is taking the skills you learn in the program and using them in your life outside of the PAIRS class.

Do you have any employment opportunities with your organization?  What is the procedure to become a trainer?

PAIRS is not currently hiring, although we’re happy to review your resume and consider you for a future position. You can e-mail a cover letter and resume to if you’d like our HR Department to keep you in mind.

Almost all of the instructors trained to lead PAIRS classes are independent practitioners who offer classes through local community and faith-based organizations, private practices, and other behavioral health programs. Becoming trained to lead PAIRS classes requires successfully completing PAIRS Level One training, a 32-hour professional development program that includes immersion in our brief curriculum, along with best practices, theory, classroom facilitation skills and ethical standards. For information on upcoming certification trainings, e-mail or call (877) 724-7748 x80.

Do you do your classes by phone or SKYPE? Or are there intensives? We live in Northern California and there are no PAIRS classes near us.

PAIRS Intensives are offered in California through our partnership with the California Healthy Marriage Coalition. You can find a schedule and contact information for upcoming classes at PAIRS Foundation offers the full PAIRS Essentials class online every six to eight weeks. For upcoming dates, see, e-mail, or call (877) 724-7748 x80. Many PAIRS Instructors offer weekend intensives. Those that are open to the public are often listed in the online calendar.

Are there any programs in the NYC/Long Island area?

PAIRS has trained many instructors throughout New York who primarily provide classes through faith-based organizations. Please check our calendar and directory at or e-mail for more information.

We live in remote rural Utah.  Is there a way to purchase your basic materials and exercises in PDF or print?  With e-mail contact?  One of us took a three-day training with you about ten years, thinks very highly of the course, and would like very much to share with this current partner.

If it’s not possible to travel for a weekend PAIRS Essentials class, we suggest participating in an upcoming webinar. You can preview the participant materials from the course at this link. You’ll also find many articles about the skills taught in PAIRS at While it can be valuable to read articles such as the Thanksgiving Family Survival Guide and review the course workbook, you’ll miss out on the experiential process that is vital to discovering what’s possible for you and your relationship. We often compare it to reading about swimming. Without getting in the water by participating in an actual class, it’s not the same.

Last year I attended the PAIRS workshops when I was at a different school.  Is there anyway my new school can get PAIRS in the form of a grant?

For the past five years, PAIRS has provided free classes for South Florida high school students, teachers, and parents as part of the Healthy Marriage Demonstration Project grant-funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families.  If you’d like to propose your school for services this year, e-mail your request to, including a brief description of the school, community, and how PAIRS can best contribute to more successful students, a safer school, and a stronger community.

Hi, I was told about your program through a family member, and I am very interested in possibly enrolling with my fiance.  My only concern, however, is that he is currently in Afghanistan and will not be returning until July.  I saw on your website that you have classes available to returning soldiers and their families, in addition to the standard classes (both of which I would like to take).  Will you continue to offer either of these classes in the Northern Virginia region? Thank you and have a lovely day.

PAIRS retreats for military and veterans before and after deployment have been widely recognized for their positive contribution to families who have sacrificed much in service to our country. Weekend retreats are offered regularly by VA Chaplains and behavioral health specialists at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia and the San Diego VA Health Care System in San Diego. Nearly 100 other VA leaders have been trained to deliver PAIRS classes in communities across the country. I suggest contacting Chaplain Ron Craddock for information about participating in one of their retreats. PAIRS general classes can also be helpful, although they are not funded by the VA. There are several excellent instructors in the Northern Virginia area who offer classes throughout the year that are listed at when they become open for registration.

I’m interested in an upcoming class in Alexandria, VA. How can we learn more about costs, location, hours, and how to enroll?

Each listing on our online calendar includes contact information for the instructor. You should call or e-mail the instructor directly for more information. If you need further assistance, please call our office at (877) 724-7748 x80.

I need help. My husband may be bi-sexual. While I was out of town, he invited a man to our home. Please help me save our marriage.

PAIRS provides skills training that can help you and your husband make it safe to confide in each other, better understand each of your emotional experiences, and negotiate differences. As an educational program, PAIRS doesn’t get involved in the unique issues couples or individuals bring to the class beyond helping participants learn skills to communicate with empathy for each other, safely release emotional intensity, and figure out with each other how you’ll address challenges in your relationship today and in the future. Any upcoming PAIRS class or webinar can help you begin the process. Many graduates have said PAIRS was like learning to be their own counselors and therapists.

