Relationships and Marriage

Great articles, videos, classes, and events designed to help you strengthen your relationships and your marriage.

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Marriage Benefits Children

In an article published by the Brookings Institute, Richard Reeves wrote about the fact that Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton became a father on Christmas Eve 2015. So what’s the big deal, you ask? Cam is single. He and his girlfriend, along with many others, didn’t see the importance of tying the knot before having a…

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Holding Out Hope for Marriage

Believe it or not, many couples are just trying to make it through the holidays before filing for divorce. Nothing they have tried is working, so they assume divorce is the answer. Most people believe it takes two dedicated partners to salvage a troubled marriage. Michele Weiner-Davis, internationally-known relationship expert and author of the best-selling…

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What’s the Point of Marriage?

Popular shows like Married by America or The Bachelor might lead you to believe that marriage, which has been declining for 30 years, is making a comeback. But look closely at these shows: their focus is more on romantic relationships and lavish weddings. Is marriage only about fulfilling our emotional needs, or is it something more? According to Dr. David Popenoe, co-director…

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Adventures in Marriage

During the Yamadas’ adventurous marriage, there haven’t been many dull moments. “I wouldn’t describe either of us as risk-takers, but we are definitely not afraid to try new things,” says Mrs. Yamada. “We enjoy ballroom dancing, mountain biking and scuba diving, but I couldn’t see either of us bungee jumping.” Several years ago, the Yamadas…

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5 Ways to Stoke the Fire of Passion in Marriage

In his song Too Cold at Home, Mark Chesnutt sings, “It’s too hot to fish, too hot for golf and too cold at home.” Even if it’s boiling outside, it can be cold at home when it comes to your marriage. Over time, many people seem to be willing to let sexual intimacy fly right out the window….

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Facebook and Divorce

From America to Indonesia, the headlines read, “Facebook is Causing 20 Percent of Today’s Divorces.” “When I heard the statistic, I did some research to find its source,” says Jason Krafsky. Krafsky co-authored Facebook and Your Marriage with his wife, Kelli. “It turns out that an online divorce firm in the UK sent out a press release…

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10 Resolutions for a Healthy Marriage

The top 10 resolutions for each new year are often to: lose weight, get organized, spend less/save more, enjoy life to the fullest, stay fit and healthy, learn something exciting, quit smoking, help others in their dreams, fall in love, and spend more time with family. These are great goals, but studies show that without accountability,…

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Affair-Proofing Your Marriage

Eric* was married with two children. Life at home was good, and he considered his relationship with his wife to be healthy. They frequently spent time together and intimacy between the two of them was good. He never considered having an affair until he faced a potentially compromising situation with a co-worker. “Contrary to popular belief, most…

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Date Night is a Relationship Booster

When it comes to romancing your mate for special holidays like Valentine’s Day or birthdays, some couples have a head start on the celebration. Why? They’ve discovered that making regular time for each other is linked to lots of relationship benefits. According to The Date Night Opportunity, a 2012 report released by the National Marriage Project,…

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A Singles Guide for Valentine’s Day

Singles everywhere are bracing themselves for the holiday they dread the most – Valentine’s Day. This week there will be an onslaught of commercials advertising amazing packages couples can take to celebrate their love. If you don’t have a special someone in your life and wish that you did, it can be really painful. Some…

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Relationships are Key to Happiness

What’s the secret to a happy life? Many might say that money is a big part of the equation. But intrigued with discovering the secrets to a meaningful and happy life, a group of Harvard researchers launched a study in 1938. Then, they followed 268 male Harvard undergraduates – for 75 years. The unique Harvard Grant…

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How to Move Past Your Past

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Finding the Best Gifts for Christmas

Anthony Wakim is an unassuming young man. He loves the outdoors and spends a lot of time hunting, fishing and camping with his dad. He plays handbells, knows how to skin a buck, holds a second degree black belt in Taekwondo and has had perfect attendance since kindergarten. And while a Cub Scout, he achieved the Arrow…

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Being Content in the Present

Think back to last year. What was happening in your life? What things consumed your mind? Did you worry a lot? Now, fast forward to the present. Of all the things you spent time and energy worrying about, how many of them actually happened? So often, we spend time worrying about the future and what…

