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About Us

The Hope Couples Project is a resource center for couples, pastors, and professional therapists using the Hope focused approach for couples counseling or enrichment.


We offer low-cost, research-based couples counseling to couples in the Hampton Roads area. Register now!  Link is top right of this page.

What is Wrong with us?

by Jennifer Ripley, Ph.D.

You've just had a fight.  A previous generation would call it a "spat."  You feel that strain to your relationship- you aren't a team, you don't have the same goals here, and you didn't communicate well.  Why does this happen?  What is wrong with us?

You need to ask yourself, what is it you really want?  Many times couples are stuck because they haven't stopped to think what they REALLY want.  One strategy to handle your problems is focus on the underlying need, not just the immediate problem.  Generally there are four things underlying a couple's fight that both people are hoping for but feel threatened that they won't receive it.

1.  Safety.  People need to be feel safe in their relationship.  You may be fighting for a more conservative approach to your money, but underneath that you likely want to feel safe.  

2.  Bond.  You may be arguing that your partner doesn't paying attention to what you need or want.  What you want is to feel connected and belonging.

3.  Autonomy.  Everyone needs to feel like they have a voice in their own life story.  If you are arguing for someone to leave you alone or let you make your own choices, likely you want autonomy.

4.  Recognition.  We all need to feel like we matter to our partner.  If you are feeling like your partner doesn't notice, appreciate and respect you- this may be your underlying need.

If you've recently had a fight, consider which of these needs might be threatened by the fight.  When we feel threatened we can do some uncharacteristically negative things.  If you share your needs more directly, calmly and clearly with your partner thenyou are more likely to get what you are REALLY looking for.  

These are the kinds of strategies the Hope Approach uses to help relationships in our clinic.  Register today to start couples counseling. 

Blessings on your relationship!


We started with just a professor and a few students, working out of a small room. All these years later, we have served over 500 couples to repair and improve their relationship, written numerous article and professional scientific presentations on our couples' experiences, and published a book about it.  Our passion and dedication remain strong. Join us in our mission to create healthy relationships.


"We were able to learn and use tools to better help us to communicate, thus providing ways to strengthen our marriage." -- A Military Wife

"My partner and I learned how to be on the same team." -- Male Partner

"The Hope Project is an excellent program. I highly recommend it."  -- A Pastor who participated in the project with his wife

For the Science Geek Partners

Effect Size (Cohens' d for repeated measures) is .99 for the Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale, which is a large therapeutic effect.  That means the average couple moved up one Standard Deviation in their self-report of relationship adjustment from prior to treatment to post-treatment (Ripley et al., 2014).  

Classroom Building

1000 Regent University Drive                                                Virginia Beach, VA 23464

For Regent counselors, link to Hope office scheduler:

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