A groundbreaking effort to convene many of the best minds on the subject of the intimate relationships of National Guard service members and their families focused on the importance of relationship and marriage education in identifying and effectively dealing with the stress of multiple deployments for the “citizen Soldier.”
This month, more than a hundred federally funded relationship and marriage education programs offered nationwide began their fifth, and possibly, final year. Evidence-based programs available across the country and online deliver powerful, practical skills that are making a lasting difference to many couples, families and their children.
Studies show marriage education classes are providing significant benefits for low-income couples, many of whom have been impacted by job losses and financial stresses. With expectations that unemployment will remain elevated, programs that strengthen marriages are becoming increasingly important to helping couples keep families intact as they pursue training, job opportunities, and await economic recovery.
Going to a marriage therapist may be one of the worst decisions a couple can make for their relationship. For many, it’s the beginning of an expensive, time-consuming journey that often contributes to divorce. Through incompetence, neutrality, pathologizing, and undermining relationships, therapists can actually harm marriages and lead couples rapidly down the road to divorce. Consider asking these important questions before deciding if marriage therapy is right for you. As an alternative to marriage therapy, many couples have found marriage education far more effective.
What’s working well in your marriage? These tips from the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center can help you take the pulse of your relationship and consider opportunities to take your marriage to another level.
Sexual satisfaction improved for 85 percent of women participating in the nine-hour PAIRS Essentials relationship skills curriculum, according to a six-month follow-up study. The educational program included exercises to improve communication, emotional understanding and expression, and constructive conflict resolution skills.