Calling Virginians | Articles Repository | Marriage Film Tour | Korean Translations | Marriage Festivalto - 1/27/08

Smartmarriages smartmarriages at
Sun Jan 27 14:11:15 EST 2008



I share this one just to keep us all rowing...she wrote asking for a
conference brochure.

>> My friend told me Marriage Education saved her 30 year marriage. I
>> believe my 7 month marriage would benefit greatly from this. We spend maybe 5
>> minutes a day talking. We need help!!!!



> Diane, 
> Please ask VA Residents to contact their state Rep and Senator telling them
> they support HB 871 For Social Services to allocate 1% of TANF funds for
> PREVENTION and EDUCATION efforts to build and maintain safe and stable
> 2-parent families. If we can invest some relatively small amounts for
> PREVENTION up front, we can save lots of money and misery on the back end.
> Tell your elected officials that this very small Prevention effort makes sense
> for those families most needy and it makes sense financially for all
> Virginians... it can reduce costs over the long term... "an ounce of
> prevention"  etc.
> Go to for reading and to track status.  It passed the
> House Committee today (Jan 24/2008) unanimously after being modified to read
> DSS "may" instead of "shall" allocate 1% for...   Goes to Finance committee
> and then to Senate Committee.
> Please, if you live and pay taxes in Virginia, keep an eye on the legislation
> and make calls at key times.
> The 1% Solution was coined by Chris Gersten at .
> Bob Ruthazer, CFLE
> (804) 288-3431 x-13


Jean Eagan wrote in to suggest that I make a FREE STUFF webpage that
includes the reprint articles, FOOBs, Bumper Stickers, etc. I think that's a
GREAT IDEA and because many of you are so eager for access to the articles I
will just cut and paste the urls that each author has sent me. No time to do
anything very creative, but don't want to let that get in our this
has to be good enuf for now.  So, realizing that most of you that have
articles, have a LOT of articles, and you have them posted on your own
website, I'm just going to post a  few sample titles and direct people to
your websites.  Make sure that once someone gets to your website they can
find the articles and that it's clear which ones are available for reprint.
If you did send complete articles, please start over.  If you don't see your
link posted, send again....there were a lot more than I can find now, lost
among the gazillion emails.  Here's where to start:
- diane 


Marriage Matters: The little movement that could
By James and Audora Burg
Sturgis Journal
January 25, 2008 9:04 PM CST

With primary season well under way and cable channels, weekly magazines and
daily newspapers there to report on it, it seems like it's all politics all
the time.

With all this news and noise, how could an individual have any meaningful
voice on the national level?

But with presidential debates in full swing, there is a Web site forum,, where anyone can cast a vote on the questions or issues
the candidates should be asked.

Marriage-minded folks who read the active Smart Marriages listserv founded
by Diane Sollee have banded together to vote. Their collective voice,
developed by so many individuals casting single votes on the Politico site,
has become so prominent that their common cause, marriage education, may be
the subject of a question at next week's debates.

According to Patty Howell, vice president of operations and media relations
for California Healthy Marriages Coalition, nine marriage education
questions rank in the top 40. It's even more impressive knowing that more
than 4,000 questions have been submitted, leading Howell to conclude, "This
tells us that Marriage Education is a theme that resonates with the public."

It certainly does with us. We've been writing about this stuff for four
years now.

>From one question, this staggering statistic: "It has been estimated that
divorce in America today costs state and federal governments more than $100
billion annually in an array of social services needed as a result of
marital breakdown."

And on the other end, from another of the questions: "Since marital success
is correlated with many measures of social stability - such as better mental
and physical health, higher productivity in the workplace, lower crime and
less violent crime - and since Marriage Education skills are known to
correlate with marital success, what innovative measures would you propose
as President to make these relationship skills part of the birthright of
every American?"

What a cool concept - that relationship skills would be "part of the
birthright of every American."

Imagine the social and cultural transformation that would occur if the next
generation of citizens grew up with rights not only to "life, liberty and
the pursuit of happiness," but with strong relationship skills.

Such a skill set would lead to healthy marriages, leading to healthy
families, giving children the best possible chance in life, who would go on
to make healthy marriages of their own ...

Yes, we're dreamers, but the potential for a positive, upward spiral like
this makes us positively giddy, because marriage education is not a "left"
or a "right" issue.

It's a smart issue.

James Burg is executive director of the Healthy Marriages Sturgis program.
His wife, Audora, is a homemaker and free lance writer.

They are parents of three children and live in Sturgis.


The response from your listserv has been enthusiastic! I'm sending an update
on the Song of Songs screening schedule.  Tell the list that we still have
openings and can fit them in.  We're also interested in setting up film
interviews with experts along the route.  Just ask people to contact us and
we'll work them in.
To date here is what's locked in as definite:
Feb 5th ­ 7pm Screening @ Univ of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
Feb 8th ­ 5:30pm Reception / Screening / Discussion @ Univ of South Florida
(St. Petersberg, FL)
Feb 9th ­ 11am Screening @ Lakewood Ranch (Manatee County)
Feb 11th ­ 8pm Screening @ Univ of Georgia (Athens, GA)
Feb 12th ­ filming day @ Univ of Georgia

And, these are tentative, but in the works:
Feb 6th - 7th ­ filming days at Univ of Florida & Florida State Univ.
(Talahassee, FL)
Feb 7th ­ Screening @ Florida State Univ. (tentative)
Feb 13th ­ Screening @ Auburn Univ. (this was set and now put on hold)
Feb 14th ­ Atlanta, GA - TBD

In addition to this first South East tour, we have interest to set up tours
in the Central and Western parts of the country.

