Fwd: NARME Leadership Summit Speakers and More!/Health and Marriage: The Cortisol Connection

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Nat'l Assoc. for Relationship & Marriage Education (NARME) <julie@narme.org>
Date: Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 3:27 PM
Subject: NARME Leadership Summit Speakers and More!/Health and Marriage: The Cortisol Connection
To: billcoffin68@gmail.com

In This Issue
As I discussed in my last blog post, couples marrying today still face a substantial lifetime risk of divorce. Even if the risk drops to around 40 percent, that's a lot of divorce. Read More
Why 'Fifty Shades' Could Give Dangerous Message to Teens
Coming to a theater near you is Hollywood's long-awaited release of "Fifty Shades of Grey" - a movie that will undoubtedly bring the public's fascination with the original novel's tales of sadomasochism and bondage to a veritable climax.

 Read More 

9 Things Successful Couples Do Differently
1. They're not afraid to fight.
Oh yeah, successful couples definitely fight. Definitely. And they aren't afraid of it one bit. Because what successful couples know that most others don't is that fighting makes the little things go away. Read More

Smartphone App to Reduce Family Violence for Teens

Jacqueline's boyfriend was a great guy, her teen friends all crowed. Handsome, popular, outgoing. What a catch. She felt lucky.
Bad marriages can be sickening. Most people don't have to be convinced of this, but for those who do, several decades of studies offer plenty of proof. Even so, very little is known about exactly how marriage quality affects health.   Read More 
Hard Times for Working-Class America as Midlevel jobs, Marriage Both Hit Decline
Andrew J. Cherlin believes the American working class - made up of those with a high school diploma but no college degree - is falling on very hard times - a complicated combination of lack of jobs that provide a wage adequate to support family and cultural changes that include a decline in marriage among all but the college-educated. Read More 
In 1938 Harvard University began following 268 male undergraduate students and kicked off the longest-running longitudinal studies of human development in history. Read More 
Save the Dates for Upcoming NARME Webinars you Won't Want to Miss!
  • March 18th - Discernment Counseling for Couples on the Brink with Dr. Bill Doherty!
  • April 15th - Sneak Peek Behind the Scenes of the NARME Leadership Summit!
  • May 20th - Dr. Dan Siegel - The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are   
All Things Leadership Summit
Additional 5th Annual NARME Leadership Summit Speakers Announced!

Want to move your organization and your team to the level of Leadership that keeps you at the top of the game?  Don't miss the NARME Leadership Summit this June in Atlanta! The Summit will present a stellar speaker line-up of amazing people both in and out of our healthy marriage and relationship field!


Drs. Philip and Carolyn Cowan will be speaking on  Marrying Marriage and Fatherhood


Carolyn Pape Cowan, Professor of Psychology, Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley, is co-director of 3 longitudinal preventive intervention studies, and has published widely in the literatures on couple relationships, family transitions, father involvement, and preventive intervention. Dr. Cowan is co-editor of Fatherhood today: Men's changing role in the family (Wiley, 1988) and The family context of parenting in the child's adaptation to school Erlbaum, 2005) and co-author of When partners become parents: The big life change for couples (Erlbaum, 2000). Along with Marsha Kline Pruett and Kyle Pruett, Carolyn and Philip Cowan have been evaluating family interventions in the U.S., Canada, and most recently, the U.K.


Philip A. Cowan, Professor of Psychology, Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, served as Director of the Clinical Psychology Program and the Institute of Human Development. He has authored numerous scientific articles and Piaget with Feeling (Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1978), co-authored When partners become parents: The big life change for couples (Erlbaum, 2000), and co-edited four books and monographs, including Family Transitions (Erlbaum, 1991), and The family context of parenting in the child's adaptation to school (Erlbaum, 2005). Along with Marsha Kline Pruett and Kyle Pruett, Philip and Carolyn Cowan have been evaluating family interventions in the U.S., Canada, and most recently, the U.K.


Dr. Robert Franklin will speak on Crisis in the Village


Dr. Robert Franklin is the James T. and Berta R. Laney Professor of Moral Leadership at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.  He is president emeritus of Morehouse College where he served as the 10th president of the nation's largest private, liberal arts college for men.  He is the author of a number of books including Crisis in the Village: Restoring Hope in African American Communities.  He provides weekly commentary for the NPR program All Things Considered and for Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting Television.  Dr. Franklin graduated from Morehouse with a degree in political science and religion.  He holds ordination in two Christian denominations.  He earned a master of divinity degree in Christian social ethics and pastoral care from Harvard Divinity School and a doctorate in ethics and society and religion and the social sciences from the University of Chicago 


For more information about our speakers, click here.

