An effective Hamiltonian mixed molecular orbital and valence bond (EH-MOVB) method is described to obtain accurate potential energy surfaces for chemical reactions. Building upon previous results on the construction of diabatic and adiabatic potential surfaces using ab initio MOVB theory, we introduce a diabatic-coupling scaling factor to uniformly scale the ab initio off-diagonal matrix element H12 such that the computed energy of activation from the EH-MOVB method is in agreement with the target value. The scaling factor is very close to unity, resulting in minimal alteration of the potential energy surface of the original MOVB model. Furthermore, the relative energy between the reactant and product diabatic states in the EH-MOVB method can be improved to match the experimental energy of reaction. A key ingredient in the EH-MOVB theory is that the off-diagonal matrix elements are functions of all degrees of freedom of the system and the overlap matrix is explicitly evaluated. The EH-MOVB method has been applied to the nucleophilic substitution reaction between hydrosulfide and chloromethane to illustrate the methodology, and the results were matched to reproduce the results from ab initio valence bond self-consistent-field (VBSCF) calculations. The diabatic coupling (the off-diagonal matrix element in the generalized secular equation) has small variations along the minimum energy reaction path in the EH-MOVB model, whereas it shows a maximum value at the transition state and has nearly zero values in the regions of the ion-dipole complexes from VBSCF calculations. The difference in the diabatic coupling stabilization is attributed to the large overlap integral in the computationally efficient MOVB method.