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Celebrating the Holidays Alone

Christmas is in the air. Pictures of Christmas trees and holiday décor are all over social media. Malls are bustling with holiday shoppers. Recipes are circulating to help you make the best holiday meals, and folks are busy planning their annual holiday gatherings with friends and family. Yet, in spite of the hustle and bustle,…

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Prepare for Marriage, Not Just the Wedding

First, attend a premarital education class or premarital counseling. Eighty-nine percent of married couples who attended premarital education BEFORE marriage found it to be helpful down the road. Worthwhile classes will teach you communication skills and conflict management tools, along with addressing appropriate expectations. Find a mentor couple – Seek out an older, more experienced, happily married couple…

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Invest in Your Marriage

It isn’t unusual for people to make time to attend training to increase their job productivity, improve their golf swing or even enhance their cooking or gardening skills, but when was the last time you took time away to work on your marriage relationship? Imagine getting away for a week with your spouse and a…

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Keys to a Smokin’ Hot Marriage

You found your “soul mate,” dated and fell madly in love. Before long you were fantasizing about what your wedding and wedding night would be like. The honeymoon was wonderful, and so were the weeks and months that followed. As you slowly get down to the business of marriage, tasks, opportunities, decisions and real life can hit…

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How You Can Keep the “Honey” in Honeymoon

“For better, for worse. For richer, for poorer. In sickness and in health.” You probably recognize these as marriage vows. Starry-eyed in love couples stand before friends and family and recite these vows with total commitment to each other. “Many people believe that if they have found their soulmate and are deeply in love, they won’t…

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Celebrating Your Anniversary

Do you remember the date of your wedding anniversary? If you didn’t cheat and look at the engraved date on your wedding band, give yourself some points. How many years have you been married? If you had to think to figure it out, take away some points. How did you celebrate your last anniversary? Did…

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Fun Ways to Jazz Up Your Marriage

David and Claudia Arp believe that fun in marriage is serious business. They have written several books on marriage together, including the Ten Great Dates series. “In our 30-plus years of marriage, we have learned important things like, if you don’t say what is on your mind when it is on your mind, it may not be…

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Couples Who Play Together

When was the last time you and your mate played together? Seriously… can you remember the last time you did something crazy fun together? In far too many marriages, couples throw play out the window and replace it with serious adult responsibilities like careers, raising children, taking care of elderly parents, household chores and community commitments….

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What’s Up With Dating Your Mate?

Believe it or not, research shows that couples who manage to devote time specifically to one another at least once a week are significantly more likely to enjoy high-quality relationships and lower divorce rates, compared to couples who do not devote as much couple time to one another. Couples who spend time together at least…

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Marriage and Divorce in the South

You’ve probably seen the Holiday Inn Express commercials where characters pilot a helicopter, prevent a nuclear meltdown or give smart advice simply because they “stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.” These commercials are funny because it would be outrageous for an untrained person to attempt these things. Oddly enough, many couples live together, marry, have children, and/or divorce on the…

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There is Hope for Your Marriage

Margery D. Rosen, author of Seven Secrets of a Happy Marriage, a book based on her Ladies’ Home Journal column, Can this Marriage be Saved?, interviewed hundreds of couples whose marriages were in distress and appeared hopeless. “The book is a compilation of columns over the years as well as information from social scientists to…

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Eight Ways to Refresh Your Marriage

1.  Do something physical together every day. Physical exercise generates new brain cells and that feels good. When you do this with your partner, your brain associates these times with pleasure. 2.  Have fun together. Do something that is fun for both you and your spouse on a regular basis. 3.  Train your mind to see…

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Benefits of Marriage

Better physical health and substantially lower risk of early death and debilitating illness. Better emotional health (in a survey of 14,000 people, “marital status was one of the most important predictors of happiness,” with the married reporting the highest level of happiness, and separated and divorced reporting the lowest levels of happiness). Financial health and…

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Keys to Effective Communication in Marriage

Research on what makes marriage work indicates that happy and healthy couples demonstrate a ratio of 5:1 positive to negative behaviors in their relationship. This means there are five times as many positive interactions between happy couples (i.e. listening, validating the other person, using soft words, expressing appreciation, affirmation, physical affection, compliments, etc.) as there…