I ‘m try to sell a trip to somebody . What is the best time of the year to visit France, something to do there, and the best hotel? I’d like something near the center where I can walk and go sightseeing. Please email me back.

We suspect you’ve reached the wrong organization. We’re “PAIRS,” which stands for “Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills,” not “PARIS”.

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What is PAIRS?

Intimacy is critical to the process of developing and sustaining close relationships, now a major concern in our culture. Modernization has shifted the primary function of marriage from providing security, stability, and raising children to developing a lifetime of love and intimacy. In previous generations successful marriages depended upon duty and role competence. Modern marriages require greater interpersonal competence as well as equality between partners. Relationships are sought that not only create stable families but also provide partners with a lifetime of love and companionship.

The PAIRS (Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills) programs, developed by Lori H. Gordon, Ph.D., provide a comprehensive system to enhance self-knowledge and to develop the ability to sustain pleasurable intimate relationships. Gordon's approach integrates a wide range of theories and methods from psychology, education and psychotherapy and presents them in an educational format. PAIRS acts to bridge therapy, marital enrichment, and marriage and family development.

Programs: Courses and Workshops

PAIRS offers programs to the public led by PAIRS Trained Professionals (licensed health care professionals), and PAIRS Instructors (certified clergy and educators), trained under the auspices and supervision of Gordon and the PAIRS Foundation, the organization that officially oversees PAIRS programs, products and licensing worldwide. There are PTPs and facilitators around the world. Check “Finding an Educator” to find one near you or near one you love who may need PAIRS.

PAIRS is effective in all populations for which it has been adapted. PAIRS has relationship skills training programs for children and youth, PAIRS for PEERS, that are taught in schools, churches and agencies. PAIRS has programs for the Military, for use by chaplains and family service workers. PAIRS has faith-based programs for the Jewish, Catholic, and Christian church communities. PAIRS is currently developing programs and program delivery systems for disadvantaged youth, unmarried families, single parents, domestic violence, prison parolees, and related groups who can benefit from relationship skills training. PAIRS provides a vital ingredient to build stable marriages and healthy families with more hopeful futures for children. These programs for special groups will be taught by local agency workers and by specially trained community teachers and mentors. Research on PAIRS has demonstrated that PAIRS works for all groups under all circumstances evaluated. PAIRS is a modern technology adapted to our rapidly changing society in behalf of creating a saner, safer more loving world.

What you will learn in PAIRS

Sustaining a pleasurable intimate relationship does not work by magic. It depends upon a set of skills and understanding that can be learned. We learned most of what we know about intimate relationships through our early experiences in our families. Our personal history has a great deal of influence on what happens in our current relationships - on our behavior, our feelings, our expectations. We can change these influences if we become aware of them and wish to. It is well worthwhile to sort through what we inherited, keeping what fits for today and changing what does not.

PAIRS Competencies are specific skills that you will learn from PAIRS. These competencies focus in three areas: 1) emotional literacy; 2) conjoint partner skills for building and maintaining intimacy; and 3) practical knowledge, strategies and attitudes for sustaining positive marriage and family life. You may click on the above links to see a listing of the skills taught in PAIRS.

The Goal of PAIRS is a relationship that both partners can live with joyfully. For this to happen, each partner must become able to identify his or her own feelings and needs, and learn to communicate them in such a way that they can get met. This means communicating one's needs and desires without making the other partner feel resentful, smothered, burdened, manipulated, or inadequate. Easily and fully meeting each others' needs is the foundation of intimacy, fulfillment, and happiness.

PAIRS teaches specific easily learnable tools for successful communication such as confiding, complaining, and clarifying and for effective problems solving such as managing anger, expressing anger safely, fighting fairly for change and eliminating dirty fighting. PAIRS also guides the vast deepening of self-knowledge and develops emotional literacy. PAIRS addresses pleasure and satisfaction by teaching skills to enhance bonding, sensuality and sexuality in marriage. PAIRS teaches a profound but simple model, the Relationship Roadmap, to understand relationship success and to understand relationship mishaps and know what to do about them. PAIRS teaches over 60 skills that, after PAIRS, become the participants' PAIRS Tool Box for ongoing relationship maintenance.