The Coalition was founded to bring good news to the public.
There is an end in sight -- a cure for the divorce epidemic.

Exciting new research has identified what it takes to build
strong, happy marriages and what is unique about
the couples that stay together and stay in love.

It isn't that successful couples start out richer,
better looking, more in love, or more passionate.
It isn't that they have fewer differences or less to fight about.
In fact, couples who stay together have the same number
of disagreement as couples who divorce.

And they disagree about the same issues
- money, kids, sex, housework, in-laws, and leisure time.
The difference is in how they handle their disagreements
and how they behave in ways that build long-term happiness and satisfaction.

The good news is that the behaviors - or skills - which
provide this "relationship insurance" can be learned.
Couples can unlearn behaviors that destroy love and
replace them with behaviors that keep love alive.

The number-one predictor of divorce is the habitual avoidance of conflict.

Yet couples avoid conflict precisely because they believe it will cause divorce.
It's like the cartoon where the couple says to the marriage counselor,
"It's true, we never talk anymore. We figured out that's when we have all our fights."

We avoid conflict - in the beginning because we are so in love -- and so misinformed!
We believe that "being in love" is about agreeing.

Later, we avoid conflict, because when we try to deal with our differences
things get so out of hand and our fights are so
unpleasant and upsetting that we simply shut down.
Successful couples - the research shows - are those who know
how to discuss their differences without letting
them contaminate the rest of their relationship.
We don't get married to handle conflict,
but if a couple doesn't learn how to
do that successfully, they won't be able to
do all the other things they got married to do.
Or, put another way, it's hard to take her out to the ball game if you're not speaking.

We also need to realize that every happy couple will have
approximately ten areas of disagreement that they will never resolve.

The divorce laws have it wrong.  All successful couples have irreconcilable differences!
Perpetual disagreements - like a bad knee or a chronic back - are part of
every good marriage. Successful couples learn
to dance in spite of their differences.
If we switch partners we'll just get ten new areas of disagreement
and sadly, some of the most acrimonious will
be about the children from our previous marriages.

In addition to needing to learn skills for handling disagreements,
we also have to learn to welcome and embrace change.
When we marry we promise to stay together till death
we do part, we don't promise to stay the same!
We need skills to integrate and negotiate
new meaning and changes along the way.

The good news is that there are many different
courses for learning the skills - many "brands" from which to choose.
The courses are not about what kind of marriage - or relationship - to build
- they give couples the tools to build and
successfully maintain the marriage of their dreams.

              � There are courses for different stages
of relationships and marriage.
Couples can learn the skills at any stage
- dating, engaged, as newlyweds, or after many years of marriage.

                    � The courses are also effective for couples facing
serious distress or who are on the brink of divorce.
It turns out that when you learn to interact in new ways,
the feelings of love CAN be revived - can come flowing back.
You can fall in love all over again - with the same person - with the parent
of your kids.

                        � There are courses designed to teach high school students
the skills for building good relationships and lasting marriages
- to teach them the behaviors to look for in a mate and
the behaviors to bring to a marriage.

                            � There are courses to help dating couples assess the strengths and
weaknesses of their relationship and to learn how to improve
the areas in which they have poor skills.

� There are courses designed specifically for
stepfamilies and remarried couples - families that face special challenges.

            � And there are courses for couples facing the adventures of
parenting (from first baby, to adolescents, to empty nests)
or for dealing with sexual dysfunction, substance abuse, adultery,
unemployment, dual careers, and illness.

� There are courses adapted for different
denominations taught in churches, synagogues and mosques.

�There are secular courses that are connected to no church
or denomination which are taught in community centers,
on military bases, in childbirth classes, or at the county court house.

�The courses work equally well for any long-term
committed relationship.  Courses help cohabiting
couples - often can give them the confidence to marry.  There are courses for
commited life-partners, for gay and lesbian couples.

The courses are taught in classroom settings
- think teacher, flip chart, "driver's ed for relationships."
This is not about therapy, or encounter groups.
Exposing private relationship issues and talking
about problems and feelings with others is not part of the process.
You learn skills, instead, to do that effectively in private and on your own.
This is not about getting a diagnosis of a mental illness or
character disorder - it's about learning how to "do marriage" in
ways that build love and intimacy.
Courses are inexpensive, user-friendly and empowering.
Couples enjoy themselves as they gain mastery and become
"relationship smart."  Smart couples also model the skills for their
children which will slow the divorce rate in future generations.
"Don't tell us how to have a good marriage, show us."

The courses offer couples a "do-it-yourself" solution.
"If you give a man a fish he can eat for a day; if you
teach him to fish he can feed his family forever."
The courses teach couples to fish! - to solve their own problems
over the lifespan of their marriage. To meet the highs,
lows, joys, challenges....the 'for better and for worse' issues.





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