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How to Plan a Great Wedding Experience

When you dreamed about your wedding, did you ever think so many people would participate in the process? Your mother is hurt because you aren’t wearing her wedding dress. The maid-of-honor has forgotten it is your wedding – not hers. Your fiance’s family thinks the wedding plans are too formal. How will you choose two flower girls…

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10 Great Dates Before You Say I Do

David and Claudia Arp and Curt and Natelle Brown found that many seriously dating and engaged couples had questions. Turns out, many couples wonder the same thing. “In many of our seminars, couples told us they were in love and wanted to feel confident that they could make their relationship work,” say David and Claudia…

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Irreconcilable Differences

The University of Washington has more than 35 years of marital research by Dr. John Gottman that determines with greater than a 90 percent accuracy rate what’s going to happen to a relationship over a three-year period. In a national telephone survey, there were two issues that couples were most likely to report arguing about.  What would you guess those two…

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Make Holiday Memories, Not Misery

Although it has been many years ago, Deanna Brann, clinical psychologist and author of Reluctantly Related:  Secrets to Getting Along With Your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-Law, has no problem recalling “The Thanksgiving from Hell.” It was the first Thanksgiving she and her husband spent with her son, new daughter-in-law and granddaughters. Although looking forward to seeing…

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Myths About Marriage

Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher explore five myths about marriage in The Case for Marriage: Myth 1 Divorce is usually the best answer for kids when a marriage becomes unhappy. The authors discovered that the vast majority of “bad marriages” that don’t end up in divorce eventually become good marriages. In a study of people…

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How Couples Can Handle Toxic Subjects

If you’re married, you’ve probably had a spirited discussion or two with your spouse. Chances are, it’s been about money, sex, jealousy over time spent outside the marriage, in-laws, child rearing or spirituality/faith. “Based on research, we have learned that these are six of the most common toxic subjects for couples,” says Beverly Rodgers, marriage and…

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Common Myths About Anger

“Anger is a complex emotion. One of the major reasons why the emotion of anger has gained a primarily negative reputation is that there is so much misinformation about what anger is and can be, and we only tend to hear and read about unhealthy expressions of anger. It’s tragic that the mostly incorrect and…

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How Boundaries Can Protect Your Marriage

Have you “friended” an old flame on Facebook without telling your spouse? Once you marry, is it okay to have close friends of the opposite sex? If asked to choose between going out with your friends or staying home with your spouse, which would you prefer? Do you discuss details about your marriage relationship with your…

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Getting Your Marriage Off to Great Start

What makes a marriage really work? Is there any way to guarantee that love can last forever? It has been said that those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Although many people are in love with the idea of marriage, many couples fail to prepare for inevitable bumps in the road ahead, and are…

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Potential Boundary Issues

Before you take that walk down the aisle, sit down with each set of in-laws and talk about boundaries within your relationship. For example, when a couple was considering purchasing a house close to his mother, the mother-in-law said, “I am okay with you living close to me, but you will call before you come…

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Healthy Holiday Boundaries

Set a specific time to talk about how you want to spend the holidays. Remember that you are on the same team and your spouse is your first priority…..not your family. As negotiations proceed, keep in mind that it isn’t your job to please everybody. You may make some decisions that disappoint one family or…

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Top 10 Strengths of Happy Marriages

Top 10 Strengths of Happy Marriages 1.   Partners are satisfied with communication. 2.   Partners handle their differences creatively. 3.   They feel very close to each other. 4.   Spouses are not controlling. 5.   Partners discuss their problems well. 6.   They are satisfied with the affection they show and receive in the marriage. 7.   There is a…

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Top 10 Potential Marriage Pitfalls

1.    Problems sharing leadership 2.    One partner is too stubborn 3.    Stress created by child-rearing differences 4.    One partner is too negative or critical 5.    One partner wishes the other had more time 6.    One partner wishes the other was more willing to share their feelings 7.    Feeling responsible for issues 8.    Avoiding conflict with…

