Marriage Education is touching the lives of couples, families and children across the country. “I Am ME” profiles individuals and couples teaching relationship and marriage education classes in their local communities. We call this series “I Am ME,” both because “ME” is an acronym for “Marriage Education” and in honor of a poem by the same name written by the late Virginia Satir, a pioneer in the field of marriage and relationship education. Satir’s “I am Me” remains one of the most powerful declarations on self-esteem ever written.
Christy Carroll has been a community educator with Strong Families Strong Wyoming since the fall of 2007. She has lived in Wyoming most of her life. Christy and her husband of 25 years, Steve, live in Cheyenne. Christy and Steve met as students at the University of Wyoming. Steve is a Special Education teacher at an elementary school in Cheyenne. They have one son, Josh, 23, who lives and works in New York City.
Christy has a background in business, early childhood education, and is a Certified Life Coach. She is passionate about PAIRS training because it offers individuals and couples the tools they need to improve communication skills in every relationship.
1. What led you to teach relationship/marriage education?
I believe relationships are the foundation of our life. If our relationships are not working our foundation is not secure — which affects everything we do. Unfortunately the skills needed to build a great foundation are often not taught or modeled. I get passionate and jazzed about seeing people empowered to improve their lives. I was searching for how best to channel this passion when I discovered the mission of Strong Families Strong Wyoming. I was excited about what was offered for the couples, singles and families in our state. I started as a contract trainer and I am now project manager. I love this work!
2. How are the challenges facing young couples today different?
Sadly I think that in our current culture relationships are undervalued and considered disposable. In other words, many think if this relationship doesn’t work, let it go and find another one. Couples are often not supported in working on their marriage/relationship. Too often they choose what appears to be the “easy” answer to move on. Of course it is usually not easy, and often there is regret later that things could have been different. Couples may also face the pressure needing to “do it all,” and somehow assume that ability to do that is innate so when something doesn’t work it must be “us” that is issue! I wish for all couples to have the wisdom to seek the information they need to work out relationship issues — before they throw in the towel. Even if it doesn’t work out (although most often it does), the better they are at communicating, the easier the transition will be for everyone.
3. How has being an instructor impacted your family?
“ When you know better – you do better!” That has applied in my own relationships in multiple ways. The most positive has been learning about my own behavior and myself. PAIRS was one of the most self revealing trainings I have ever done. I understood for the first time some of my biggest struggles in my marriage started with me, not my husband. Our marriage continues to improve because of the skills we have both gained in marriage enrichment training. The communication skills I have learned also enriched my relationship with my son, especially throughout the teenage years. He and I have remained close even though he went to New Jersey for college, and is in New York City working now. I sincerely believe that the communication you have at home with your children is the foundation you build on when they leave home and start their own journey. My communication and relationship trainings have also helped me gain valuable insight with my extended family, in-laws, and friends. Working to understand communication and behavior has softened my responses and reactions, especially in stressful moments. There is no doubt that my life is better every day because of what I have learned from training and teaching.
4. Some favorite hobbies you enjoy sharing with your family?
My husband, son and I are avid readers. We love sharing great books and ideas with each other, and I also love my book clubs. My other passion is cooking. Cooking is my creative and relaxing outlet. One of my most enjoyable projects is creating personalized cookies flavors for loved ones! I love great conversation too. If I can have that along with great food, that is my favorite thing!
5. Qualities you would like your family to most admire about you?
- Unconditional Love and Listening
- Determination, Faith, and Fearless Belief
Christy Carroll, Project Manager
Strong Families Strong Wyoming
Editor’s Note: If you’d like us to feature a Relationship and Marriage Educator in your community, please e-mail their name, contact information, and a brief statement about why you’d like to see them profiled on the FatherhoodChannel.com to firstname.lastname@example.org.