Best Online Premarital & Marriage Counseling Platforms of 2023

Looking for the best online marriage counseling in 2023? Start with our picks: Growing Self, Regain, Couples Therapy Inc., Our Relationship, and Talkspace.
This content is researched and written independently of the views or opinions of Everyday Health's editorial team. Everyday Health may earn a commission from purchases of featured products in this article.

Best Online Marriage Counseling Services at a Glance

For couples with busy and conflicting schedules, the logistics of arranging online therapy appointments can be difficult. It isn't always easy or affordable to schedule weekly or monthly in-person appointments. That’s where online marriage counseling and premarital counseling come in.

Depending on the platform, couples can schedule sessions by chat, phone, and video, with the added flexibility of contacting their licensed therapist as needed for online couples counseling. The lower price point of online therapy compared with in-person therapy is another perk, and some online marriage counseling platforms offer income-based sliding scales for even more savings. Some online therapy platforms take insurance, which can make it more affordable.

We’ve researched the most popular couples counseling platforms and compared their services and pricing. Our reviews team’s picks for the best online marriage and premarital counseling programs are Regain, Talkspace, Growing Self, Couples Therapy Inc., and Our Relationship.

Our Top Picks for the Best Online Marriage and Premarital Counseling Programs

A Comparison of the Best Online Marriage and Premarital Counseling Programs

Platform
Cost
Insurance
Session Types
Learn More
Regain transparent logo
$60 to $90 per week
Not accepted
Chat room, phone, video
Talkspace transparent logo
$99 per week for live weekly sessions, billed monthly at $396 per month
May be accepted under certain conditions
Chat room with video and audio messaging, and live video sessions
growing self transparent logo
$105 to $160 per session, depending on therapist; income-based sliding scale available
May be accepted under certain conditions
Video
couples therapy inc transparent logo
$119 to $220 per session or $3,500 and up for intensive weekend retreats
Not accepted
Video
Our relationship transparent logo
One-time fee of $79 or $199
Not accepted
Online activities and video calls
Regain transparent logo

Best Online Marriage Counseling Overall

ReGain

Our Rating
3.7
The simplicity of the ReGain platform and the option for individual or joint sessions are why we rated it as the best overall platform for virtual relationship and marriage counseling.

Cost $60 to $90 per week

Insurance Not accepted

Session Format Chat room, phone, video

Pros

  • Therapy sessions, group webinars, journal prompts, and other supportive tools
  • Three-way calls accommodate long-distance relationships
  • Unlimited asynchronous messaging with your therapist
  • Licensed therapists in every state

Cons

  • All communication is visible to both partners
  • Doesn’t accept insurance
  • Financial assistance program requires reapplication every three months

ReGain is a simple, user-friendly online platform owned by BetterHelp. While BetterHelp offers individual therapy, ReGain offers online relationship therapy. Couples share a joint account so they can both communicate with the counselor. You can attend sessions with your partner on

Talkspace transparent logo

Best On-Demand Marriage Counseling Online

Talkspace

Our Rating
3.58
Talkspace is a robust online platform offering couples counseling among other services. Its flexible, on-demand approach to therapy may appeal to busy couples — making it our pick for the best on-demand marriage, premarital, and relationship counseling.

Cost $99 per week for live weekly sessions, billed monthly at $396

Insurance May be accepted under certain conditions

Session Format Chat room with video and audio messaging, live video

Pros

  • Flexible
  • Convenient
  • Ability to text with therapist

Cons

  • Therapist response rates vary, although Talkspace promises responses five days a week
  • Negative customer reviews that cite issues with customer service and receiving refunds

After signing up for Talkspace marriage or premarital counseling, you’ll complete a short questionnaire to clarify your preferences. Then, a matching agent (a live person, not an automated service) will use your answers to connect you with a therapist. All Talkspace therapists have

Use Talkspace promo code "EVERYDAY85" for $85 off your first month.
EVERYDAY85
growing self transparent logo

Best for Online Premarital Counseling

Growing Self

Growing Self has offered online marriage counseling for close to a decade and also provides counseling for couples who are not yet married. Growing Self's online premarital counseling helps couples learn essential relationship skills, prevent future problems, and develop a long-term plan to keep their marriage strong.