Plus we have had many ask if they could purchase the film and organize their
own screenings without our attendance.  We encourage that.
Michael Romero

To get on the tour or purchase a copy of the film to set up your own
>> For Info or to sign up, Contact Michael Romero at: 310-526-7334
>> Michael Romero <michael at>
>> Watch the trailer and learn more about the project at

For earlier posts about this film, visit the listserv archive:



> Hello, this is Sinae Kang from South Korea.
> I have visited your website, and I am overwhelmed by the work that has been
> carried on.
> However, I have managed to find only 1 program which says it is translated in
> Korean: "Mastering the Mysteries of Love (RE)" Are there any other programs
> translated in Korean.
> Also, as a foreigner, what ways are there in order to become a marriage
> instructor/educator?
> Were there any Asian people participating in your program in the past?
> Yours sincerely, Sinae Kang

First, YES, thirty-five Koreans have attended Smart Marriages conferences.
We encourage you to try to join us in San Francisco.  However, if you can't,
see both the Training At a Distance and the Teach-Right-Out-Of-the-Box
curricula listings on the Directory:

I'll post your inquiry to the list and ask anyone who has a Korean
translation to let us know. Sinae searched the Korean section on the
Directory of Programs and it's true, right now there is only one program

If you have a translation that I failed to list, let me know.


Marriage Week Celebrations are getting creative! I'd love to see this
> Todd and Tammy Gangl, who will present a workshop on engineering a loving
> stepfamily, will put on their workshop with the help of five of their
> children, some his, some hers. The Gangls founded Joseph Stepfamily
> Ministries.
> The Gangls' presentation takes a lighthearted look at real stepfamily life
> through skits and multimedia presentations.
I'm hoping to have Smart Marriages San Francisco brochures to you in time
for your Marriage Week gatherings - might just make it.  Let me know if you
could use them.  - diane

Marriage Festivalto assist couples
January 25, 2008

Times Faith & Values Editor

Sessions aim to help strengthen, maintain bonds

Engaged couples can begin a good foundation for their marriage. New parents
can reassess their connections. Empty nesters can look to repair the corners
of their relationship left fallow after raising children.

Couples near divorce can step back and take a breath, and
happily-ever-afters can learn even more ways to make their marriage a piece
of heaven on earth.

In short, anyone interested in a healthy, long-term intimate relationship
can learn something from the Marriage Festival, sponsored by the Madison
County Coalition for Healthy Marriages on Feb. 10.

"The workshops will teach how to build a strong foundation and how to
maintain a good marriage," said Jane Bloemetjie, a licensed counselor and
project director with Close Connections and one of the organizers of the
festival. "People don't know how to resolve their differences. This
(festival) will create a space and a structured environment for couples to
discuss their differences."

Keynote speaker for the festival will be Dr. Rozario Slack, director of
Marriage, Fathering and Family Initiatives at First Things First, a
Chattanooga-based nonprofit organization. He holds masters and doctoral
degrees from Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta.

Slack is one of the few presenters who will speak alone.

Todd and Tammy Gangl, who will present a workshop on engineering a loving
stepfamily, will put on their workshop with the help of five of their
children, some his, some hers. The Gangls founded Joseph Stepfamily

The Gangls' presentation takes a lighthearted look at real stepfamily life
through skits and multimedia presentations.

Drs. Edith and Trevor Fraser both hold doctoral degrees, a doctorate in
social work from Smith College for her and a doctorate in ministry from
Emory University for him.

They have been married for 38 years and raised two children. They both work
at Oakwood and will lead an open, but tasteful, presentation on sexual
conversation for couples who want to enhance their body communication.

Other presenters include Dr. Luther Kramer on marital conflict, Drs. Belvia
and Calvin Matthews on "The Five Love Languages," Slack on "Parenting in
Sync," Kenneth Anderson on forgiveness, Bloemetjie on "Tools for
Communication" and Michelle Marty and Tony Hawkes on the impact of fathers.

Participants will be able to choose two of the nine workshops and enjoy
displays from local agencies offering resources for healthy families.

The afternoon could be a wonderful Valentine's gift for a couple to give
each other - one that can effect the entire community, Bloemetjie said.

"A good marriage means a good home and good homes mean a good neighborhood,"
Bloemetjie said. "And good neighborhoods mean a good city."

© 2008 The Huntsville Times

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12th Annual Smart Marriages® Conference, Hilton San Francisco Hotel,
July 2 - 5, 2008  
Pre-Conference Training Institutes June 30-July 2
Post-Conference Training Institutes July 6

List your program and resources on the Directory of Classes at

Order conference audio & video CD/DVD/MP3s: 800-241-7785 or

Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education, LLC (CMFCE)
Diane Sollee, Director
5310 Belt Rd NW, Washington, DC 20015-1961

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