NARME Leadership Summit Information

Leadership Summit Registration will open the first of March.


Mark your calendars! Looking forward to seeing you.  


The Summit Rate Sheet as well as hotel information and more is available on The 5th Annual NARME Leadership Summit page.


Several people have called asking questions about the Leadership Summit so we thought we would answer them here just in case you were wondering the same things.


Question: Is the Leadership Summit for everybody?


Answer:  If you are working to strengthening families, YES! We want everybody to come to the Summit.  The focus of this Summit is on how all of us can further the family strengthening movement.  Whether you have a federal grant, state grant or no grant funding at all,  everyone of us should be positioning for the future.  The plenary sessions and workshops are designed to help you personally and professionally move to the next level.


Question:  Will there be training in specific curricula at the Summit?


Answer: Because so many have been trained in curricula and some are in a state of transition, the NARME Board thought it best to make this gathering different from the past.  The goal is to help people/organizations be positioned for the future  - a rising tide lifts all boats.  The plenary sessions and workshops are being delivered by national thought leaders who will focus on areas that are designed to challenge you and be catalytic in nature.  We MUST galvanize as a movement.  We will return to the regular conference format in 2016.

How well do you know your significant other?

Not well enough, at least according to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal. More and more people are apparently employing private investigators to look into the backgrounds of their fiancés in order to decide whether to tie the knot. Read More 

Stay Connected

Like us on Facebook

Interested in joining NARME?

Nat'l Assoc. for Relationship & Marriage Education (NARME) |info@narme.org  | http://www.narme.org
P.O. Box 14946
Tallahassee, FL 32317

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Nat'l Assoc. for Relationship & Marriage Education (NARME) | P.O. Box 14946 | Tallahassee | FL | 32317

Fwd: Love Notes Training / Fifty Shades - Feb 2015

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Smartmarriages <smartmarriages@lists101.his.com>
Date: Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 7:03 PM
Subject: Love Notes Training / Fifty Shades - Feb 2015
To: List <smartmarriages@lists101.his.com>

- Love Notes Training, March 9 & 10, DC area
The Dibble Institute and the National Fatherhood Initiative invite you to a two-day, open to the public, training for Love Notes v2.0 in Germantown, MD, (just outside Washington, DC) March 9 – 10. This research based program is designed for those working with at-risk teens, young adults and young parents in the following settings: • Responsible Fatherhood • Pregnancy Prevention • Sexual Assault Prevention • Corrections and Re-entry • Foster Care and Independent Living • TRIO-Upward Bound • Runaway and Homeless Youth • Work Preparation • Domestic/Dating Violence • Parenting Young Adults • Healthy Relationships $375 for training and $599 for curriculum starter set (Instructor Manual and 10 student workbooks).  Includes 14 hours of training designed to make you feel comfortable and confident in teaching Love Notes to your target audience.
For more information and to register go to http://tinyurl.com/kvdhqgr

Fwd: Weekly Update of UK Marriage News - No 15.07

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dave and Liz Percival <dave@2-in-2-1.co.uk>
Date: Mon, Feb 16, 2015 at 9:01 AM
Subject: Weekly Update of UK Marriage News - No 15.07
To: "info@2-in-2-1.co.uk" <info@2-in-2-1.co.uk>

Welcome to this week’s UK Marriage News



·         Labour 'to boost kinship care support'

·         Married couples are top of the wellbeing league: Third of husbands and wives rate their life satisfaction at top of Cameron's happiness scale

·         Rising divorce rate prompts call for college courses in marriage in China


Government and Political

·         Labour 'to boost kinship care support'

The move is one of a number of proposals to boost support for kinship carers and special guardians that a Labour government would introduce if elected in May reports CYPNow. Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said local authorities need to do more to investigate the potential for children who cannot live with their parents to stay with grandparents or other extended family members.


The party wants to see a strengthening of pre-proceedings guidance for vulnerable children so that social workers “explore early” the potential for them to be brought up by other members of the family, and that they are “properly consulted” when a child is at risk. It wants to see more family group conferences convened – where professionals and family members work together to agree a future care plan that is in the best interests of the child – and said it would work with courts, local authorities and charities to update best practice on when and how they should be used. New guidance on helping to establish peer support groups for kinship carers will also be produced for local authorities, based on existing good work in Milton Keynes, Worcestershire and Peterborough.


Other measures announced by Hunt today include ensuring children cared for through kinship arrangements and special guardianships are given the same priority as looked-after children in the school admissions process. Labour said this would see nearly 5,000 children cared for under special guardianship orders be given access to the best performing schools. In addition, the party reiterated its pledge to scrap the spare room supplement, known as the bedroom tax, which it said is creating additional hardship for many kinship carers.