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Myths About Living Together

MYTH: Living together is an easy way to “try out” the relationship before committing to marriage. Truth: While the idea of “test driving” a car before you buy it is a good idea, it doesn’t apply to marriage. Living together is basically a “pretend marriage” and nothing like the real thing. Couples who live together…

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Getting Engaged During the Holidays, Planning for a Lifetime

Christie and Jim celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday with both of their families. Just before the meal, Jim began to tell Christie how thankful he was for her. He also shared what he appreciated about her. A bit embarrassed, she asked him if he realized he was talking to her in front of their entire family. With…

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Don’t Wait to Say Thanks

In November 2015, many mourned the senseless loss of life in Paris and asked, “Why did this have to happen?” Others realized that if this could happen in Paris, it could happen in America and elsewhere. Isobel Bowdery recounted how she pretended to be dead at the Bataclan concert hall, surrounded by dead bodies. “As…

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Mad About Us, Part 2

Almost daily, unhealthy anger causes some kind of devastation. It could be anything from child abuse or domestic violence to road rage, or to children methodically preparing to harm their teacher. The emotion of anger in and of itself isn’t the problem, though. When people allow themselves to be controlled by this powerful emotion, it can…

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Mad About Us, Part 1

Over the past 30 years, Gary and Carrie Oliver have worked with literally thousands of couples. Some were preparing for marriage while others were trying to figure out how to make their marriage work. “Every couple we have worked with began their marriage with a proclamation of their love and commitment to stay together ‘until…

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Communication Killers, Part 1

Within the first three minutes of a couple’s conversation, Dr. John Gottman can predict with 96 percent accuracy whether the relationship will survive over the long-haul or not. He bases his predictions on four potentially destructive communication styles and coping mechanisms: (1) harsh startup, (2) the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, (3) flooding, and (4)…

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Communication Killers, Part 2: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

The Four Horsemen are hostile forms of communication that put couples at high risk for divorce when these patterns take up permanent residence in the relationship. 1.  Criticism is defined as blaming, faultfinding, or using global and negative labels to attack your spouse’s character. For example, “How would you know? You’re never home,” or “My…

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Are You a Keeper?

FIVE areas a person should know about another person before marrying them: Make sure you have taken the time to get to know the person you are marrying. Get to know them, their family, what their conscience is like, compatibility potential, relationship skills and previous relationship patterns. How do you know you can trust them?…

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Wedding Expenses and Marriage Stability

A friend’s Facebook post that said expensive wedding rings lead to more divorce caught Randal Olson’s eye. “My girlfriend and I had recently talked about wedding rings,” says Olson. “She said she did not want a big wedding ring. After reading the study, I was thankful. I am one semester away from graduating with a…

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For Richer, For Poorer

Does marriage matter? People have been asking this question for decades. For Richer, For Poorer: How Family Structures Economic Success in America examined how family structure impacts the economic fortunes of American families. Dr. Brad Wilcox, senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies and Robert Lerman, professor of economics at American University, conducted the research. They concluded…

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The Power of Words

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. You probably recognize this childhood rhyme, but is it true? Social media posts, letters to the editor and rants to American newspapers increasingly spew angry and hateful words. In the spirit of supposedly expressing opinions and being helpful, writers name-call, judge from afar and are…

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4 Ways You Can Protect Your Marriage From Social Media

Does media use really impact marital quality? This question has been swirling around in the minds of many for more than a decade. And according to attorneys, the use of social media impacts divorce cases now more than ever before. Counselors also say it is increasingly common for couples to argue about media use in…

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10 Things to Think About Before “I Do”

“A wedding lasts only a day, but marriage should last a lifetime…” There are many things that a bride and groom need to think about before their wedding day…the dress, the honeymoon, the rings. In the midst of planning for that special day, it’s important not to forget to plan for your marriage, which will…

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Reducing Holiday Stress

She was excited about her boyfriend meeting her family for the first time. Having headed home earlier in the week, she anxiously awaited his arrival. She answered the doorbell–and there he was in his blue jeans and flannel shirt. She never imagined that he would not be dressed for the occasion. Her stress level skyrocketed…

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College Break and the Holidays

