“We may have a dream of a ‘fairy tale’ relationship with no idea of how to achieve it. Marriage education gave me skills to deeply connect with my husband and children through the many challenges and stages of our lives. I feel like the luckiest person in the world.”
~ Lauren DelGandio
Marriage Education (ME) is touching the lives of couples, families and children across the country. “I Am ME” profiles people teaching relationship, fatherhood and marriage education classes in their local communities.
Lauren DelGandio has been married to her husband Michael for 19 years. They are the proud parents of three incredible and entertaining children, ages 5, 12 and 16. Since becoming a PAIRS Instructor in 2007, Lauren has taught classes to more than 1,000 participants through the federally funded, “PAIRS Relationship Skills for Strong South Florida Families” Project and also trained and mentored new PAIRS instructors around the country.
1. What led you to want to teach relationship and marriage education?
After participating in my first PAIRS class I was inspired to become an instructor and share what I had learned. It was so clear to me that this was education for being human with one another, for embracing ourselves and others, that I wanted to make it possible for anyone who wanted it, to be able to access it.
2. How are the challenges facing young couples today different?
I believe that one of the great challenges for couples today is simply not having the models and support for creating lasting, meaningful relationships. We may have a dream of a ‘fairy tale’ relationship with no idea of how to achieve it. We live in a disposable society in so many ways, too often if a relationship is not living up to our expectations, it can seem easier to toss it aside and move on.
3. How has being a marriage education instructor affected your family?
Being a marriage education instructor has touched all of my relationships so deeply. It has transformed the way my husband and I communicate, especially around complaints and concerns. It has given me skills to connect with each of my children through many challenging ages and stages of their development. It has also given my husband and I new ways of connecting with our parents, siblings and friends. I don’t think there is a single area of my life where these skills have not made a difference. The opportunity to help couples discover greater levels of love, happiness, and pleasure in their lives and provide supportive services for veteran families that make a profound difference in the lives of those who have served and protected our country are some of the greatest gifts I could ever experience.
4. What are some favorite hobbies you enjoy as a family?
We love to spend time together at the beach, watching American Idol together, and playing cards and Scrabble.
5. What qualities would you like your family to most admire about you?
My open heart and mind, my willingness to compromise, and my desire to leave the world better than I found it.
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