Hunt said: “Labour recognises that the country will only succeed if we support modern families – which now come in many different forms – to cope with the pressures of modern life. “Nowhere is this truer than for children from disadvantaged backgrounds – those who have been denied the best start in life. It means having the right support available for families when parents cannot look after their kids. It means recognising the ties of love which means other family members go to extraordinary lengths to provide care for vulnerable children and young people. And it means helping grandparents and other carers who are taking on the responsibility of a young relative and to ensure that vulnerable children are given access to great schools.”


Cathy Ashley, chief executive of Family Rights Group, said: “Kinship carers go to enormous lengths, often at considerable personal cost, to care for children who cannot live with their parents, and have often previously suffered considerable trauma or tragedy. It is essential that they be given greater support, including children in kinship care being given the highest priority in the school admissions system.”


Sam Smethers, chief executive of Grandparents Plus, added: “If we want to prevent children ending up in care unnecessarily and support them properly, the new government will need to require local authorities to consider the wider family first, ensure support is based on the needs of the child not their legal status and give kinship carers similar rights and entitlements as those who adopt.”


It is estimated that there are between 200,000 and 300,000 children currently living in kinship care arrangements.


Research and Public Opinion

·         Married couples are top of the wellbeing league: Third of husbands and wives rate their life satisfaction at top of Cameron's happiness scale

Married people have a much greater chance of happiness than others, according to David Cameron’s survey of the nation’s wellbeing reports the Daily Mail. Almost a third of husbands and wives rate their level of life satisfaction at the very top of the Prime Minister’s ten-point happiness scale, figures published yesterday show. Just over a quarter of people living with a partner mark their life satisfaction that highly. Even those who were once married and lost their partners were happier than cohabitees, the figures showed, with more widows and widowers rating themselves at the top of the wellbeing table than cohabitees.


The latest evidence of the benefits of marriage comes in the happiness survey, which was introduced to help guide Government policy and is conducted by the Office for National Statistics.


The survey on satisfaction by marital status, in which people mark their own wellbeing on a scale of nought to ten, found 32.2 per cent of married people score themselves at nine or ten. This compares with an average of 8.2 for the population as a whole. Some 26.1 per cent of cohabitees rate themselves at nine and ten, which is classed by the ONS as a ‘very high’ satisfaction level.  Among widows and widowers, 27 per cent give themselves the highest mark.


Divorcees emerged as the least satisfied, with only 18.4 per cent scoring themselves highly – lower than those who are single, of whom 20.7 per cent rate themselves as nine or ten. Married people were also the least likely to say they have low life satisfaction. Just 3.4 per cent rated themselves at nought to four, compared with 3.9 per cent of cohabitees, 6.9 per cent of singles, 8.1 per cent of widows, and 11.9 per cent of divorcees.


The findings come at a time of growing pressure on Mr Cameron to do more to encourage marriage. A minor tax break for less well-off married couples, worth £3.85 a week to 1.6million people, is to be introduced in April, but critics have described it as ‘ridiculous’ and ‘no incentive to marry’.


An overwhelming weight of evidence already suggests those who marry are much more likely to prosper than those who do not, and their children will be healthier and do better in school.


Ruth Sutherland of the Relate charity said of the latest figures: ‘This is great news, showing that marriage remains a really important institution for many.’


Harry Benson of the Marriage Foundation think-tank urged the Prime Minister to take notice of the results. He said: ‘The Government spends £46billion every year dealing with the fallout from broken relationships – half as much as the education budget and more than it spends on defence – and yet we have no policy on family breakdown. Family breakdown is driven by the trend away from marriage.’


The ONS also found the biggest problem faced by families was money, with nearly two out of three people, or 62 per cent, saying money worries was the worst strain on a relationship. Working long hours was cited as a strain by 40 per cent, while 36 per cent said infidelity was a difficulty. Meanwhile one in eight – or 13 per cent – of adults said they have no one they can rely on or turn to when they are in trouble.


The survey also found that 64 per cent of people believed they have good relations with their boss, compared with 96 per cent of managers who said they had very good relations with their employees.


·         Safeguarding Teenage Intimate Relationships

It is perhaps telling that all the publicity this week has been on 50 Shades of Grey, rather than on these figures which illustrate how endemic abusive relationships already are.


