Data released by Healthy Relationships California (HRC) from the largest study ever conducted on the impact of Marriage Education classes showed that these programs help couples significantly improve their communication and levels of relationship satisfaction.
Surveying 17,245 Californians who took one of several programs available for couples, HRC found a statewide average increase of more than 13% in relationship satisfaction immediately after taking a Marriage Education course, and that this improvement increased to 16% after 30 days, and stayed at 14% when measured six months later.
Even more astounding, participants reported a 23% improvement in their communication, increasing to 27% after 30 days and remaining at that level 6 months later.
These results are considered both significant and important for three reasons:
- They include couples with severe marital problems who are relatively “resistant” to change, as well as happy couples who have relatively little room for improvement;
- The results reflect a widely diverse group of participants—from all ages and socioeconomic levels, and with more than 50% taking the class in a language other than English;
- The study measures the impact of more than a dozen different Marriage Education curricula that range in length from 8 hours to 24 hours.
HRC President, Dennis Stoica, is very gratified with the results. “Over the last six years, HRC has sponsored classes for many thousands of Californians. These data show clearly that our classes really help people make significant long-term improvements in their lives and relationships.”
Terry, a Northern California wife who attended a PAIRS Essentials class reports:
“We did not have good communication and didn’t have any idea on how to talk to each other. This course has given me tools to work on this area of our relationship to help build and repair the damage we have done. I can already tell a difference in my way of relating to my husband and the positive response I have received from him.”
Relationship and Marriage Education (RME) classes are offered through local partner organizations around the state who offer classes in English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese and other languages. Classes are taught by facilitators trained in a variety of skills-based RME curricula that focus primarily on teaching couples and individuals communication and conflict management skills. These courses include Mastering the Mysteries of Love, World Class Marriage, PAIRS Essentials, PICK a Partner, Raising Kids Twogether, Ready for Love, and Healthy Relationships, Healthy Choices.
Marcus and his wife were desperate for help in their marriage. He reports: “We have tried couples counseling and seen a psychologist and still remained in the same rut.” The Newport Beach couple attended The Third Option, a class targeting distressed marriages. According to Marcus, “This has been the only thing we have found that has truly worked for us. We feel an overwhelming feeling of hope and happiness toward one another.”
This positive impact on communication skills and relationship satisfaction often goes beyond the marital relationship. “Not surprisingly, we hear from participants that what they learn in these classes helps not only their intimate relationships, but these skills are valuable for their family and workplace relationships too,” says Stoica.
Healthy Relationships California is the recipient of one of the Federal government’s largest Community-Centered Healthy Marriage and Relationship Grants. For the past six years, HRC has taught proven relationship-building skills to more than 120,000 Californians in classes and workshops offered through local partner organizations throughout the state.
Contact for media interview on research brief is Patty Howell, VP of Operations and Media Relations, 760-436-3960, firstname.lastname@example.org.