Many families will experience a new normal when college students arrive home for their first extended break. The thought of sleeping in their own beds, eating good food and resting for about a month sounds amazing. But parents and college students alike will wonder about a few things like: Should I spend time with family…

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Holiday Loneliness

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! The air is brisk and malls are bustling with holiday shoppers. Recipes are circulating to help you make the best holiday meals. Pinterest has lots of good gift-giving ideas and folks are busy planning their annual holiday gatherings with friends and family. In spite of the hustle…

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Creative Date Ideas

Going on a date doesn’t have to be expensive or stressful.   Here are a few of our ideas: Go for a hike in the mountains. Watch a funny movie together. Help out in a service organization together. Grab something to eat and take it to the park for a picnic. Go for a walk or…

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Reasons to Save Sex for Marriage

Teens and other singles give many reasons for having sex, but too many times the decision to “go all the way” is influenced by others rather than by a true desire to experience sex. Reasons for having sex often stem from pressures from peers, media or boyfriends and girlfriends. It is important to look at…

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Dating as a Single Parent

Tricia Morris lost the love of her life in 1991 when her husband, Steve, died of cancer. “It was a very difficult time,” says Morris. “I was grieving the loss of my husband in addition to taking care of three toddlers who didn’t really understand what happened to their daddy. One minute we were a…

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Cohabitation: Good or Bad?

Cohabitation has been a hot topic of conversation for many years. In the 60’s and 70’s very few couples lived together before marriage. Today, research indicates that more than 60 percent of couples cohabit before marrying in spite of numerous studies from institutions across the country that found that couples who cohabit prior to marriage are at…

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Online Dating

When Kyle and Kate Jackson were on the dating scene they didn’t want to meet people in bars or by chance. Since both of them were shy, they realized that even if they met someone they wouldn’t have the guts to ask the person out. A study published in 2013 by the University of Chicago…

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Workplace Exits and Relationships

Sara* was sick and tired of the way she was being treated at work. She decided it was time to leave and when she made her exit, she was going to let her boss know how she felt about things. What she could not possibly have known at the time was that three years later…

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Is Date Night Dead?

Date Night may need some serious resuscitation. A survey of Redbook magazine readers found that 45 percent of couples rarely have Date Night, while only 18 percent said they go out once a month. This is sad news, since marriage experts consistently say one of the best ways to keep your marriage strong, healthy and…

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An Olympic-Worthy Marriage

Stories abound about winter 2014 Olympic athletes and what it took for them to have the opportunity to participate in the winter games. Katie Summerhayes, Sage Kotsenburg, Bode Miller and others trained for thousands of hours to become the best in their sport – whether they actually won a medal or not. Isn’t it interesting…

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Can We Talk?

Several young men and a young woman have been in the news recently because of a highly publicized, alleged rape at Vanderbilt University. The woman remembers being at a bar with one of the men, who bought her several drinks. After the last drink, the young woman says she has no memory of anything until…

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Are Opposite-Sex Friends Okay?

As people marry later in life, many are bringing long-term opposite-sex friendships into their marriage relationship. While the friendships were great during singlehood, in marriage, these relationships may prove problematic. “I think it is okay for married people to have opposite-sex friends,” says Lisa Stewart. “However, I believe out of respect for your spouse that…

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Every Day is a Gift

In the movie Elf, Buddy and the other elves in his class recite the Code of the Elves, which says: Treat every day like Christmas. There is room for everyone on the nice list. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, what…

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Choosing a Christmas Gift for Your Wife

‘Twas four days before Christmas when all through the house, no one was stirring, not even your spouse. Stockings were hung by the chimney with care. What should you get her? Buyer beware! Your wife all nestled snug in your bed while visions of diamonds danced in her head. The dog had his bone in…

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Holiday Gift-Giving

Bryan and Melissa Laseter have two children. Early on in their marriage, they agreed to Christmas gift-giving limits for each other, and every year they blew it. Each year, Christmas Day arrived and both of them had gone above and beyond the limit. “Clearly our intentions were not working when it came to gift-giving,” says…