NSPCC has published research conducted by StiritUp, a collaborative research project based in five European countries (England, Norway, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Italy) on Safeguarding Teenage Intimate Relationships. The latest briefing paper is on young people’s perspectives on interpersonal violence and abuse in intimate relationships. Key points include:

·         In all five countries, online and offline control and surveillance was accepted as normal by many young people

·         Verbal abuse was extensive and tolerated by many young people interviewed; physical violence was also normalised, especially when alcohol was involved

·         Offline sexual pressure was extensive for some young women in all five countries and was normalised to the extent that rape was sometimes not recognised

·         Young people in four countries had sent sexual images of themselves and in England in particular this was perceived as normal behaviour

·         Using social networking as a means of perpetrating abuse intensified the impact

·         Impact varied according to gender with young women reporting substantially more harmful impact than young men


·         Sexual satisfaction drops by a third after five years together

UK couples are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with their sex lives as their relationships progress, according to figures released this Valentine's Day by Relate. A YouGov survey of over 5000 people, commissioned by Relate, found that those who have been with their partners five years or more are less satisfied with their sex lives than those who have been together for less than five years.  Three quarters (76%) of people surveyed who have been in a relationship for up to four years report being very or fairly satisfied with their sex lives, dropping to just 54% of those who had been together for five years or more - a decrease of almost a third (29%).


Peter Saddington, Relate Counsellor and Sex Therapist, said: Most couples can enjoy a fulfilling sex life no matter how long they've been together, but we all know that life happens and sex can be pushed to the bottom of our priorities.  Having children, being at the peak of your career, dealing with medical issues or coping with depression can all affect libido, but finding time for intimacy is really important. It can be tempting for couples to compare their sex lives to when they first got together but often this isn't realistic. You can be having sex less frequently, for example, or without having full sex every time, and still feel sexually fulfilled.  What is vital is that you keep the communication channels open and remain tactile with one another.  If you're still having problems, it may be worth seeing a sex therapist who can help you to get that spark back."


The same survey found that nearly twice as many men (31%) report being sexually dissatisfied as women (18%). This correlates with data from Relate's national phone line which shows men are most likely to get in touch about issues relating to sex (57% of calls about sex are from men), whereas more women get in touch about issues relating to young people (84% of calls are from women) and family (76% from women).


Peter said: "In Relate's sex therapy services, we tend to see a lot of couples as well as individual men who are experiencing issues such as premature ejaculation and erectile problems.  Men often express their feelings through sex so when the physical side of things is failing, some men can think the whole relationship is on the rocks."


·         Are Americans Just Delaying Marriage—or Forgoing It Altogether?

Those who worry about Americans’ declining likelihood of being married are often reminded that plenty of single people are merely delaying marriage, not deliberately avoiding it altogether says an article from IFS. Some are in satisfying relationships but are putting off marriage while they complete their educations or seek more stable employment; others simply haven’t met the right person yet. More than half of never-married adults want to marry someday, and doubtless many of them will fulfil that desire—they’ll just tie the knot a bit later in life than their parents and grandparents did.


All of this is true. Yet analysis of historical marriage patterns suggests that the decline of marriage is probably not just about delaying marriage. It also means fewer Americans will ever marry. As University of Minnesota demographer Steven Ruggles documents in a recent working paper, across most of the past century, each birth cohort of Americans has been less likely to marry than the preceding cohort, and the percentage of a group married by age 20 to 24 has almost always been a reliable predictor of how many will be married by the time the group reaches age 40 to 44.


The figures are striking: By fitting marriage curves derived from historical data, Goldstein and Kenney (2001) concluded that about 90% of younger cohorts will eventually marry. Since then, however, the young have continued to diverge sharply from historical marriage patterns, and Goldstein and Kenny’s predictions do not seem to be coming true. In the context of such rapid change, there is no guarantee that the old marriage models still apply. People do not have unlimited opportunities to marry, so a delay in marriage necessarily increases the chances that marriage will not occur.


Empirically, it is unusual for a cohort to forgo marriage early on but then catch up in later life. Among the fifteen birth cohorts of women I have reconstructed for persons born between 1825 and 1965, there is only one in which the percentage married at age 20-24 did not accurately predict the percentage who had married by age 40-44. That exceptional birth cohort was born between 1915 and 1919; they reached age 18 between 1933 and 1938 and reached age 24 between 1939 and 1943. Under the adverse conditions of depression and war during their prime marrying years, many of these women delayed marriage. In the end, however, they did catch up; only 6% had never married by the time they reached 40-44 years old in the postwar years. If this cohort had behaved like all the others, their non-marriage would have been about 50% higher. There was no catch-up for the other 14 cohorts I examined: in all other periods, the percentage ever married at age 20-24 (with a log transformation) predicts almost perfectly the percentage never married by age 40-44.


Although, as he adds, “we have no way of telling whether this simple relationship will hold true in the future,” to my mind there’s little reason to expect today’s young people to buck the prevailing trend and end up marrying at historically normal rates.


