A Comprehensive Framework for Marriage Education

Publication Date: January 15, 2004


In a progressive society such as the United States, we usually take problems, such as high divorce and non-marital childbearing rates, as a cause for action rather than a reason for resignation. Thus, it should surprise no one that the beginnings of a marriage movement have emerged in the United States over the last decade. A prominent part of this marriage proto-movement has been a wide array of educational initiatives. However, to date there has been no formal effort to develop an integrative conceptual framework of marriage education.

This monograph provides marriage educators with a set of concepts that will help them better understand their craft and discover unseen possibilities. We offer a map, or framework, depicted in Figure 1, that helps marriage educators think more thoroughly, systematically, and creatively about opportunities to strengthen marriage. We draw attention to the elements of content, intensity, method, timing, setting, target, and delivery, and their implications for marriage education. We note that we have much to learn about marriage education for more disadvantaged individuals and couples who potentially have the most to benefit from educational initiatives. We point out the value of developing marriage education with greater specificity in content, timing, and target. We call for more organic intervention that embeds marriage education in diverse institutional settings with access to couples across the economic spectrum. In the end, we address the need to take marriage education beyond a valuable helping profession and even an expanding educational service integrated into the human service professions to a vibrant social movement.

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