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Grief and the Holidays

In June of 2010, Cathy Brown unexpectedly lost her mother. While she was in the midst of grieving and anticipating the holidays without her mom, Brown’s son passed away. “Up to this point in my life, I had never lost anybody close to me,” says Brown. “When I lost my mom and son within six…

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Making Holiday Memories from Disaster

Do you remember any holiday disasters from your life?  Although they may have seemed like an epic failure at the time, they’re now hopefully the source of belly laughter and fond memories. Here are a few holiday disaster-turned-memory stories for when you’re tempted to take life too seriously. “John and I got married during the holidays…

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Give Thanks: It’s Good for You

Each year, it seems like stores decorate earlier in an attempt to get the jump on holiday sales. In October, you can actually look at Halloween costumes, then stroll over to the next aisle to check out the latest in Christmas decorations, candy and gifts. What happened to Thanksgiving – the holiday between Halloween and…

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Adult Children and the Holidays

“It won’t be the holidays without you,” says many a parent to their grown adult child. “It’s already started,” says the father of three young children. “The competition between the in-laws for how much time they will get with us over Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is why I hate the holidays.” “Some of our most…

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Christmas Magic and Wonder

We have all experienced a tragic event, and its ripple effect impacts everyone in some form or fashion. Many are approaching Christmas with heavy hearts–and they’re in no mood to celebrate. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow seemed to be in a similar place when he wrote the carol known as I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. On…

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Holiday Traditions: Who Cares?

Believe it or not, most people – young and old – find comfort in traditions. There really is something special about kicking off the holiday season with a ritual you look forward to each year, like running as a family in Families on the Run, the smell of gingerbread baking in the oven, going to…

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Take Time to Give Thanks

Many around the Thanksgiving table will barely have time to give thanks and finish dessert before rushing to shop for the best Christmas deals. However, despite the lure of making more money, one store will not be in that mix. For years, Nordstrom has notified customers that they won’t be decking their halls until Friday….

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Can Your Marriage Survive the Holidays?

Jayne Griffin looked at her calendar and realized she doesn’t have a free weekend until after January 1st. She’s hosting the family Thanksgiving meal and taking her grandbaby to see Santa.  Then there’s the staff party at her house, her husband’s office party and the church Christmas gathering.  Plus, she’s taking a trip to see…

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Holiday Expectations

When the holidays draw near, many people play tapes in their mind about how the holidays will go. Uncle Ralph may have a bit too much to drink and insist on starting something with someone over nothing.  Then the celebration will be over. Maybe you don’t get along with your in-laws and you dread spending…

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Holiday Transitions for Children

Scott (not his real name) will get his fill of turkey this Christmas at three different homes with different sets of parents and relatives.  He’s not happy about moving from place to place, but he really doesn’t have a say. “It is not unusual for children of divorced parents to celebrate holidays multiple times,” says Rev. Dick Dunn,…

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Holiday Stress and Family Divorce

The holidays will be different for many children who are adjusting to their parents’ divorce. What once was, is no more. In the midst of their “new normal,” now they must learn how to deal with dividing the holidays between two parents. And, it isn’t just the kids who will be experiencing stress. “I think…

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Holidays, In-Laws and Boundaries

The first holiday season for newlyweds can be really tricky if the in-laws expect the celebration to stay the same.  While this may seem like no big deal to some couples, deciding where to spend the holidays can create marital and family conflict. Early on in their marriage, Ryan and Meghann committed to waking up Christmas…

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Holiday Traditions

When you think about celebrating the holidays, what comes to mind? Baking gingerbread men with your children? Taking the entire family to cut down the family tree the day after Thanksgiving? Or maybe, it’s the extended family progressive dinner that takes place every Christmas Eve. “Traditions are often what make the holidays meaningful,” says Dr….

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Helping with Holiday Grief

Lisa Henson had no reason to believe that this particular year would be any different than all the others. She had been through the usual life struggles, but overall things were going well. Then the unthinkable happened. In the spring of 1999, her brother Mike died in a terrible fishing accident one week before his…

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It’s the Thought that Counts?