Cost $105 to $160 per 45-minute session depending on therapist; income-based sliding scale available

Insurance May be accepted under certain conditions

Session Format Video conference

Pros

  • Offers premarital counseling as well as marriage counseling
  • Sliding-scale rates
  • Wide variety of free resources such as blogs and podcasts

Cons

  • In-person therapist availability may be limited
  • Lack of customer reviews online

The platform pairs you and your partner with an experienced mental health professional who has earned at least a master’s degree in a mental health field, and is likely a licensed marriage and family therapist.

To get started, couples can schedule a free consultation session by completing

couples therapy inc transparent logo

Best for an Intensive Online Couples Retreat

Couples Therapy Inc.

With Couples Therapy Inc,. you can dedicate one weekend to virtual marriage counseling instead of committing to a weekly schedule. We’ve designated Couples Therapy Inc. as the best online premarital and marriage counseling for an intensive online retreat.

Cost $119 to $220 per 55-minute session, $3,500 and up for intensive weekend retreats

Insurance Not accepted

Session Format Video conference

Pros

  • Intensive format allows couples to finish counseling in one weekend
  • Alternative option to book couples therapy sessions as needed
  • All therapists trained in the Gottman method

Cons

  • Not available in all states
  • Doesn’t accept insurance
  • High upfront cost for weekend intensive retreat

Couples Therapy Inc. operates similarly to other online relationship counseling platforms except for one thing: its intensive virtual weekend retreats. Couples Therapy Inc. is a team of more than two dozen clinicians practicing across 30 states and four countries. You can check if

Our relationship transparent logo

Best Self-Paced Marriage Counseling Online

Our Relationship

Our Relationship is our pick for the best self-paced relationship program — it caters to couples seeking flexible marriage and premarital counseling.

Cost One-time fee of $79 for the self-guided program, $199 for the coaching program

Insurance Not accepted

Session Format Online activities, video chat

Pros

  • Self-paced
  • Users reported increased satisfaction with their relationship
  • Tailored to heterosexual, same-gender, military and veteran couples, and individuals

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer traditional therapy
  • Short-term programs may not meet long-term support needs

Our Relationship doesn’t provide traditional online couples therapy. Instead, Our Relationship’s self-driven coaching programs support couples as they resolve issues independently. The platform’s flexible guidance makes it our pick for best self-paced relationship counseling.

Our

What is Premarital Counseling?

The American Psychological Association defines premarital counseling as guidance from an appropriately qualified person, such as a therapist or a member of clergy trained in counseling, to individuals planning marriage. Where marriage counseling may focus on common issues faced during marriage, premarital counseling prepares couples for life changes and challenges that come with marriage.

Caleb Birkhoff, a licensed marriage and family therapist in San Francisco, says premarital counseling shares similarities with couples therapy, but it can also be more directive and goal-oriented to address habits before they become problems.

Self-Guided Premarital Counseling Tools

Self-guided premarital counseling tools can help couples learn the basics of a healthy relationship at their own pace. Megan Tangradi, a licensed professional counselor and clinical director of Achieve Wellness and Recovery in Northfield, New Jersey, suggests self-guided programs for couples who are limited on time or resources.

Happily Ever After

Happily Ever After is an online premarital counseling course with 20- to 30-minute video learning modules and digital worksheets. It costs $97 for a total of two to three hours of content. Course topics include: money, communication, self-discovery, conflict and repair, sex and intimacy, and family of origin.

Lasting

Lasting is a relationship support app from Talkspace that offers self-guided learning, reflection tools, and virtual workshops. It costs $59.99 per month and includes access to live and recorded workshops on personal development, relationships, and parenting. The Zoom workshops are 60 minutes long. Lasting offers a seven-day free trial.

