Conference coverage/bundle of joy/strengthening marriage-7/04
Smart Marriages ®
Wed Jul 21 18:32:32 EDT 2004
subject: Conference coverage/bundle of joy/strengthening marriage-7/04
- NEW PARENTS' 'BUNDLE OF JOY' MAY BE THEIR BUNDLE OF STRESS
- FOUR-DAY CONFERENCE AIMS TO STRENGTHEN MARRIAGES
> You said you'd send the articles that you had posted on the bulletin board at
> the conference to the list when you got home. Do you still plan to do that?
Someone took the article about John Van Epp from the Ft Worth Star Tribune
off the bulletin board the last day. Here are two others that appeared.
I'll try to get the reporter to send me the Van Epp piece and will try to
find another one that just appeared Sun the 18th in the Dallas Morning News.
If anyone else can find them on line and send them, I'd appreciate it.
And/or, any other coverage you find. I'm still unpacking!
The first article features Gottman, Jordan, Tures and Horn, the second
Popenoe and Simpson - all speakers at the conference. - diane
- NEW PARENTS' 'BUNDLE OF JOY' MAY BE THEIR BUNDLE OF STRESS
By Rebecca F. Johnson
July 8, 2004
Many couples expect the birth of a first child to be a
time of great excitement and unwavering joy.
But few realize that the "magic moment" of birth can lead to increased
strain and unhappiness in the marriage and can play a large role in why some
couples split up after only a few years.
"The public doesn't realize at all that the birth of the first baby is the
biggest challenge of marriage," says Diane Sollee, director of the Coalition
for Marriage, Family and Couples Education, a group of therapists,
researchers, educators and others who aim to prevent family breakups. "They
think it's an affair or the seven-year itch."
Researchers who have been studying why marital breakdowns occur and
developing ways to prevent them will discuss their findings at a conference
opening today in Dallas.
Among them is John Gottman, who says many new mothers x and fathers x
experience postpartum depression, increased irritability, fighting and a
lack of intimacy, which can lead to infidelity.
"It's a very child-centered period where the relationship gets neglected,"
says Gottman, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of
Washington. He will discuss research on 82 newlywed couples tracked for four
to six years, before and after the birth of a baby. Two-thirds of the 43 who
became parents in that time cited marital dissatisfaction within three years
of their baby's birth, says Gottman, who developed a marriage-skills program
based on his research. The research is financed by the National Institute of
Researchers attribute the increase in marital discord to a range of factors:
a breakdown in communication, inability to resolve conflicts, difficulty
negotiating responsibilities and philosophical differences.
When couples are engaged and newly married, they focus on their
similarities, says Bob Tures, a conference presenter who runs Strong
Families Flagstaff in Arizona."When they're expecting their first child,
differences begin to appear."
When her friends and colleagues started experiencing these relationship
rifts 20 years ago, Pamela Jordan decided to study this transition. Jordan,
who will discuss her "Becoming Parents" program, says everyone emphasizes
the birth itself, not how to deal with the change and stress.
"Parenting is the toughest job anyone can have, and people tend to look at
it through rose-colored glasses until they're there," she says.
Not all relationships suffer from the birth of the child, however. Gottman
says couples who demonstrate fondness for each other tend to feel less
hostility and contempt for their partners, which can surface after a baby is
Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families in the Department
of Health and Human Services, will speak at the conference about the Bush
administration's marriage initiatives, which he says include access to
couples education. Horn, a psychologist, notes that parenting classes have
been widely available in this country, but "what we haven't done as much is
focus on the marriage."
Currently, programs such as Jordan's "Becoming Parents" and Gottman's "Baby
Makes Three" are not widely available.
And their success requires buy-in from a society that tends to wait until a
marriage is in trouble to address questions such as how to maintain a strong
relationship after the birth of a child.
The coalition has a directory of local, regional and national marriage
education programs at www.smartmarriages.com.
- FOUR-DAY CONFERENCE AIMS TO STRENGTHEN MARRIAGES
July 7, 2004
By KAREN M. THOMAS
The Dallas Morning News
Shannon Reed, 25, of Allen is engaged. She also just completed a master's
degree in counseling.
She wants a long, healthy marriage and hopes that as a marriage and family
therapist, she can help others have the same. That is why she plans to
attend the Smart Marriages/Healthy Families conference opening today in
The four-day meeting, led by some of the nation's top marriage experts and
researchers, aims at strengthening marriage. The conference, at the Adam's
Mark Hotel, is expected to attract 2,000 attendees.
"Less people are getting married," Ms. Reed said. "And less stay married
when they do. I don't think we provide a lot of couples with the skills to
go into a marriage."
For several decades now, American marriages have been in trouble. Half of
all marriages end in divorce, and a growing number of children will spend
time in a single-parent home, according to the U.S. census and other
Yet marriage matters. Nearly 90 percent of all Americans marry, experts say.
Most experts agree that a healthy marriage is the best place to raise
The issue has spurred a movement to teach people, whether they're teens or
they've been married a long time, relationship skills for healthy unions.