Is that such a bad thing? Yes and no. No, because a major factor behind the decline of marriage is an increase in economic opportunity for women. It is obviously good that women can avoid poverty and achieve many of their goals in life without getting married. And it’s a good thing that those who do not wish to marry, for whatever reason, no longer face social ostracism.


On the other hand, the decline of marriage means adults will be poorer, less healthy, and less happy on average. In addition, many people forgoing marriage are still having children, so the decline of marriage means an increasing proportion of children will experience family instability and all its attendant risks. But beyond these utilitarian reasons, the fact that fewer and fewer Americans are able to achieve the widely shared dream of a lifelong marriage is simply tragic.


·         How a wedding engagement changes Twitter feeds

A researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology has used Twitter as a lens to look into the lives of nearly 1,000 people who used the site to announce their wedding engagement reports Science Daily. By comparing tweets before and after, the study was able to determine how people changed their online personas following the proposal. Some differences were split along gender lines. Others identified how people alter the words they use on Twitter after they are engaged.


The study followed 923 people who used "#engaged" to announce in 2011. The research team then looked at each person's tweets in the nine-month period before the engagement and 12 months afterward (2 million total tweets). They were also compared to a random sampling of tweeters during the same time frame (12 million tweets).


After people got engaged, tweets with the word "I" or "me" dropped by 69 percent. They were replaced with "we" and "us." There was barely any change within the control group. "People began to paint themselves as a couple, rather than as individuals," said Munmun de Choudhury, a Georgia Tech associate professor in the School of Interactive Computing who led the study. "They're going through a major change in life, and it shows on social media as they adapt to society's expectations of their marital identity."


Similarly, tweets using familial words such as "future-in-laws" and "children" jumped by 219 percent after the proposal (although men tended to wait until after marriage to tweet family-based words).


The study also noticed that men and women gush about each other differently. The most frequent terms used by females when tweeting about their significant other were tied to emotion (for example, they "love" their "wonderful" fiancé). Men are more likely to use physical descriptors such as sexy, beautiful or gorgeous when talking about their fiancée.


De Choudhury and co-author Michael Massimi also noticed that engaged people are much more likely to think and tweet about the future. Instead of using past-tense verbs, future-tense verbs surged by 62 percent after engagement. "People are more likely to post that they 'are going on a date night tonight' rather than tweeting that they already did so," said Massimi, a former postdoctoral fellow at Microsoft Research Cambridge. "They're looking forward to the future in their real lives and boasting about it on social media too."


This is the first empirical study of engagement in social media. It centred on the anthropological concept of liminality -- a phase people undergo when they transition from one role in society to another. "Twitter can be a powerful tool that can mirror our thoughts and how we're actually feeling," said de Choudhury, who has done similar social media studies on mothers and postpartum depression. "This isn't based on what they told us they did. It's a reliable record ¬- it's what they actually did."


·         Love online is about being real, not perfect

How you fill out an online profile makes a big difference in how you're seen by others says Science Daily. New research shows it is better to be real with your information than trying to be perfect. People using online dating services are searching for a perfect match, but not a perfect person.


In fact, researchers at the University of Iowa say people who are looking for love online are less apt to trust a person with a flashy profile, preferring instead a potential partner who appears not only successful, but humble and real as well. "We found people want to contact a person who appears to be accurate in what they are saying about themselves online," says Andy High, assistant professor in the University of Iowa's Department of Communication Studies and corresponding author of the study. "It's tough when it comes to dating profiles because we want someone who seems like an amazing person, but we also hopefully will have a relationship with this individual, so we want them to exist."


As many as one in 10 Americans age 18 and older use online dating sites or a mobile dating app -- according to a 2013 study by the Pew Research Centre. High and Crystal Wotipka, lead author of the study and graduate teaching assistant in the UI's Department of Communication Studies, wanted to know how people who use these sites respond to different ways people present themselves online.


What they discovered is most people in their study were drawn to individuals whose profiles were positive but not over-the-top glowing. More important, however, participants preferred people whose online persona could be clearly traced to a real person. That means people want details, not broad generalities, especially about where a prospective love interest works and what he or she does for a living.


"Instead of just saying, 'I write a blog,' name the blog and encourage people to check it out," High says. "If you work for a company, name the company. … If you can name something or provide people with a link to get there, then do it. The idea is the viewer will think this is a real person," he adds.


High and Wotipka presented their preliminary findings in November 2014 at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association. They plan to submit a paper to a peer-reviewed journal in the spring of 2015.


Personal profiles are not just for romantic pursuit. People create profiles for networking, advancement, and business opportunities, through sites such as the business-oriented social networking service LinkedIn. As of November 2014, 332 million people had LinkedIn profiles.


