Talk to your children and family members
Marriage Skills and Communication
Teach your child and teens about healthy relationships and communication. Create a safe environment for them to approach you with questions or concerns.
(Discuss with your teens the importance of dating. Preparations for marriage and lasting healthy relationships begin with dating experiences.) What types of dates are best for learning communication and relationships skills that will have application for later marriage?
Teaching Teens Dating Skills
Marriage Portrayal in TV and Movies
Discuss with your child that marriage, and relationships in general, are quite different than what they see on TV and movies. For example, “chick-flixs” are not representative of how successful relationships – and eventual marriage – come about.
Talk to your friends
If you are married, what is one piece of advice or information you wish someone had told you prior to getting married? Or what is one piece of advice that you received that has helped you?
Improving All Relationships
A lot of principles involved in improving marriage relationships, can also be applied to improving relationships for friends and families. What principles do you think would be effective in improving all types of personal relationships?
What do you think is the biggest challenge to marriage today?
Sponsored Marriage Courses
Would it be good government policy to encourage, or even require a marriage prep course prior to issuing a marriage license? Explain your answer.
Generally speaking, what do you think is the ideal age for getting married? Do you think the rising average age of marriage (28 for women, 30 for men) has been a positive or negative thing for marriage, families, and society, in general? Explain your answer.
Engage the Broader Community
Government Sponsored Marriage Classes
Encourage government incentives to encourage couples to participate in marriage preparation courses; such as, Utah’s law discounting marriage license fees in exchange for participating in marriage prep courses.
Be A Model
Model a healthy, loving marriage. Don’t be afraid to speak of the challenges – and the satisfaction – that comes to you as a married person. Actively support newly-wed couples – attend their weddings/receptions and show community support and recognition to marriage as an institution.
Community Family Life Education
Support community programs that provide Family Life Education courses and provide opportunities for couples to improve their marriage relationships.
Promoting Life and Marriage Skills Education in Schools
Support curricula and educational programs, including in high school, that teach life skills – such as relationship-strengthening and preparation for marriage.
Before marriage, make sure you ask questions of your future spouse, even when you think you know the answer. Learn about their feelings and attitudes on finances, children, intimacy, extended family relations, etc.
Love is a choice that you make every morning when you wake up. It’s the decision to choose to cherish your partner, especially when you don’t feel like it.
“Continual, purposeful dating and practice is not only helpful, but is central to cultivating and maintaining meaningful attunement, connection, and intimacy in romantic relationships.”
Happily Ever After is not by chance, but by CHOICE. It takes work.
In communication between couples, only seven percent of the meaning is in the words while almost 40 percent of the meaning is communicated via tone.
Research shows the tone of married couple’s voices when speaking to one another is a great predictor of whether the marriage will last.
Four signs of destructive communication include; criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling.
If there is a communication break down in marriage, it can bring the whole relationship to destruction. Focus on positive communication tools such as; showing appreciation, actively listening, asking clarifying questions, using I statements, and pursuing positive interactions.
Research shows that happy couples who practice a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative behaviors are more likely to be happy and healthy.
If communication is getting heated, take a step back, take a break to calm down and reapproach the topic later. This shows respect for your partner, and allows the conversation to remain rational.
Be purposeful with your relationship, and take a moment each day to connect with your partner.
Seek to understand and use your partners love language to create positive loving interactions.
Talking to Your Elected Representative or Public Official
Talking to your elected representative or public official begins with courage and a lot of resolve. It’s best to make an appointment, but there are times when dropping by for an impromptu meeting works.
- Prior to the meeting, choose one to three important points you want to discuss.
- Upon arrival, thank them for their service and the opportunity to meet.
- Ask for their feelings about the issue. Watch for connective items you could use in your dialogue.
- Thank them for sharing before respectfully sharing your perspective.
- State your position. Use a story if available.
- Share some facts and research regarding your position on the issue.
- Ask them to comment. Listen carefully.
- Respond in a thoughtful way, but don’t feel pressure to change your position without a compelling reason.
- Strive to get a commitment or action item from them.
“Some people would say more if they talked less.” -Bob Phillips