"It's like parent education. If you look back a few decades ago, people
asked, 'Why do you need to take a class to learn how to raise your kid?' We
are still in the early stages of people wondering why they need to learn how
to love their spouse," said William Doherty, director of the Marriage and
Family Therapy Program at the University of Minnesota.
Even the federal government has jumped in. In a controversial move, the Bush
administration proposed making marriage promotion part of welfare reform
changes. The proposal is stalled in Congress.
Critics of movement
Critics say the movement is too narrowly focused and unrealistic, leaving
behind millions of adults and children who do not fit under the marriage
umbrella. Some are skeptical that three-day classes offered at the
conference adequately prepare people to teach marriage x or to detect
Others say they fear the government's involvement may allow marriage
promotion to replace job training, child-care subsidies and other programs
aimed at lifting families out of poverty.
Across the country, about a half-dozen states are experimenting with
marriage education programs. Some communities, including Dallas, are
organizing coalitions of faith-based, business and local organizations to
strengthen marriage across cultural and economic lines.
Churches and other religious organizations are training happily married
couples to mentor others.
"It's a marriage renaissance," declared Diane Sollee, executive director of
the Coalition for Marriage and Family Education, based in Washington, D.C.
The organization, which she describes as politically diverse, serves as a
clearinghouse for marriage education. It has held the Smart Marriages
conferences for the last eight years.
She said marriage education programs are based on a growing stream of
research about the institution.
"People know in minute detail how to present the engagement ring and how to
have a wedding. Then the instruction book ends. Americans are very ignorant
about marriage. They don't know what to expect," she said.
Marriage education, though, isn't new. It's been around for years and has
gained popularity in the last decade. Supporters say it's cheaper than
traditional therapy and better able to address the evolving idea of what a
marriage should be.
"Marriage counseling and therapy is still around," said David Popenoe,
co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University in New
Jersey. "But so many marriages break up on far less conflict. Marriage
education may just be the ticket for saving those."
In the last few years, those in the movement have been encouraged by small
changes. The divorce rate has dropped slightly since the 1980s, and since
1998 there's been a slight increase in the number of children living with
Those gains, some critics say, won't budge some of the deep-seated changes
in the institution.
"We can coach and cheerlead until we are blue in the face, but a lot of
people are not going to get married," said Stephanie Coontz, director of
research and public education at the Council on Contemporary Families.
She and other experts say marriage is no longer viewed as the only place to
raise children or have a sexual relationship or long-term union.
"Fifty percent of kids will spend time in a family form that won't include
two biological parents. We can't neglect the kids in those other
relationships," she said.
Marshall Miller, co-founder of the Alternatives to Marriage Project, a
nonprofit organization aimed at creating fairness for unmarried people,
criticized the Bush administration's emphasis on marriage.
Simply getting married, Mr. Miller said, does not automatically improve the
lives of poor families. The money would be better spent on programs such as
job training than on billboards to promote marriage, he said.
Those supportive of the movement disagree. They say both programs are
In Dallas, marriage education has been a hard sell. Kelly Simpson, a Dallas
marriage and family therapist, has been trying for months to kick-start a
community coalition to promote marriage skills.
"Dallas is a tough nut to crack," she said. "There are people committed to
changing schools, crime and other things. They can see those problems. But a
marriage going bad is just not tangible."
To attend the conference
The Smart Marriages/Healthy Families conference offers classes for
professionals and the public. For more information, visit smartmarriages.com
or call the Adam's Mark Hotel, 214-922-8000, and ask for the Smart Marriages
BY THE NUMBERS
50: Percentage of marriages that end in divorce.
4.7 million: Number of unmarried adult couples of the opposite sex living
together in 2000. This is up from 439,000 in 1960.
1 million: The approximate number of children who experience their parents'
divorce and its aftermath each year.
850: Percentage increase from 1960 to 2002 in the number of co-habiting
couples who live with children.
69: Percentage of U.S. children living with two married parents in 2002, up
from 68 percent in 1998.
