Support for Marriage Education / Getting Started / Staying Hitched - 11/26/08

Smartmarriages smartmarriages at
Wed Nov 26 10:47:32 EST 2008



>> Hi Diane -
>> I'm about to make plane reservations for Orlando and before I do, want to
>> double-check something that looks like a possible error.  The flyer says that
>> the conference ends with a keynote on Sat. evening July 11.  A little later
>> it says that the post-conference runs on Sun (July 11) from 8:30am - 5pm.  I
>> presume this is a typo and you meant Sun (July 12).  Is this a correct
>> assumption?
>> Also - is Sue Johnson still planning on offering a post-conference workshop?
>> Thanks,
>> Karen Sherman
> Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention!  Yes, the post institutes
> are on Sunday July 12.

> And, YES, Sue Johnson will offer a post conference training institute - and it
> will be tremendous.  She's on fire and in the process of making applications
> of her EFT work to today's most pressing challenges for couples - financial
> crisis, deployment, etc......will teach you how to help couples skillfully
> attach  ­ now when they really need it.
> I'll copy this to the list to let everyone know that if they downloaded the
> flyer as I asked, to please go back to the website and download a corrected
> flyer.  OR click here:
> Also, you can check the Program-At-A-Glance periodically for institute and
> keynote updates.  I post them as soon as they're confirmed:
> -d

And please everyone follow Karen's lead and take the time to let me know
when you spot an error.  - diane


New White House needs anti-poverty plan
by Kathryn Lindsay Dobies
Nov 25, 2008

reducing poverty a priority.

At least that¹s the message a prestigious Washington think tank wants to get
across to the president-elect.

In a memo to Obama Monday, the Brookings Institution offered a list of
practical and attainable goals for the new administration in the fight
against poverty.

The author of the memo, Brookings¹ Rebecca Blank, said that the transition
period is the perfect time for Obama to highlight the poverty-reduction
goals he laid out in his campaign ­ not just on the federal level, but at
the grassroots as well.

³I think the real key question here is how much time and energy is this
administration going to have to devote to building an anti-poverty strategy
in the White House ­ and how they prioritize across far too many good things
they have to do,² Blank said in a panel discussion at Brookings.

Blank, an economist, was a member of the White House Council of Economic
Advisors under President CLINTON. In her memo, she stressed three goals,
consistent with plans laid out by Obama¹s campaign:

€ More support for low-wage workers, through expanding the earned-income tax
credit to those who don¹t live with their children, such as non-custodial
fathers facing child support payments. Currently only low-income residents
who live with children are eligible for the full tax credit. It cannot
necessarily be utilized by all poor people.

€ A more effective unemployment compensation system ­ including extension of
benefits ­ for low-income individuals faced with long term job losses.

€ More educational and housing opportunities for people in low income
neighborhoods and more access to the Internet for those living in vulnerable

The other two panelists at the discussion agreed with Blank¹s priorities,
but not necessarily with the extra spending that goes along with expanding
government programs.

Ron HASKINS, a Brookings¹ economist and onetime senior advisor to President
George W. Bush on welfare policy, said Obama should fund more programs
calling for personal responsibility rather than providing a handout. These
programs would include things like MARRIAGE EDUCATION and responsible
fatherhood workshops.

Haskins said it would be a mistake to create an overly-ambitious,
time-sensitive goal for the reduction of poverty.

³I think it [the goal] could be used as a wedge to say, Œwe have to spend
more, we have to spend more,¹² Haskins said. ³My main concern in this
atmosphereŠwhat is likely to happen is, there could be a complete breakdown
on personal responsibility.²

But panelist Angela Glover Blackwell, the founder of PolicyLink, a research
group promoting economic and social equity, disagreed with Haskins.

Blackwell said it is the government¹s responsibility to provide a safety-net
for those who can¹t fend for themselves.