Hard economic times might cause a lot more people to think “it’s the thought that counts.” Somehow through the years it seems like people’s definition of a meaningful gift has changed. For some, a gift isn’t considered meaningful unless it is new and/or expensive. Have you ever caught yourself wondering what to give those on…

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New Year, New You

In the movie Spanglish, the mother, played by Tea Leoni, is clearly obsessed with exercise and her looks. Her daughter, played by Sarah Steele, is not overweight, but clearly not thin enough to meet her mom’s standards. Leoni tries to motivate her daughter to lose weight by going on shopping sprees and buying her beautiful…

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Anger and the Holidays

Have you ever been to a family holiday celebration where everyone’s expected to be there, yet not all the family members really enjoy being together? Over the years, differing opinions about raising children, politics, faith, sibling rivalry and career competition/expectations wreak havoc on relationships. Instead of enjoying each other, people walk on eggshells and make small talk until…

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Retirement and Marriage

Neal and Pat Smith have been married for more than 50 years. For 38 of those years, the Smiths had a pretty consistent routine. Mr. Smith went to work and Mrs. Smith took care of the household chores and the children. Twelve years ago, Mr. Smith asked his wife what she thought about him retiring….

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Things I Wish I Had Known Before We Got Married

More than two million marriages take place annually in America. “Almost all couples anticipate ‘living happily ever after,’” according to Dr. Gary Chapman in his book, Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married. “No one gets married hoping to be miserable or to make their spouse miserable, yet the highest percentage of divorce…

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The Single Journey

Tabi Upton describes her life as footloose and fancy free when she was in her 20s. “I loved not being tied down to anyone or anything,” Upton said. “I lived in California for a while, worked for the Peace Corps in West Africa and went to graduate school in Colorado.” Upton had a plan. She…

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The Importance of Play for Adults

Imagine walking down the street and hearing laughter and hollering coming from around the corner.  Assuming it is a group of kids playing, you turn the corner and see adults, some of whom are blindfolded and being led around by other adults.  Balls are flying through the air as the blindfolded people are trying to tag other blindfolded…

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The Hook Up Culture

Prior to her current position as non-resident research associate at the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame, Donna Freitas was a professor. While teaching a dating and spirituality class she became intrigued with the hook up culture on college campuses. Her students often talked about how great…

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Helping Women Succeed in the Workplace

Susan Packard was 25 and working in a sales position at Home Box Office when she saw an opportunity to advance in the organization. “I went to my boss, Bill Grumbles, and told him I thought I was the right person for the position,” says Packard, co-founder of HGTV and author of Rules of the…

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Technology and Relationships

Have you ever thought about how today’s amazing technological advances affect relationships? There are very few places where you can’t be technologically connected in some way, shape or form. Calls can be taken whenever and wherever. It’s fairly inexpensive and there are no long distance fees. In real time, you can be in touch with…

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At-Risk for Divorce

Engaged couples spend endless amounts of time planning for their special day. In the excitement of wedding showers, choosing the flowers and the cake, and finding the perfect dress, some wonder if they can make it work. It isn’t that they necessarily question their love for each other, although some actually do, it’s more about…

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Infidelity and Forgiveness

Popular talk shows imply that everybody intentionally cheats in marriage. “In reality, most people don’t cheat,” says Kristina Coop Gordon, co-author of Getting Past the Affair. “Based on research, approximately 40 percent of married people cheat on their spouse. Studies indicate the person most likely to cheat is someone who is dissatisfied with their relationship…

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Avoiding Empty Nest Divorce

Why do some couples embrace the empty nest while others end up in divorce court? “There are lots of sides to the empty nest that are complicated,” said psychologist, Dr. Susan Hickman. “Many experience depression, feelings of sadness, anxiety, identity crisis and significant grief. I remember when our daughter loaded up the van and headed…

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Building Good Fences in Life

Just say the word boundaries and watch what happens to people’s faces. Some immediately become suspicious and negative while others believe they are a good thing. Why does this word elicit such opposing responses? “Many people view boundaries as a way to restrain them,” said relationship coach, Dr. David Banks. “They say they want to…

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Addiction and Marriage, Part 1

When David and Ellen (names changed to protect privacy) married, Ellen never suspected David might be an alcoholic. “We had a large time with friends and family,” Ellen says. “I knew he drank a lot, but it didn’t cause issues for us. I never felt unsafe. My life looked very normal to everyone around us….

