Marriage Moments: marriage help advice and counseling
Welcome to Marriage Moments. This program is designed to help you strengthen your relationship as you go through the significant changes of becoming new parents. Read this introduction to find out what Marriage Moments is, why it was developed, who developed it, and how to use it.
What is Marriage Moments?
The on-line Marriage Moments program consists of the following (section links are also found at the top of this page):
Introduction & Instructions (HOME)
LESSONS & ACTIVITIES
As you will notice, the different lesson and additional information titles begin with “More than….” This is our way of emphasizing that the ideas we present take ordinary ways of thinking about marriage to a deeper level. The content of the program is based on the book, Beyond the Myth of Marital Happiness (Jossey-Bass, 2000), written by marriage researcher and counselor Blaine J. Fowers, and the published research on the transition to parenthood.
Couples who participate in Marriage Moments will learn about building a lasting marriage on four essential marital virtues. The most important parts of Marriage Moments are the recommended personal and partner activities. As couples engage in these activities, they will strengthen the virtues on which a strong marriage is based.
Why Marriage Moments?
Bringing a new life into the world is a tremendous responsibility. This new life usually reflects the love and commitment that the parents have for each other. But the changes that come with parenthood can also put a strain on that relationship. Research has shown that most married couples weather these changes and make the needed adjustments. Unfortunately, some do not. In fact, we know that about 20% of married couples breakup during the first ten years of marriage, often after children have come into the home. An even higher proportion of unmarried couples who become parents breakup within five years. And even those who weather the storms sometimes notice some “cracks” in their relationship leftover from the stress and strain of turbulent times.
We don’t mean to be pessimistic or to scare you. This is also a wonderful time of growth for most parents. But the natural changes to relationships that go with becoming parents are challenging. Why not be better prepared for those changes? Research suggests that couples who understand the changes that will happen to their relationships as they become parents and work to strengthen their relationships before the baby comes maintain stronger marriages than couples who don’t prepare as well. You are preparing right now for the birth of your baby so that he or she will be born healthy and you will have the best birth experience possible. While you are preparing to give birth, it is an ideal time to strengthen your relationship so that your child will have the strongest foundation possible: two loving parents dedicated to each other and their child. The research is clear on this point: a stable, loving, two-parent home gives children the greatest birthright possible. It gives them advantages that too many children these days do not enjoy. Of course, that is your hope and dream too—to raise good children and grow old together in love.
Working to build and maintain a strong, lasting marriage is one of the wisest things we do for ourselves. Happily married people are healthier, wealthier, and enjoy life more. However, you probably already understand that “happily ever after” isn’t really the way things go. Good marriages require work. In fact, that is one of the best things about marriage. It makes us work to become better people in the service of our hopes and dreams of a lasting, loving family. Our hope is that Marriage Moments will provide you some guidance as you work on strengthening your relationship—for your baby and for yourselves. It is a natural time for couples to work on their relationships because they have a strong desire to provide their child the best that life can offer.
Marriage Moments is based on sound scholarship. But, it’s not a magic wand to take you directly to “happily-ever-after land.” In fact, one of the first things it will do is alert you to the myth that happiness, or emotional gratification, is the most important factor in judging the quality of your relationship. Rather, Marriage Moments is a set of lessons that emphasize qualities or personal characteristics that are the foundation of a lasting, loving marriage. We spend a lifetime developing these qualities. The information and activities presented in this program are a way to encourage you to keep working to build the strong relationship you desire as you prepare to bring a new life into the world.
Who is Marriage Moments?
Marriage Moments was developed by a team of researchers and practitioners concerned about the challenges new parents face. We don’t claim to be the leading experts in the world on how to strengthen your marriage at this important time. But, as you can see, we do have a lot of experience. Our team consists of family life educators, marriage counselors, and nurse educators who believe that one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their child is a lasting, loving marriage. We have conducted research and published books and professional articles on strengthening marriage. We have developed and given seminars and workshops on many topics related to strengthening couple relationships. We are:
Alan J. Hawkins, Ph.D., CFLE
Glenda Christiaens, M.S., R.N.
Blaine J. Fowers, Ph.D.