Will Marriage Education Programs Lower the Divorce Rate?

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyRecently the American Psychological Association (APA), a leading scientific organization comprised of researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants, and students dedicated to societal issues and psychology, are now assisting couples ward off divorce through the development and application of scientifically tested relationship education-based programs.

In all probability and statistically, a new marriage has a 6.6 percent or one in 15 rate of survival and for many who opt not to divorce find themselves trapped in unhealthy marriages. The APA wants to increase the marital success rate by focusing on programs that increase positive interaction and communication among couples.

As early as the 1970s, research concluded that the quality of interaction and communication between couples was a highly predictable indicator whether or not the marriage was in distress and heading for divorce.

The research also stressed that by changing negative behaviors and interaction methods could significantly benefit couples but predetermined influences such as parental divorce, marrying at a young age, or strong confrontational defense mechanisms easily lead to marital distress.

The APA believes that marital education programs, focusing on these risk factors can be used to not only strengthen the marriage but improve communication skills. One program in circulation is the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP) created by the University of Denver’s Center for Marital and Family Studies. This program stresses the importance of effective communication and problem-solving skills and focuses upon:

  • Setting communication ground rules,
  • Effectively dealing with conflicts,
  • Establishing bonds of forgiveness,
  • Building speaker/listener techniques, and
  • How to preserve and enhance, fun, friendship, and intimacy.

Long-term studies conducted on the benefits of the PREP Program had found that couples completing the program have experienced a higher rate of marriage satisfaction and lessened the likelihood of filing for divorce up to five sequential years following participation in PREP.

Not only practiced in the United States, the PREP model is used successfully around the world not only with currently married couples but for those planning to marry. Stemming from the University of Denver, three corporations have been created as distribution centers for the program. Since the late 1980s, PREP has been made available as a training module for clergy, mental health professionals, and other interested organizations. PREP distributors have also established both secular and religious programs to reach beyond these boundaries and to date over 7,000 trainers have utilized PREP in 28 different countries.

Two other programs, The Couples Communication Program, developed under the direction of the University of Minnesota Family Study Center, and the Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills (PAIRS) have also been effective worldwide. The models may vary but the message is the same, increase effective and nurturing communication methods by focusing on each individual’s past and how they react to confrontation.

How the PAIRS Program differs is that it does not only focus on adult relationships but is used with disadvantaged youth and supports the development of speaking, listening, and problem-solving skills. Both programs also reach out to unmarried couples, single parents, domestic violence victims and prison parolees.

The significance of programs such as these compliments marital and couple research as it relates to conflict as a generic risk covering the instances of conduct disorders and depression often felt by married couples and individuals. Ignorance of these risk factors may also lead to physical health problems. Research supports that the administration of relationship education-based programs may not only improve a marriage but prove beneficial for individuals as well.

If you have experienced marital counseling or participated in an education-based communication program without positive results, perhaps it is time to seek a legal resolution. If divorce appears imminent, the skilled Hinsdale divorce attorneys of The Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio has not only infused compassion but effective communication to ensure your legal rights are protected. To learn more about our services contact us today to schedule your free consultation today.





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