How can nine hours in a marriage and relationship education class help couples speeding towards separation or divorce suddenly embrace each other with a renewed sense of purpose, hope and passion?
Marriage education was introduced as a "preventive maintenance" approach to sustaining love and strengthening families in this 1982 Washington Post article.
Statements issued this week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in response to questions from Florida Congressman Kendrick Meek are a validation of the pioneers of marriage and relationship education and their faith in educational approaches that empower participants through skills training.
More than a quarter century ago, Lori Gordon, a Northern Virginia marriage and family therapist whose early career included extensive work with adolescents in residential treatment centers, realized that one of the most important contributions mental health professionals and educators could make to children was to help their parents' own relationships. Mrs. Gordon developed the concept of relationship skills training into an educational approach that today ranks among the preeminent, evidence-based marriage education programs in the world, having evolved into a comprehensive model that attends to ethics, program evaluation, rigorous quality management, and ongoing training for leaders.