Ours

Ours is an online premarital counseling program that helps partners build relationship skills and create plans for the future. It takes four to six weeks to complete 10 hours of sessions, which include guided conversations, challenges, and activities such as art projects and scavenger hunts. Ours costs $500. Each program includes two virtual visits with an expert who has a master's degree in mental health or counseling.

What Is Online Marriage Counseling?

Online marriage counseling is relationship therapy that’s conducted online. It provides tools so you can learn how to identify bad habits and have a healthy relationship. Expect the same kind of professional therapy you would get if you and your partner drove to an appointment and sat on a sofa in a therapist’s office, except your session is facilitated through text messaging, phone calls, or video chats. Research suggests that online counseling sessions can be effective. According to a meta-analysis published in 2020 in The Lancet, online cognitive behavioral therapy was just as effective — if not more so — than face-to-face counseling.

The best online therapy programs are convenient, flexible, and discreet. They let you receive marriage counseling at home, which can help reduce travel and scheduling issues. They may also cost less than in-person sessions.

Online marriage counseling also has potential drawbacks. Receiving marriage counseling at home may lead to more distractions. Screen-based sessions may feel less personal, and body language cues can be easier to miss. Technology issues can be a challenge, especially if you’re dealing with a spotty web connection. Depending on the platform you’re using, there could be delays while you wait for a therapist to respond to your messages.

How Does Online Premarital and Marriage Counseling Work?

Online marriage and premarital counseling take place online through video, phone, or text. You and your partner, if they’re attending the sessions with you, discuss your relationship concerns and goals with your therapist. Some platforms may also offer relationship programs or self-guided sessions you can do with your partner.

Who Is Online Premarital and Marriage Counseling Meant For?

Online marriage and relationship counseling allow you and your partner to discuss your relationship needs, goals, and issues. Online couples counseling can help you improve communication and resolve relationship problems — you may also try it if you’re considering separating.

How Much Does Online Marriage and Premarital Therapy Cost?

The cost of online marriage or premarital counseling will depend on your state as well as the platform and provider you work with. Some couples counseling platforms accept insurance. Others may offer financial aid or a sliding scale.

Should I Attend Online Marriage or Premarital Counseling Alone or With My Spouse?

Some marriage or couples counseling platforms allow you to meet with a therapist without your partner, while others will require you and your partner to attend sessions together. If you prefer to attend counseling by yourself, search for a platform with individual marriage counseling sessions.

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re preparing for marriage or strengthening your relationship with your spouse, online premarital and marriage counseling offer guidance from the comfort of your own home. We rounded up the best online couples therapy options alongside alternatives like self-paced relationship coaching programs. ReGain earns our distinction as the best overall online marriage and premarital counseling due to its user-friendly platform and affordability. For couples with busy schedules, we recommend Talkspace for its flexible, on-demand approach. Growing Self is our pick for the best online premarital counseling. It offers articles, counseling, a virtual group course, and other resources to help couples develop a strong relationship framework. If an intensive weekend-long therapy program sounds ideal, Couples Therapy Inc. online couples retreats could be right for you. For those who prefer a less structured experience, Our Relationship offers easy-to-follow, self-paced online and premarital marriage coaching.

If You Need Help

For some couples in strained relationships, in-person therapy and a physically present mediator will provide a more comfortable environment. If you are not safe with your partner, seek help immediately for domestic abuse by contacting the National Domestic Abuse Hotline via phone (800-799-7233) or texting START to 88788.