Despite the disagreements on how Obama should fight poverty, the panelists
agreed that the conditions are right for the president-elect to make this a

³Clearly in these kinds of economic times, you¹re going to see more poverty,
not less. But it brings it to the top of the American agenda, and that¹s a
good thing,² Blackwell said.



Here's a fascinating bit of unexpected support for marriage education. Your
willingness to consider the possibility that there's something valuable to
be learned, in and of itself, predicts you are more likely to succeed in
marriage than someone who believes it's a matter of how good a match you
made.  (From Parry Newbold's website):

> On some level, Faulkner knew the source of the trouble: British soccer culture
> held that star players are born, not made. If you buy into that view, and are
> told you¹ve got immense talent, what¹s the point of practice? If anything,
> training hard would tell you and others that you¹re merely good, not great.
> Faulkner had identified the problem; but to fix it, he needed Dweck¹s help.
> A 60-year-old academic psychologist might seem an unlikely sports motivation
> guru. But Dweck¹s expertise‹and her recent book, Mindset: The New Psychology
> of Success‹bear directly on the sort of problem facing the Rovers. Through
> more than three decades of systematic research, she has been figuring out
> answers to why some people achieve their potential while equally talented
> others don¹t‹why some become Muhammad Ali and others Mike Tyson. The key, she
> found, isn¹t ability; it¹s whether you look at ability as something inherent
> that needs to be demonstrated or as something that can be developed.
> What¹s more, Dweck has shown that people can learn to adopt the latter belief
> and make dramatic strides in performance. These days, she¹s sought out
> wherever motivation and achievement matter, from education and parenting to
> business management and personal development.
For the full article:



> Hello Diane,
> My husband and I are starting a marriage ministry in our local church.  We
> would like to start some kind of a community initiative. We live in a small
> community of about 17,000 people and a county of 40,000.  We have been
> searching Smart Marriages website for information that would help us get
> started from ground zero.  Most of the community initiatives on your site are
> in large cities.  So a lot of the information does not apply to us (or so I
> think).  
> We want to stay a faith-based initiative and prefer to keep it within our
> local church. We have researched stats in our county and found that the
> divorce rate, out of wed-lock pregnancies are above the national average.  The
> teen pregnancy rate was 14.3% in 2005.  The need here is great!  I¹m unsure of
> how to go about this.  I would like to keep it as an outreach type ministry in
> our church but want it to make a difference in our community and a blessing to
> couples.  Our budget is 0.  One of our ideas is to work with businesses; ask
> for support in order to provide seminars, date nights, conferences and ect for
> their employees and the community.
> I think you probably get the picture:  we are in a small town, small church,
> no experience-just passion to make a difference, and no money.  Can you help?
> Lisa McGovern   
There is so much advice for you that I don't know where to begin.  BUT what
you are proposing - organizing a marriage ministry in your local
congregation ­ is the very heart of the Smart Marriages Education movement.
We know the main way we're going to change the marriage culture is through
marriage education taught in congregations by mentor volunteer couples -
this is the way to reach most couples and with easy-to0teach and incredibly
affordable, life-changing programs.  Thousands have gone where you are
planning to go and the good news for you is that the members of Smart
Marriages are a very generous group who want to share what they've done and
how they've done it - you won't have to reinvent the wheel.  They will
provide all the advice you need on how to get organized, recruit and train
mentor instructors, market the classes, and go after private and corporate
support in your community.

One place to start is to simply begin listening to the many *how to*
recordings from previous conferences:

Another is to check the Community and Marriage Mentor sections on the
Directory of Programs.  Follow the links to their website:

Another is to continue to read:

Another is to attend the Smart Marriages Conference - come to the big tent.
And, you have perfect timing: this year we're introducing a Fireproof
Marriage Ministry track organized around the phenomenon of the Fireproof
movie and Love Dare book on how to do exactly what you're hoping to do.  The
goal of this institute is to make it easy for folks like you to get
organized and up and running. The theme of the Institute is  *Strengthening
Marriage One Church at a Time*.  The track is anchored by two FREE full-day
trainings - one before the conference and one after the conference.  The
organizers will orient you to a Marriage Ministries approach and give you
guidelines for which workshops to take during the three days of the
conference on Thurs, Fri, and Sat.  Our advice is to bring a team from your
church and/or community  - fan out and cover all the bases ­ and then go
home with a team that is fully prepared to hit the ground and strengthen
marriages and families in your community.




