Marriage and relationship educators help individuals and couples gain the knowledge and skills needed to create a strong and loving relationship. They teach individuals and couples how to better manage conflict by developing and practicing effective ways of communicating with one another. They also teach people how to recognize healthy relationships and respond to the ongoing issues and challenges of a life-long healthy relationship.
Marriage and relationship educators are one of the most crucial components of a healthy marriage program as they deliver the program’s material, facilitate class discussion and interact directly with program participants. In other words, they are the "face" of a program.
Steps to becoming an educator include:
- Learn about relationship education programs and curricula
- Attend a curriculum training or purchase a teaching kit
- Start or join a program in your community
Follow this link for a list of resources related to marriage and relationship educators.
The NHMRC provides a list of existing marriage curricula from across the country. Some healthy relationship and marriage programs are very new while others have been around for decades. To learn more about a specific curriculum, we encourage you to contact the curriculum developer directly.
Although curricula approach marriage and relationship education in different ways, typically they discuss the qualities of a healthy relationship and are designed to help participants increase their knowledge of and develop skills in the following areas:
- Conflict resolution
- Problem solving
- Emotional intelligence
- When choosing a curriculum consider:
- Training requirements: What are the requirements of the curriculum in terms of time and cost (participation, materials, etc.)?
- Hours of curriculum: How many hours are required for completion of the program?
- Target audience: Is the curriculum designed for a specific audience (engaged couples, married couples, etc.) or is it for a general audience?
- Faith-based or secular: Is the program designed for a faith-based setting or a secular one?
Marriage Educator Training
Marriage educators must complete a curriculum training program that often ranges from 2-5 days to become certified or approved to teach that curriculum. Download our tip sheet: Characteristics of Successful Marriage Educators (PDF, 70K) for more information about how to become a marriage educator.
Training to become a marriage educator can range from "out of the box training" through DVD, videos, and other instructive materials to more formal trainings that require attendance at multi-day training workshops. Some curriculum developers have strict requirements, while others do not. Most training programs charge a fee. View our list of existing marriage curricula and contact these programs directly for the most up-to-date information on training on a particular curriculum of interest. See this list of existing marriage curricula. Another helpful resource is the Administration for Children and Families Strengthening Families Curriculum Resource Guide.
Operational Issues for Marriage Education Programs
Many practitioners put great effort into preparing to deliver healthy marriage content and recruitment activities.
A Guide to Low-Cost Curricula and Resources
Are you looking for low-cost or free curricula to support efforts to strengthen relationships for singles, couples, parents or families?
The Strengthening Families Curriculum Resource Guide
Using this Guide will help you systematically analyze a curriculum or compare curricula.
Find a Local Marriage Program
Interested in what’s going on in your area? Click here to find a local Marriage Program.