Why You Can Trust Us

We independently investigate and recommend products and services that we believe will enrich the lives of our readers and meet their specific needs. We’ve spent many hours carrying out in-depth research on the online therapy market. You can trust our review because we did the legwork for you in these specific ways:

  • Engaged in ongoing independent research
  • Spent over 245 hours testing eight brands, deployed surveys that included over 200 participants each, and interviewed focus groups
  • Went behind the paywall for two months with eight brands to mystery shop our best online therapy choices
  • Contacted the brands’ customer service teams to ask questions and gauge responsiveness
  • Consulted six leading psychologists and psychiatrists
  • Became customers of online therapy providers ourselves
  • Reviewed academic research about the efficacy of online therapy versus in-person therapy
  • Read hundreds of verified customer reviews from trusted third parties such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot

Learn more about how we researched and evaluated the best online therapy brands via our online therapy methodology page.

In Emergency Situations

If you are in a crisis, waiting for an online therapy appointment is not safe. In case of an emergency, call 911. This includes plans to harm yourself or others. If you're having suicidal thoughts, you can call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. Help is available 24/7.

You can also reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357). The SAMHSA helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service for individuals facing mental or substance use disorders.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is online marriage counseling effective?

Yes. Studies have shown online counseling in general to be effective. For example, a study published in October 2020 in Psychotherapy Research concluded that online therapy has similar outcomes to in-person therapy.

A study published in November 2017 in Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics suggested that, even after two years, online therapy provides enduring positive effects that are similar to in-person therapy.

And one small study, published in January 2020 in Frontiers of Psychology, found that online marriage counseling resulted in positive outcomes for the study participants, and that some participants even found the experience more positive due to, not in spite of, the online format.

What should I expect at my first online marriage counseling session?

It depends on the platform you choose. Some online marriage counseling programs offer an initial consultation session that serves as a sort of “meet and greet,” so you can find a therapist with whom you feel comfortable discussing the issues in your relationship. Others give you the option to jump right in and swap therapists later if it’s not working out.

Jim Seibold, PhD, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Arlington, Texas, says that he lets couples know that there are two purposes for the first visit. One is for him to ensure that their issues fall within his areas of expertise, and the other is for the client to ensure that he is a good fit for them. Dr. Seibold says, “If those are met, we keep moving forward. I then spend some time in the beginning asking less vulnerable questions, such as what they do for a living if they work, where they are from, etc., to help build an atmosphere of comfort and rapport-building. From there, we move into the more specific reasons for seeking therapy.”

What is the difference between marriage counseling and couples therapy?

Marriage counseling describes a type of therapy intended for married couples (where people attend therapy together with their partners). Couples therapy or couples counseling refer to counseling attended by committed couples who aren’t married. Specific licenses may vary, but the services these therapists provide are fairly similar.

Can online marriage counseling fix a broken relationship?

It’s possible, but every relationship is different. Certain relationship issues such as affairs, substance abuse and addiction, or violence aren’t insurmountable problems, and online couples counseling can help in some cases, according to the Gottman Institute; in other cases, however, counseling can help couples determine it’s best to go separate ways.

Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking

  • 5 Signs You May Need Marriage Counseling. Cleveland Clinic. July 12, 2019.
  • Timing Is Everything When It Comes to Marriage Counseling. Gottman Institute.
  • Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy. American Psychological Association.
  • Doss B, Cicila L, Georgia E, et al. A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Web-Based OurRelationship Program: Effects on Relationship and Individual Functioning. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. January 2016.
  • Gurman A, Burton M. Individual Therapy for Couple Problems: Perspectives and Pitfalls. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. April 29, 2014.
  • Online Therapy Focus Group: Current Online Therapy Users. Nine Participants. Conducted using Google Meet. January 25, 2023.
  • PettyJohn ME, Tseng C, Blow AJ. Therapeutic Utility of Discussing Therapist/Client Intersectionality in Treatment: When and How? Family Process. June 2020.
  • Online Therapy Survey. 1,000 respondents. Conducted using Pollfish. Launched April 11, 2022.
  • Talkspace Online Therapy Survey. 200 respondents. Conducted using Pollfish. Launched January 17, 2023.
  • Interview With Jim Seibold. Arlington, Texas. June 27, 2022.
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