And, speaking of community marriage strengthening, it's important for us to
remember that the first few years of marriage have the highest divorce rate
and to not just assume we can get people married, toss the rice or birdseed,
and then faggadaboutem.

Many of the premarital programs include 6 month and 1-year check-ups. If
yours doesn't, find a way to include that....use your mentor couples for
follow-up, especially for couples that are forming a new stepfamily when
they marry.  Contact new stepfamily couples and encourage them to take
marriage/stepfamily classes.  Don't even wonder if they need it, they do.

I recommend that the best wedding gift we can give any couples is a
certificate for a marriage education weekend. Before the wedding couples are
focused on wedding planning and have a hard time getting much from
premarital classes.  Once they're in the water, bobbing and madly treading,
they will pay attention:
Find resources like the Foundations Newsletter designed to help you keep in
touch with newlyweds in your congregation or community initiative. It's
incredibly inexpensive and they offer group discounts:
Another way to reach newlyweds is with becoming parent programs - the first
baby often arrives in the first few years and, remember, that (the birth of
the first child) is the #1 stressor in marriage:


> Postnuptial depression may not be a clinical diagnosis, but it has entered the
> lexicon of marriage in the past few years, and newly hitched couples will tell
> you it's real. The blues typically hit early in married life,

Postnuptial Depression: What Happens the Day After
Time Magazine
Nov. 24, 2008
By Jeninne Lee-St. John

I got married in August, and ‹ I'll admit it ‹ I'm still slightly obsessed
with reliving my wedding day. But I don't think my friends want to reminisce
anymore about the miraculously sunny hillside ceremony or the super rockin'
dance party at the reception. I can't really turn to my husband either, the
only other person as emotionally invested in my wedding as I am, because
he's 9,000 miles away in Vietnam. After the big to-do, which we spent a year
planning long-distance, he's back living and working in Saigon and I'm back
in Manhattan ‹ living with my grandmother. Talk about a letdown.

It wasn't until I received an e-mail from a friend that I realized there was
a name for what I was going through. It read, "Hope you're not too deep into
the wedding blues (the depression you get after the wedding is over, that no
one really tells you about)." Bingo.

Postnuptial depression may not be a clinical diagnosis, but it has entered
the lexicon of marriage in the past few years, and newly hitched couples
will tell you it's real. The blues typically hit early in married life,
psychiatrists say, as newlyweds begin recognizing that expectations of how
their partner or relationship will change postwedding are unrealistic.
Worse, once the Big Day has come and gone, couples are forced to step out of
their much-cherished and often long-lived "bride and groom" spotlight and
just get on with real life.

Dr. Michelle Gannon, a San Francisco psychologist who conducts Marriage Prep
101, a weekend workshop, with her husband Patrick, says there's been an
uptick lately in the number of recently married couples who enroll to deal
with their postwedding doldrums. Newlyweds often blog about it, while
brides-to-be fret over the anticipation of it on websites like
Therapists say most people experience at least some minor disappointment as
they settle into a new marriage, but 5% to 10% of newlyweds suffer strong
enough remorse, sadness or frustration to prompt them to seek professional

Emily Summerhays, 30, felt regret immediately after her 2002 wedding
ceremony. She found herself crying even as she said goodbye to guests at the
reception. "It was sort of buyer's remorse ‹ 'What did I just do? This is
really permanent,' " she recalls. That feeling of losing one's selfhood can
be overwhelming, especially when it's coupled with a sense of duty to do
everything as a pair, says Dr. Jane Greer, a marriage and family therapist
based in New York City who has taught a seminar called "Are You Ready for
Commitment?" Greer says: "It's a question of how prepared you are to become
'we.' " (See pictures of the busiest wedding day in history.)