High says previous research on online dating has focused on how people present themselves in their profiles. Those studies found that some people tend to exaggerate or lie about themselves and their accomplishments. High and Wotipka took a different tack in this study, studying online dating from the point of view of the person sorting through the profiles. "We wondered, 'What do people like in a dating profile?'" Wotipka says. "'Whom are they most likely to contact? Whom are they most interested in meeting?'"


To do this, they created eight online dating profiles -- four men and four women -- with various combinations of two perspectives. One perspective is called "Selective Self-Presentation," or what the researchers refer to as SSP, which is a profile that highlights only what's "good" about a person and downplays the rest. The other is called "Warranting," which is a profile that contains information easily traced to a real person.


Once the profiles were created in a template from OKCupid -- a free, online dating service -- they were shown to 317 adults who said they were using or had used an online dating service. There were 150 men and 167 women, and the mean age was 40. Participants were asked to judge the profiles and decide which ones they would contact. Researchers expected that profiles that were presented with high selective self-presentation -- those who sounded perfect -- and high warranting -- those who provided specifics that could be traced to a real person -- would be the most popular.


They were wrong. "I thought people would think, 'Not only is this person the greatest in the world, but they're real, too. Wow!' but I was wrong," Wotipka says. "It was the low SSP" and high warranting "that ended up winning out." In other words, people were turned off by profiles that sounded too good to be true. This was especially true for viewers who said they preferred online social interaction. Researchers found the more specific information a profile contained that could be traced to a real person, the more the viewer trusted the profile. "Users of online dating sites are aware that people misrepresent themselves, and inaccurate profiles are one of the biggest drawbacks to using online dating sites," the study says.


High says the key to creating an attractive online dating profile is balance. "You want to balance all that is wonderful about yourself with some things that aren't negative, but more humble or realistic about yourself. "It's important to put your best foot forward," he adds, "but maybe not in your best pair of shoes."


Overseas News

·         Rising divorce rate prompts call for college courses in marriage in China

Universities and colleges in China should provide courses on marriage and family to prepare young people for the complexities of married life, said a member of Jiangsu province's political consultative conference reports ecns.cn. "The divorce rate in the province is increasing rapidly, and more Chinese young people choose wealth instead of love in marriage," said Qian Suomei, who is also the chairman of Jiangsu Women's Federation in Nantong.


"According to a survey just released by the federation, 44.7 percent of women under 25 in Jiangsu said they will marry wealthy men they don't love instead of poor ones they love," Qian said. "Such an unhealthy philosophy has no doubt led to the high divorce rate among the young."


According to the federation, more than 70 percent of divorced couples are aged 20 to 40. Figures from China's Ministry of Civil Affairs show the country's divorce rate has been increasing from around 0.13 percent in 2004 to 0.26 percent in 2013. The number of couples divorcing in 2013 was 3.5 million, up 12.8 percent from the previous year.


"People's happiness is not always connected with the wealth," said Qian. "A happy marriage and a harmonious family are very important for many people's happiness. That's the reason why I suggested college students have courses to understand marriage better."


Qian also suggested that couples should take marriage and family lessons arranged by the Department of Civil Affairs to learn how to maintain a family and should not be allowed to get married before passing related tests.


Sun Xiaomei, a professor specializing in marriage and women's studies at China Women's University in Beijing, said the long absence of family education in China has contributed greatly to the increase in the divorce rate and other family issues.


"Instead of having short-term courses shortly before getting married, people should take family courses that begin in primary school," said Sun. "It will help people understand what marriage is and how to cope with difficulties families face. The systematic education on nutrition, dressing, financing and other factors relating to family life can also help people maintain a healthy marriage."


Sun added that she and 10 colleagues from China Women's University are conducting seminars to compile the country's first family course textbook for senior high school students.


[Stephen Stacey has been doing this in Finland for some time, based on his book “Understanding marriage: Partners, Friends, Lovers” Ed]


Partner News

·         Time for Marriage launches innovative Just Married course

This National Marriage Week, Time for Marriage (TfM) is launching a course to help newly weds build strong marriages. This comes in response to statistics that show marriage breakdown peaks between four and eight years, with 13 couples getting divorced every hour, in England and Wales.


The weekend course is designed for couples married for two years or less. It will focus on some of the key issues experienced early on, including the emotional ‘baggage’ couples bring into their new relationship. ‘How well couples recognise and deal with this baggage in the early years can have a big effect on the marriage relationship in subsequent years,’ says Andy Banes, joint TfM executive director. TfM believes this type of course is a first in Christian marriage ministry.


