From Dr. Jane's Notebook

The Growing Need for Marital Education

I recently attended the Second Annual Conference of the Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education held in Washington, D.C. The theme of this international conference was "Smart Marriages, Happy Families". The focus of the conference was on Marital and Relationship Education. The mission: To reduce the chronically high rate of divorce which has exceeded 50% for several decades now.

Over the four day period, internationally renowned marriage researchers reported their findings and made recommendations. Among them was Dr. John Gottman of the Seattle Marital and Family Institute, who recently received much publicity for his marriage research. He was joined by his wife, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman. Together, they described their theory for a "Sound Marital House". Here are a few of the marriage tips that I brought home.

The general consensus of the Smart Marriages, Happy Families conference was that people can learn relationship skills, communication skills, and problem-solving skills. One assumption is that the chronically high divorce rate is largely due to the lack of these skills. To combat the high rates of divorce and domestic violence, some communities have implemented city-wide campaigns for marriage education programs. Domestic court judges, mayors, school counselors, and therapists issued their strong support for providing relationship education through the schools. As one presenter so aptly stated, in addition to sex education, our children are in need of 'love' education.

ęCopyright, 1998, 1999 by Jane R. Rosen-Grandon, Ph.D.

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Last Updated February 27, 1999 by Gary M. Grandon, Ph.D.