For months into her marriage, Summerhays remained in a funk. "There was a
lot of me being sad and sullen, wishing I could be married and somehow also
be single," she says. She felt afraid of sending the wrong message to her
new husband. Summerhays recalls thinking, Will he think I don't love him
enough if I don't want to snuggle with him all night or if I leave him for
the weekend? And she felt trapped in her own melancholy, feeling ashamed
that her new marriage wasn't living up to the fairy tale. Dr. Terry Eagan,
medical director of the Moonview Sanctuary in Santa Monica, Calif., calls
postnuptial depression the secret sadness ‹ women who experience it are
often too embarrassed to tell anyone, while men are simply less open with
their feelings to begin with. "A lot of my friends had experienced it,"
Summerhays says. "It was just hard for us to admit that we were happy in our
marriages and yet so indescribably sad on some level."

The so-called honeymoon period, say psychologists, really isn't. But so many
couples buy into the myth that when they start arguing about sex, money or
time ‹ issues that all married couples battle over ‹ it can seem
catastrophic. Gannon finds herself correcting patients all the time. "Where
did you get the idea that you weren't supposed to fight?" she says. "You
are. It's normal." It's also normal to remain independent and to be
responsible for your own happiness. "It's unreasonable to assume your
partner is going to be everything to you," says Eagan.

For the full article:,8816,1861028,00.html



And, here are clips from this week's The UK Marriage News elist re

Since 1971, the (UK) divorce rate has doubled and the number of marriages
has halved. In 2005 just 244,000 couples got married, the fewest for 111
years says the Times.  In the most recent figures, however, the overall
divorce rate in England and Wales dropped for the third year in a row from
12.2 per thousand married people in 2006 to 11.9 in 2007. While fewer people
were tying the knot, those who did seemed more determined that it should
Good news then for every group except one: the twenty-somethings. It emerged
that for the sixth successive year, according to the Office of National
Statistics, men and women aged 30 and under had the highest divorce rate of
all age groups, at 26.8 per thousand. So why do younger people seem more
predisposed to divorce?
Some think that society is partly to blame. ³It's the culture we live in.
We're obsessed with cooking and gardening TV programmes, and how to create
the perfect home and lifestyle. And people in their twenties are duped by
this, as society almost forces them to care about Agas and how to lay your
own gravel path earlier than they should.  . . .
The liberalised divorce laws are the real reason that so many young people
are divorcing today, according to Steven Carter, psychotherapist and author
of Men Who Can't Love, the book that coined the term ³commitmentphobia².
³These are the children of the first generation of divorced parents, who've
grown up, married and are now divorcing themselves. So regardless of how
much they Œbelieve' in marriage, history tells them that marriages fail,² he
says. ³That's left behind a lot of bitterness and an unconscious belief that
no matter how hard you work at it, the role model failed, so it won't work
for you.² 
According to Carter, society used to provide the glue to keep even damaged
marriages together, by stigmatising spinsters and bachelors, and by
organising the community around the family. But once divorce became easier
in the early 1970s there was less internal or external pressure on a couple
to try to work things out when a relationship came under strain. So
inevitably, in today's throw-away society, he argues, couples give up and
walk away. 
While Carter's assessment for society might seem dire, in America, the
phenomenon of young people marrying and divorcing within a couple of years,
without having children, has taken hold to such an extent it has even
spawned a name - STARTER MARRIAGES.
The term was coined by Pamela Paul in her 2002 book The Starter Marriage and
the Future of Matrimony. She argued that Generation X-ers were so disturbed
by the tumult in their lives, that they craved the stability of marriage
that their parents had spurned. . . .


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13th Annual Smart Marriages® Conference, Shingle Creek Resort,
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