Arnold and Maria Should Continue as Models for the Power of Conflict Resolution

Arnold and Maria

Arnold and Maria

The news that former California GovernorArnold Schwarzenegger and his well-known wife, Maria Shriver, have separated leaves Californians with yet another high profile marriage in trouble. “This separation is just like many others,” says Dennis Stoica, President of California Healthy Marriages Coalition (CHMC). “Their 25-year marriage with four children has been through many changes and stress, from the 8 years of demanding California politics to the recent deaths of close family members and now Arnold’s career transition. There are many things putting a strain on their marriage.”

Stoica estimates that 80% of divorces don’t need to happen if couples use and apply the Conflict Resolution Skills taught in the Marriage and Relationship Education classes his organization offers throughout California. “Marriage Education classes are valuable for any couple at any stage in their relationship, even for those going through a separation,” he says. Hundreds of research studies now show that Marriage Education classes make a significant difference in couples’ ability to communicate and solve conflicts successfully and their satisfaction in the relationship.

For couples whose relationship is in crisis, Stoica has three recommendations:

  • Reflect on happy memories together and your partner’s positive qualities to help you find the commitment to work on resolving the issues that have festered over time.
  • Focus on self-change. When one person changes, everyone in the family changes.
  • Take a Relationship Education course to strengthen your conflict resolution skills before it is too late. Using these skills successfully will build your confidence in the relationship.

“Every relationship has conflicts,” says Stoica, “but in most cases, divorce isn’t necessary. I would love to see our former governor and first lady do whatever it takes to step up as models of commitment and perseverance for other couples.”

For the past five years, CHMC has taught proven relationship-building skills to more than 100,000 Californians through Relationship and Marriage Education classes offered through local partner organizations around the state. Class information is available at

released May 11, 2011


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