Website offers marriage guidance with financial incentive

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by SHELLY SLATER

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaashelly

WFAA

Posted on October 10, 2012 at 10:10 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 6:45 PM

Day-to-day life is beautiful — but complicated —  for Veronica and Tim Villegas. They are juggling three children under the age of seven.

“It’s 'Take the baby, it's time to feed.' 'Where is dinner? Are we cooking? Are we going out to buy?” Tim asked.

And once the madness is over, they fall asleep.

These high school sweethearts know their marriage needs to be a stronger focus.

“I think it's important to have a stable relationship with each other, just to be better parents," Veronica said. "Right now we're caught up being mom and dad, not husband and wife.”

So the Villegas joined Guarantee Your Marriage, an online marriage training program designed to carve out time. For $30 a month, they go through research-based modules designed to help them reconnect and communicate.

“A lot of people are in a situation that is not as bad as they think. Moving people from independence to interdependence is a difficult process,” said Jaques Bazinet with Guarantee Your Marriage.

He says tasks as simple as creating a bingo card of events to accomplish in one week encourages "couple" time.

“It doesn't come intuitively;  things come up," Bazinet said. "Kids, employment, and these activities never happen, which don't give the couple time to interact and have that same engagement they had while they were dating.”

For that reason, organizers decided offering the program wasn't enough. There had to be more — like a cash incentive.

Couples who stay married and involved in the program for 20 years earn $25,000.

But there's more.

“We offer a $10,000 warranty for the failure of our product,” Bazinet said.

That warranty starts to build after five  years. If you stick with the program and divorce after five years, you get $5,000 — an amount that increases $1,000 a year.

So, after taking part in the program for 10 years, If it fails, you get $10,000.

“I just care that we stay married," Veronica Villegas said. "To me, that is the reward... but it is a nice perk."

"The money is fine. It's great, but what's more important is the tool, the information it gives you that you forgot,” Tim Villegas added.

There is a detailed contract online with terms and conditions, including the definition of "divorce." It also explains what happens if the company goes out of business  (it only owes customers for unused services).

“Is it realistic to have a happy, successful marriage? I am here to say it is realistic, you can do it," Bezinet said. "Is it easy? No, it is not.”

The Villegas are committed, and they are hoping to buck the divorce trend.

“I think our generation gives up too soon. 'I've been mistreated, therefore it's over,'” Veronica said.

Instead, these two will work at it, and if all goes according to plan, not only will they be happier, but also $25,000 richer for it in the year 2032.

E-mail sslater@wfaa.com

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