The Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education
Annual Conference

Attn: Editors

Who should cover this conference?

A Science Reporter? We're talking about a revolution – a renaissance – based on new science
and information. • Thirty years of research finds that marriage isn’t a disease – it is a
skill-based relationship. Which – eureka! – means it’s something we can master. We don’t need
diagnosis and treatment – we need marriage education, someone to show us what to expect,
what works, and how to do it. And, more good news: research shows that anyone of any age,
class, education, race, can (of course) learn the skills - even children of divorce or never-married parents
who themselves are less likely to marry, and if they do, more likely to divorce.

• Research also finds that anyone can teach the courses. You don't need a heart surgeon to teach
exercise, diet, and smoking cessation classes and you don’t need a therapist or counselor to teach
marriage skills. Which means this is a highly affordable renaissance. The research is done. The
curricula are developed. The next goal is to train enough marriage instructors to reach saturation
level - the tipping point where people know better and can do better. The Army and Air Force send
whole departments to the conference to learn how to teach the courses. Communities send squads of
marriage activists. Congregations send teams of lay couples. • There is also a revolution and renaissance
in our new understanding of the benefits – the protective effects – of marriage for men, women,
and children. We haven't just figured out HOW TO DO marriage, we've figured out WHY –
why it's worth the effort and why it's important to invest in marriage at the societal level. We have
been too long misinformed, told that divorce doesn’t make any difference. It turns out we all – men,
women, children, and taxpayers – do better if marriage is strengthened. It takes a lot of strong, solid
marriages to make a village.

A Policy Reporter? For the first time in history, Congress, in 2006, authorized
federal funding specifically targeted at strengthening marriage. This legislation in the form
of a $100+ million a year Healthy Marriage Demonstration Initiative was based, first, on this growing
recognition that intact marriages are good for kids, men, women, and communities. And,
second, it was based on the availability of the new research-based approach to marriage:
"marriage education". Taxpayers paid for the research on which these programs are built.
Americans continue to marry - 90% will still marry, at least once. It's time we get the information
out of the research labs so couples can learn how to keep their vows, reach their goals, and raise their
children. Congress finally realized that we've been stuck for decades in a downstream "rescue"
paradigm spending billions annually to pull drowning couples and their children out of the river,
trying to resuscitate them – after their families had collapsed and they'd fallen in. Attend the
conference to see the wide variety of "upstream" approaches that are being funded across the
country under the federal Healthy Marriage Demonstration umbrella and through a growing number
of state TANF set-asides (OK, TX, AL, GA, NY, UT, OH with more in the pipeline.) They're
all voluntary, all designed to see if we can keep families from going under; all based on the
simple notion that when couples know better they will do better.

Life-Style? The research finds that ALL couples – those that stay happily married, and those
that divorce – have the same numbers of disagreements – and that they all disagree about all the
same issues. Disagreements don’t predict squat. What's important is 1) that we understand that disagreement
is normal, an expected and, even, cherished aspect of a good "team" marriage, and 2) that we
learn HOW to manage our disagreements in ways that allow us to become ever more deeply connected.
Couples deserve access to the new information about how marriages really work. The research
and programs have been around long enough that we know they're effective and that both genders love them.
They are based on the premise that men and women are EQUALLY capable of learning the new information and
behaviors, and equally invested in having a harmonious, successful marriage. No one wants to find the love
of their life, get married, have a couple of kids and then divorce and endlessly battle over custody,
support & visitation. There are dozens of marriage education programs from which to choose
and all of them will be demonstrated at this conference.

Send them all. This is the only meeting of the burgeoning marriage education revolution.

More than 200 leading scholars, researchers, clinicians, and community activists
discuss strategies and initiatives – and the skepticism. Divorce is a major a public health problem. We
need an informed public. It's a matter of choice. Couples can’t chose to build stable marriages
if they don’t know how.

3000 people will attend from all 50 states and from more than a dozen countries.
Contact Diane Sollee, founder and director, at 202-363-3332

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