Research has shown that healthy relationships are crucial to achieving safety, stability, and self-sufficiency. Healthy marriage and relationship education focuses on building skills such as communication, conflict management, parenting, and financial literacy. These skills can be integrated into a wide variety of services for individuals and families in need.
Family fragmentation—meaning divorce and single parenthood—is occurring across all racial and ethnic groups in the US today. There is compelling evidence that healthy marriage has extraordinary social and economic benefits for both parents and children. Healthy marriage and relationship education is designed to help adults and children develop the skills they need to experience healthy relationships. Service providers are uniquely positioned to help families develop these skills because of their community presence and agency resources.
Healthy marriage and relationship education can be offered to anyone, including:
- youth learning interpersonal skills and healthy dating behaviors;
- single individuals looking to develop a healthy relationship or break unhealthy relationship patterns;
- unmarried couples who are building their relationship; and
- married couples looking to sustain a healthy marriage.
Healthy relationship education involves teaching skills and principles. It should not be confused with, or used in place of, counseling or therapy. Healthy marriage and relationship education promotes family safety and is not about forcing couples to marry or to stay in unhealthy relationships.
The following free Resource Center products can assist service providers to gain a basic understanding of healthy marriage education and its potential role in their own relationships and the relationships of the clients they serve.
- Why Marriage and Relationship Education Matters to Safety-Net Service Providers (PDF, 413 KB) is a fact sheet that explains more about healthy marriage and relationship education and how safety-net service providers can include these services in their agency offerings.
- My Relationship Isn't Perfect - How Can I Help Couples? (PDF, 427 KB) is a fact sheet that offers helpful strategies and research-based principles for safety-net service providers working with families.
- Social Service Providers Have Families Too: Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education as Personal and Professional Development (PDF, 338 KB) is a fact sheet that discusses how safety-net service providers can use healthy marriage and relationship skills to improve their own relationships, work performance, and ability to serve their clients.
- Healthy Relationship Education: What, Why, and How It's Part of Strengthening Families is a webinar that explored the value of healthy marriage and relationship education skills for couples and families, as well as strategies for integrating these skills into safety-net service systems as a holistic approach to strengthening families. View the webinar on our YouTube channel.
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