Newly-weds Will (32) and Debbie Elliot (37), who took part in TfM’s course when they had been married for eight months, say the course ‘gave us the chance to build an excellent marriage, not just an ok one’. Debbie, whose first marriage was abusive, says she and Will found the first few months of marriage harder than they expected: ‘I brought insecurities and mistrust from my first marriage, and it caused arguments.’ Will, who also struggled with issues of trust, says the course ‘helped us get things in perspective, so we could deal with problems without negative emotions kicking in’.


With nearly one-third of UK engagements taking place on Valentine’s Day, TfM wants couples to see the importance of building a healthy relationship from their wedding day onwards. ‘Doing our Time for Marriage – Just Married course is an ideal way for couples to strengthen and enrich their marriage before they start a family, with all the added stresses and strains that come from raising children,’ says Fiona Banes, joint TfM executive director. ‘Marriage preparation courses are valuable, but couples are often feeling too “loved up” and caught up in the wedding whirl to really imagine there might be some important groundwork to do, to make their marriage the best it can be.’


Andy and Fiona speak from personal experience: just six months into married life, they found that their relationship was harder work than they had anticipated. Four years and two children later, the cracks became so deep that they discussed divorce. ‘Going on a Time for Marriage weekend helped us to appreciate God’s plan for our marriage and to understand each other much better,’ Fiona says. ‘We could forgive past hurts and share a hope for the future. We’ve now been married for 22 years.’


‘Couples come on our courses on average at about ten years of marriage, but so often they tell us they wish they’d done this sooner in their married life. We want to make that happen for couples with our Just Married course,’ says Andy.


TfM’s residential courses are led by trained teaching couples, who draw on personal examples of their own early years of marriage. The aim of TfM’s biblically based teaching is ‘allow space for God to move couples forwards in each area of their relationship’.



The Bishops' Conference of England and Wales' new dedicated marriage and family life website signposts news, information and sources of support for marriage and family life across the Catholic community in England and Wales. There are features and resources on marriage, family ministry, parenting, diocesan work, national project work and much more.....


New Books, Resources and materials

·         To fall in love with anyone, Do This

“More than 20 years ago, the psychologist Arthur Aron succeeded in making two strangers fall in love in his laboratory. Last summer, I applied his technique in my own life, which is how I found myself standing on a bridge at midnight, staring into a man’s eyes for exactly four minutes.


Let me explain. Earlier in the evening, that man had said: “I suspect, given a few commonalities, you could fall in love with anyone. If so, how do you choose someone?” He was a university acquaintance I occasionally ran into at the climbing gym and had thought, “What if?” I had gotten a glimpse into his days on Instagram. But this was the first time we had hung out one-on-one.


‘Actually, psychologists have tried making people fall in love,’ I said, remembering Dr. Aron’s study. ‘It’s fascinating. I’ve always wanted to try it.’”


So begins an article in the NY Times that I found fascinating. It relates to work by Dr Arthur Aron, and includes a free downloadable App of the 36 questions.


·         Fatherhood and mental illness

Researchers have traditionally paid little attention to the intersections between men’s mental illness and family life. Recently, however, this has been changing. This paper from AIFS provides practitioners and policy-makers with a broad overview of some of the key issues identified in the growing literature on paternal mental illness.


Key messages:

·         Compared to many other life stages, the transition to fatherhood and the early years of childrearing are periods in which men are at a substantially increased risk of experiencing psychological distress.

·         The children of men with a mental illness are more likely than other children to experience internalising (i.e., emotional) and externalising (i.e., behavioural) problems, as well as to be diagnosed with a mental illness themselves.

·         Parenting behaviour is one of the mechanisms by which parental mental illness may translate into problem outcomes in children. Fathers with a mental illness are more likely than other fathers to show low levels of parental engagement, warmth and appropriate monitoring.

·         The scarce qualitative literature exploring fathers' experiences of mental illness suggests that fatherhood is central to the image many men have of themselves - their experience of mental illness and their paternal identity are inextricably linked.

·         Stigma is a significant source of suffering for many people with mental health concerns. Fathers with a mental illness can be subject to unique forms of stigma, which can influence their perceptions and experiences in a number of ways.

·         Psychiatric and welfare service providers in Australia and internationally have often struggled to effectively engage fathers, either failing to see men as members of a family unit, or failing to offer services tailored to their specific needs.


·         Errata

Last week we carried an article concerning 50 Shades of Grey which we erroneously attributed to Families First. The Mother’s Union contacted us to point out that Families First is the title of their international magazine, and that the correct attribution is to Family First of New Zealand. Our apologies to all concerned


Forthcoming conferences and events

·         Forthcoming conferences

Details of all forthcoming conferences can always be found under our listing at 2-in-2-1


Consultations and Campaigns

Below is our running list of current and recent consultations and campaigns. New items or those requiring action are highlighted. The Reference numbers are to the newsletter where we covered the subject.


