These stories have been submitted to the NHMRC by marriage and relationship education (MRE) practitioners. They show how MRE has impacted the lives of their participants. The stories posted do not constitute an endorsement by the NHMRC. All names have been changed to protect privacy. If you have a story or testimonial that you would like to submit for publication, please email the NHMRC.

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Alabama Community Healthy Marriage Initiative, is a partnership between Auburn University, the Alabama Children's Trust Fund, Family Resource Centers, Mental Health Centers, and many other agencies and individuals at the State and Local levels who have joined together to build and sustain healthy relationships and stable marriages throughout Alabama.

"After completing this course, my marriage has been back on the right track. Before this class, my husband and I were on bad terms. With the guidance we received, and the new skills that we learned in these classes, we are now happier, and our children are happier as a result of all the tension in our home being gone."

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Arizona Youth Partnership, based in Tucson, Arizona, works with youth and families across the state to bring resources to under-served communities.

"We have kept what we learned alive in our relationship and you can see the difference in our children, too. Everyone should give this program a try, it is so worth it! It will change your lives for the better."

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Best Friends Foundation is a school based character education program for girls that begins in the sixth grade and continues until high school graduation. They have provided relationship education to youth.

"When I first signed up for the program, I thought that it wouldn't have a significant impact on my teenage years. As time went on, I was quick to find out that I was wrong. In the first session that I attended, we talked about relationships with friends, families and significant others. In the session I learned that communication was important in every healthy relationship."

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Bethany Christian Services designed FRAME-Works (Family Relationships Anchored in Marriage Education-Works), a free program to help unmarried, expectant or new parents strengthen their relationship and prepare for parenting.

"The weekend training was enjoyable and we liked being around other couples who shared similar problems."

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Cecil County Healthy Marriage Initiative which began in 2005, is a collaborative effort between government leaders, businesses, social agencies, churches and other faith-based organizations in Maryland to actively participate in strategies to strengthen marriages and adequately prepare couples for marriage.

"The things that my wife and I have learned at these programs have helped us to better understand how each other is in our marriage. My wife and I fight less and spend more time together. Not just with each other, but with our kids too. We now make the time for one another, and have fun doing it!  My wife and I will keep coming to this program as long as it is offered. Thank you for a great program and keep it up!"

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Children's Aid Society  is a non-profit organization based in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, that is dedicated to improving the lives of children and families. They shared this story:

I am writing to share my experiences with going through the healthy marriage program. My husband and I were on a difficult path before we started the program. He spent around 15 months away from my son and I. He was in Iraq with the army, so when he came home life was not the same at all, and he was not the same. Little things that people said and did that did not bother him before started to really bother him. We had to figure out how to communicate and love all over again. The healthy marriage program helped us greatly. They have a very neat way of showing couples how to communicate with each other that any couple can do. It really helped us deal with people we work with also.
I used to let a lot of different people walk all over me, well not any more I finally got a backbone. We both still have to work on it everyday but it is worth it.
I would recommend this program to every married couple whether you are having problems or not. It is just a great time getting together with other adults, and having fun. All the instructors are great too.
Thanks for all your help!



El Paso Healthy Marriages Project, is part of a non-profit organization, Model Cities, a program dedicated to improve the lives of the citizens of El Paso through education in the areas concerning marriage, family, and community decency. One of the class facilitators shared this story:

At my last marriage class I had a couple that walked in nearly hating each other, if looks could kill they would have been dead. Divorce had already been discussed and they were going to give this a last try. Neither of them seemed too excited to be there.
After that first class, learning to communicate and becoming a good listener, we saw a small glimpse of hope for them.
There were many tears of hurt, frustration and anger, through out the classes. A lot of focusing on the negative traits each other showed.
As the 2nd and 3rd class rolled around Marriage Musts (things that should be in your marriage and things that should not exist in your relationship). Problem Solving – Controlling your anger. There was repentance and forgiving both ways. We, as Instructors (my husband and I ), could see a marked improvement.
Long story short they left our class talking, laughing, hugging and holding hands. The whole class applauded their change and they decided to give their marriage another chance!!!