34: Percentage of children living apart from their biological fathers in
10.7: Percentage of people 15 and older who called themselves divorced in
2002. This is up from 2.6 percent in 1960.
SOURCE: The National Marriage Project, Rutgers University,
1999-April 1999-April.txt 1999-April.txt.gz 1999-August 1999-August.txt 1999-August.txt.gz 1999-December 1999-December.txt 1999-December.txt.gz 1999-February 1999-February.txt 1999-February.txt.gz 1999-January 1999-January.txt 1999-January.txt.gz 1999-July 1999-July.txt 1999-July.txt.gz 1999-June 1999-June.txt 1999-June.txt.gz 1999-March 1999-March.txt 1999-March.txt.gz 1999-May 1999-May.txt 1999-May.txt.gz 1999-November 1999-November.txt 1999-November.txt.gz 1999-October 1999-October.txt 1999-October.txt.gz 1999-September 1999-September.txt 1999-September.txt.gz 2000-April 2000-April.txt 2000-April.txt.gz 2000-August 2000-August.txt 2000-August.txt.gz 2000-December 2000-December.txt 2000-December.txt.gz 2000-February 2000-February.txt 2000-February.txt.gz 2000-January 2000-January.txt 2000-January.txt.gz 2000-July 2000-July.txt 2000-July.txt.gz 2000-June 2000-June.txt 2000-June.txt.gz 2000-March 2000-March.txt 2000-March.txt.gz 2000-May 2000-May.txt 2000-May.txt.gz 2000-November 2000-November.txt 2000-November.txt.gz 2000-October 2000-October.txt 2000-October.txt.gz 2000-September 2000-September.txt 2000-September.txt.gz 2001-April 2001-April.txt 2001-April.txt.gz 2001-August 2001-August.txt 2001-August.txt.gz 2001-December 2001-December.txt 2001-December.txt.gz 2001-February 2001-February.txt 2001-February.txt.gz 2001-January 2001-January.txt 2001-January.txt.gz 2001-July 2001-July.txt 2001-July.txt.gz 2001-June 2001-June.txt 2001-June.txt.gz 2001-March 2001-March.txt 2001-March.txt.gz 2001-May 2001-May.txt 2001-May.txt.gz 2001-November 2001-November.txt 2001-November.txt.gz 2001-October 2001-October.txt 2001-October.txt.gz 2001-September 2001-September.txt 2001-September.txt.gz 2002-April 2002-April.txt 2002-April.txt.gz 2002-August 2002-August.txt 2002-August.txt.gz 2002-December 2002-December.txt 2002-December.txt.gz 2002-February 2002-February.txt 2002-February.txt.gz 2002-January 2002-January.txt 2002-January.txt.gz 2002-July 2002-July.txt 2002-July.txt.gz 2002-June 2002-June.txt 2002-June.txt.gz 2002-March 2002-March.txt 2002-March.txt.gz 2002-May 2002-May.txt 2002-May.txt.gz 2002-November 2002-November.txt 2002-November.txt.gz 2002-October 2002-October.txt 2002-October.txt.gz 2002-September 2002-September.txt 2002-September.txt.gz 2003-April 2003-April.txt 2003-April.txt.gz 2003-August 2003-August.txt 2003-August.txt.gz 2003-December 2003-December.txt 2003-December.txt.gz 2003-February 2003-February.txt 2003-February.txt.gz 2003-January 2003-January.txt 2003-January.txt.gz 2003-July 2003-July.txt 2003-July.txt.gz 2003-June 2003-June.txt 2003-June.txt.gz 2003-March 2003-March.txt 2003-March.txt.gz 2003-May 2003-May.txt 2003-May.txt.gz 2003-November 2003-November.txt 2003-November.txt.gz 2003-October 2003-October.txt 2003-October.txt.gz 2003-September 2003-September.txt 2003-September.txt.gz 2004-April 2004-April.txt 2004-April.txt.gz 2004-August 2004-August.txt 2004-August.txt.gz 2004-December 2004-December.txt 2004-December.txt.gz 2004-February 2004-February.txt 2004-February.txt.gz 2004-January 2004-January.txt 2004-January.txt.gz 2004-July 2004-July.txt 2004-July.txt.gz 2004-June 2004-June.txt 2004-June.txt.gz 2004-March 2004-March.txt 2004-March.txt.gz 2004-May 2004-May.txt 2004-May.txt.gz 2004-November 2004-November.txt 2004-November.txt.gz 2004-October 2004-October.txt 2004-October.txt.gz 2004-September 2004-September.txt 2004-September.txt.gz attachments database index.html pipermail.pck x x.sh
To SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE, or Change your subscription address,
use the form on our website (http://www.smartmarriages.com). Click
Newsletter - right under the puzzle piece.
This newslist shares information on marriage, divorce and educational
approaches. Opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by members of the
This is a moderated list. Replies are read by Diane Sollee, editor. Please
indicate if your response is NOT to be shared with the list. PLEASE include
your email address in with your signature.
To read ALL past posts to the newsletter, visit the Archive at:
9th Annual Smart Marriages Conference, Adam's Mark Dallas June 23 - 26, 2005
Pre and Post Conference Training Institutes June 21 - 29, 2005
Subscribe to the free e-newslist at www.smartmarriages.com
List your program in the Directory of Classes at www.smartmarriages.com
Order conference audio and video tapes at 800-241-7785 or at playbacknow.com
Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education, LLC (CMFCE)
Diane Sollee, Director
5310 Belt Rd NW, Washington, DC 20015-1961
cmfce at smartmarriages.com
FAIR USE NOTICE: This e-newsletter contains copyrighted material the use of
which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We
make such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of
marriage, family, couples, divorce, legislation, family breakdown, etc. We
understand this constitutes a 'fair use' of such material as provided
for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17
U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit
to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included
information for research and educational purposes. For more information go
to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use
copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond
'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
More information about the SmartMarriages