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Addiction and Marriage, Part 2

Addiction and Marriage, Part 1 told of a married couple’s struggle with alcohol and its impact on their marriage. The story ended with Ellen resolving to find David (names changed to protect their privacy), who was drinking heavily, had quit his job and left town. She was going to bring him home and move forward…

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Warning Signs

Fighting the New Drug: Pornography, warned about some of the dangers of porn addiction. There is no question that pornography impacts the brain. Research says it’s more addictive than cocaine and a habit harder to break than heroin. The U.S. Justice Department believes that nine out of 10 children between 8 and 16 years old…

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Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse

What percentage of children who are victims of sexual abuse know their abuser?  Where might you find a person who sexually abuses children?  What percentage of child sexual abuse victims tell someone about the abuse?  What percentage of child sexual abuse reports by children are fabricated? This is certainly not a topic most people want…

Article

Fighting the New Drug: Pornography

This is the first in a series on pornography and its impact on marriages, families and communities. Numerous studies indicate that porn is a very significant problem in U.S. homes. The Justice Department estimates that nine out of 10 children between 8 and 16 years old have been exposed to porn online. At an American…

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Resources for Dealing with Porn Addiction

Perhaps you believe that you or someone you love is addicted to pornography. While the temptation may be great to keep it quiet, there are resources available to help with recovery. In her book, An Affair of the Mind, Laurie Hall says that, from her experience and research, there is no easy answer. As the…

Article

Does Truth Really Matter?

Trusted news anchor Brian Williams shared an amazing story about being in a helicopter when it was shot down during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The only problem with the story was the crew on the helicopter that was shot down had no recollection of Williams being on their helicopter or the others flying…

Article

Is Creating a Will Important?

Most people live as if tomorrow will come for sure. But what if something tragic happened and you were no longer here? Who would inherit your house, your collectibles that have been handed down from one generation to the next or your pictures? “Most people assume that if they are married and don’t have a…

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Tragedy and Change

July 16, 2015 is a day people in Chattanooga and beyond are not likely forget. It’s the day a single gunman opened fire on unarmed military personnel at two different locations; five died. Many of us were glued to televisions and social media for hours, unable to pull ourselves away from the unfolding story. One…

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Helping Women Understand Men

Shaunti Feldhahn is a Harvard-educated analyst who wants to enable men and women to have healthy, long-lasting marriages. “I travel a lot,” says Feldhahn. “People frequently ask me what I do, and my usual response is: ‘I help women understand men.’ The men usually laugh and say, ‘You know, we really aren’t that complicated.’” Feldhahn’s…

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“I Do” is Complicated

A focus group of millennial women who were currently living with their boyfriends were recently interviewed regarding their relationship, their thoughts about marriage and how cohabitation differs from marriage. Only one of the six women had been previously married. Some had children with their current boyfriend; others brought children into the relationship. They discussed questions…

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What Happens in Vegas…

What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas when it comes to premarital experiences and future marital quality among today’s young adults. The relationship sequence these days goes something like – sex, cohabitation and sometimes children before marriage.  With 80 percent of young adults reporting that marriage is an important part of their life…

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Can Marriage Survive an Affair?

Sally, an outdoor enthusiast, is happily married to her husband, Sam, who is into computers.* Instead of nagging Sam about not being outside with her, Sally joined a weekly hiking club to meet her need to experience the great outdoors. Sally made lots of new friends. On hikes they would talk about kids, spouses, etc. While Sally loves Sam,…

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Seasons of a Marriage

Marriage expert and creator of divorcebusting.com, Michele Weiner-Davis, and her husband Jim have been married for more than 30 years.  Since Weiner-Davis is an expert, one might assume being married for almost four decades would be easy. “Expert or not, marriage is hard work,” said Weiner-Davis.  “At times you consider quitting.  Creating a lasting marriage is a…

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How Marriage Affects the Economy

Research conducted by Gallup from January to September 2013 tracking 130,000 adults reveals that married Americans tend to have an above average income, which leads to more spending, which in turn stimulates the economy. In fact, married Americans spend more than those in any other marital status category across age groups. Americans who have never…

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