Implementing Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Programs with Couples
High-quality and stable romantic relationships can have important benefits for both partners and their children.1,2,3 To promote healthy romantic relationships, healthy marriage and relationship education (HMRE) programs provide information and coaching on relationship skills such as managing conflict, improving communication, and building intimacy.4 In addition to class or workshop content on relationship skills, many HMRE programs also offer case management services, employment assistance, and parenting content, which are meant to further support the quality and stability of romantic relationships.5,6,7 These types of HMRE programs are designed to work with either individuals or couples, and the topics that HMRE programs address may be similar regardless of whether one or both partners participate. However, working with couples in HMRE programs is different than working with individuals.8
1 Brown, S. L. (2010). Marriage and Child Well-being: Research and Policy Perspectives. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 1059-1077.
2 Dush, C. M. K., & Amato, P. R. (2005). Consequences of relationship status and quality for subjective well-being. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 22(5), 607-627. https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407505056438
3 Schwartz, J. (2005). The socio-economic benefits of marriage: A review of recent evidence from the United States. Economic Affairs, 25: 45-51. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0270.2005.00571.x
4 Scott, M. E., & Huz, I. (2020). An overview of healthy marriage and relationship education curriculum. Bethesda, MD: Marriage Strengthening Research and Dissemination Center.
5 Ramos-Olazagasti, M. A., Scott, M.E., Blechman, J., & Logan, D. (2020). Healthy marriage and relationship education (HMRE) program design and implementation: An introduction to federally funded HMRE grantees. Bethesda, MD: Marriage Strengthening Research and Dissemination Center.
6 Zaveri, H., & Hershey, A. (2010). The Building Strong Families Project: Initial implementation of a couples-focused employment program. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
7 Zaveri, H., & Baumgarten, S. (2016). Parents and Children Together: Design and implementation of two healthy marriage programs. OPRE Report Number 2016-63. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
8 Myrick, M., & Batten, R. (n.d.). Marriage and relationship education (MRE) program development and management manual. Fairfax, VA: National Healthy Marriage Resource Center.