Family Bridges is a healthy marriage initiative program in the Chicagoland area that focuses on relationship-building skills designed for everyone in the community.

"There were times when I wasn't even sure Ted still wanted to be married to me," Angela says. "I was insecure in my marriage, but I left that conference secure in our relationship and our love for each other. I know now that we're striving for the same goal: a happier marriage."

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Marriage Works! Ohio is a collaborative effort of diverse organizations united to help build healthy families and healthy communities throughout the Miami Valley of Ohio by providing marriage and relationship education for couples.

"Before the workshop, my husband and I were in the process of getting a dissolution. We had the court date set and everything. Now he has moved back in and we are going strong. We canceled the court date and we feel like we have just begun our relationship over again. We are doing more together now than we ever did in our marriage together prior to the workshop."

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Nueces County Community Action Agency, based in Nueces County, Texas works to provide a wide range of human services at the community level to help individuals build self-sufficiency and rise out of poverty. A participant from their healthy marriage program shared this testimony:

When I first heard about the Within My Reach Relationships Classes, I thought, "Oh well, just another class of people telling me things I already know." But, when I attended the first class my eyes were opened to how many different approaches and angles we can use in our relationships.
My personal relationship has greatly improved thanks to the techniques I acquired in these classes. The speaker/listener technique has really helped me the most. Now, instead of arguing over constant misunderstandings, my partner and I can really get our points across for a better and healthier relationship.



The Oklahoma Marriage Initiative is a statewide public/private partnership dedicated to strengthening families and helping couples who choose marriage for themselves gain access to services and supports to help them build and sustain healthy marriages across Oklahoma.

"Thank you for providing this workshop. I feel that this should be required for every couple before marriage. This workshop is a stepping stone for creating a long, lasting, happy, fulfilling marriage."

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Promoting Strong Families is a five-year research program designed to discover ways for African American couples to strengthen their relationships and build on strengths in their relationships to promote strong parenting skills.

"I had taken a few days off of work to file for divorce when God led me to enroll in your program. Because of your program, we will be renewing our vows this spring!"

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The Sacramento Healthy Marriage Project based in Sacramento, California, promotes the sustainable development of safe and stable families by providing relationship education.

"Before the class, they were lost and their lives we going in completely different directions. Our goals were totally different. James did not have any plans or goals to begin with. The Flourishing Family's Program taught them how to build a family."

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 ThinkMarriage.jpg is non-profit organization based out of Green Bay, Wisconsin, dedicated to improving the quality of relationships through education. This is a poem written by a participant who attended a Within My Reach workshop.




Daddy, please stay home with me

You can't put a band-aid on my knee from the penitentiary


And how will you be able to help me do well in school

Don't you care rather or not I pass or get kept behind looking like a fool


What about these rocks and bugs I have found

How can you play with them with me if you are on lock-down


You will miss my birthday party and everything

I will not be able to fully enjoy my cake and ice cream


Who will teach me safety and how to stay up on my bike

Leaving that to someone else to do isn't right


You is my Dad, and you suppose to care

Please don't go. It would just seem so unfair


I hate that dope and fast money. It makes daddies do bad things

They end up going away forever to prison, or at least so it seems


Don't you care that you not being here is going to make me cry

How can you do what you do when you know you'll eventually have to say bye


Daddy, a broken heart is one thing I never asked you for

All I want is you home tonight, tuck me in, double check the windows and doors


Have I been bad the reason why you will not stay

I promise to be better if you just give me one more chance today


Please daddy, don't go. You have to stay home with me

But if you must, then go. Until you return the Angels will put a band-aid on me.


So, to all you locked up fathers who I know deep down really care,

your babies go to sleep at night, wondering what was more important to their

Dad as to why he is not there at home with them