Soap Box!!

·         50 radiant colours

I’m sure the marketing people behind the 50 Shades film will be rubbing their hands together in glee – the worldwide hype has clearly worked and people have flocked to the box office to see the film, the sales of sex toys have risen dramatically, and B&Q staff have been told to expect a surge in demand for masking tape and rope. [The 2-in-2-1 office already has plenty of stock – but mainly for decorating and tree-felling – are these major topics in the film?? Ed]. Many articles and blogs have been written, protests held, and doubtless discussions held on the pro’s and con’s.


And the tragedy behind this – that the appalling reality of abuse and unhealthy attitudes and sexual practices among young people around the world are completely ignored in the mainstream press. Here are figures from NSPCC on young people’s perspectives on interpersonal violence and abuse in intimate relationships published this week:

·         In all five countries, online and offline control and surveillance was accepted as normal by many young people

·         Verbal abuse was extensive and tolerated by many young people interviewed; physical violence was also normalised, especially when alcohol was involved

·         Offline sexual pressure was extensive for some young women in all five countries and was normalised to the extent that rape was sometimes not recognised

·         Young people in four countries had sent sexual images of themselves and in England in particular this was perceived as normal behaviour

·         Using social networking as a means of perpetrating abuse intensified the impact

·         Impact varied according to gender with young women reporting substantially more harmful impact than young men


As a society we have an extraordinary double standard. On the one hand we gorge ourselves on the stories and clips that lionise 50 shades, yet ignore the ways we are teaching our young people to behave; we are close to having vigilante groups “outing” paedophiles for watching child porn in the privacy of their own homes, yet will flock en masse to watch BDSM with an innocent young girl in the cinema. We’ll scream in outrage at sexual abuse in Rotherham, and then pop down to B&Q for some masking tape…..


To be honest I cannot even begin to get my head round how such trends in society can be stemmed – I feel rather like I think I would confronted by an avalanche or a huge landslide – it is both mesmerising and terrifying at the same time.


I rather suspect that the only answer is to hunker down, and pray that the worst passes over. What do I mean by that? Well I suspect that there will be some families where the promises of marriage are respected, the ideas of sex being a glorious celebration of full relational intimacy are held to, and where real care, respect and love are practiced. Such families will face huge external pressures from their peers, will be laughed at as “unfashionable” or “out of touch” with modern culture – yet oddly they will flourish. Gradually they will produce well-adjusted children who flourish academically, intellectually, and emotionally – who grow stronger both because they hold a strong internal moral compass, and because their backgrounds will enable them to articulate why they are better placed to survive the maelstrom around them.


They will have the vision to see the beauty in those around them, 50 radiant colours instead of 50 shades of grey, and will articulate a vision of a world where sex and relationships fit into an organic, wholesome, healthy set of values and choices, where love and dedication replace exploitation and abuse.


Unless I cling to such a vision I risk simply being swept away in the mess that is engulfing us.




Best wishes,

The 2-in-2-1 Team


Technical Stuff


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Fwd: Be My Valentine! FREE FILM TODAY ONLY

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: After Happily Ever After <lunaparkproductions@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, Feb 14, 2015 at 12:46 PM
Subject: Be My Valentine! FREE FILM TODAY ONLY
To: billcoffin68@gmail.com






A little Valentine's gift just for you...




After Happily Ever After





with love from









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Fwd: Happy Valentine's Day and News from Natl Marriage Week

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: National Marriage Week USA <sheila@nationalmarriageweekusa.org>
Date: Sat, Feb 14, 2015 at 12:42 PM
Subject: Happy Valentine's Day and News from Natl Marriage Week
To: billcoffin68@gmail.com


Hope you have a Great Date Night tonight! Still lots going on during this event week, which ends today!

My National Marriage Week Fox News COMMENTARY: "For Valentine's Week, How about Relationship Skills for our Nation's Children?"

Encouraging interview on TV's Global News EWTN Network

NEW! An Online Couples Retreat for Busy Couples!  Featuring one couple's marriage on Catholic News Network TV, specifically for National Marriage Week  

The Daily Signal article: "Marriage Increases Well Being"

Statement from U.S. House of Representatives in Support of National Marriage Week

Hear some great advice from a 60 year marriage. Hear about falling in love, fighting fair and outhouses, having and losing children, what kept them together.

PLUS LOTS and LOTS of local events, blogs, and local news!

Thank you to EVERYONE who has made this a great event week...thank you for all your efforts to strengthen marriage.

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!
Sheila Weber
Executive Director, National Marriage Week USA (Feb. 7-14)

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Lets Strengthen Marriage / National Marriage Week USA | 1603 Belvue Drive | Forest Hill | MD | 21050