HM Links & Clips (11/22/10) #145 (part 2)

From: Kathy Schleier []
Sent: Friday, November 19, 2010 6:16 PM
To: Coffin, Bill (ACF)
Subject: [MARKETING EMAIL]Holidays are Coming - Who's house, where?
November, 2010
Family Frameworks Newsletter
Healthy Marriages, Strong Families, Thriving Communities  In This Issue Set Priorities This Holiday Season... Children, Divorce and the Holidays The New Stigma Quick Links

Thank You Volunteers!

Welcome to our New 2011 Board
Chair: Dan Sessions
Vice Chair: Chris Snow

Treasurer: Barry Blevins
Secretary: Cathy Byars

Karen Nelson
Kelli Reed
Nicole Williams
Joe Remillard
Salli Guerrardo

Vickie Burns

John Thomas

John Jauregui

Welcome New Volunteers!

Stephanie Kilpatrick

Daniel Watts

Both are helping us with data for our classes.  Thank you Stephanie and Dan! 

We Need More Volunteer Teachers

Do you know someone that would enjoy teaching teens about Healthy Relationships?  We are working on adding new high schools second semester and need more passionate people that will share their talents.  We will train.  Please contact us if you might be interested

Dear Bill,

This month, I tried to find articles to help with the stresses that the holidays can bring.  I would love to hear from you if there is an article that really strikes you. 

We also want to Congratulate our Daters.  We caught 3 this month  Dating Ron & Edith Chance .their Spouses.  Michael & Karen Smith
Michael & Karen Smith at the Depot

Enjoy the reading and join us!! Mark & Donna Hardin



Set Priorities This Holiday Season 

 North Carolina's Cooperative Extension

The autumn and winter holiday season has a huge buildup that puts demands on our time, our family relationships and our pocketbook. During this time, we eat different foods, our home decor changes and our schedules are disrupted. It is no wonder that many of us feel stressed. By adopting just a few time management and priority setting techniques, you can simplify your holidays.  Click to read more!

Children, Divorce and the Holidays
How to Make the Best of a Stressful Time(provided by Holly Abery-Wetstone & Donna F. Ferber, M.A., C.A.C.)w to Make the Best of a Stressful Time
The holiday season conjures up many images for all of us. The most universal of these images is one that includes happy excited children. However, for children from divorced or separated families, the holidays can be a nightmare. What other children may experience as a joyful time filled with excitement and good feelings, children whose parents are divorced or separated see quite differently. Often the holiday time marks a period of turmoil and chaos, as the estranged parents are forced to negotiate additional child centered issues. Depending on the degree of hostility between the parents, children of divorce approach the holidays with feelings ranging from mild ambivalence to absolute dread. This article will explore what children of divorce experience at holiday time with a focus on holiday visitation, parents' legal rights and ways that parents can help ease the pain and reduce conflict so the holidays can be enjoyed by all.  Check out the steps to have a much better holiday during this season....

The New Stigma--Children of Divorce Are No Longer Stigmatized, Until They
Start Dating
Elizabeth Marquardt
November 16, 2010
Huffington Post
A young man says, "When I go out with a woman I can always tell on the first date if she's from a divorced family. The women from divorced families are us, eager to please. They're exhausting."

A young woman says, "My parents have been married thirty-five years and I want a long marriage like they've had. I love my boyfriend, but he's from a
divorced family and, I don't know, it just seems like he had to be a lot more independent growing up t than I ever was. Frankly, it worries me."

A woman writing to an advice columnist complains, "I am wary of dating guys whose parents are divorced... I think people whose parents are divorced may have a different sense of marriage - i.e., that it doesn't have to be for a lifetime..."You gotta read the rest of this!

Join us as we promote the beliefs, benefits and behaviors of healthy relationships.  


Kathy Schleier
Family Frameworks
Georgia Family Council | P.O. Box 2705 | Dalton | GA | 30722-2507

From: Michael J. McManus []
Sent: Monday, November 22, 2010 2:44 PM
Cc: Coffin, Bill (ACF);
Subject: Re: Couples Should Live Together

Attachments: Marriage Savers Overview.doc

To:          Editor of

From:    Mike McManus

Re: “Couples Should Live Together”

Your columnist, Sarah Foster, recommends that couples live together before getting married.  This is foolish advice that can be quickly disproven.  She provides no evidence of her assertions – not a single study which proves her claim.

According to Census 7.5 million couples are already taking Ms Foster’s advice.  But only 1.4 million will marry.  That means 6 million couples will break up, while a few will continue living together and not break up or marry. However, that’s an 80% failure rate before there is a wedding! The cohabiting  experience is so searing that tens of millions have failed to marry. The number of never-married Americans tripled from 21 million in 1970 to 63 million in 2008. Result: the marriage rate has plunged 51% since 1970.  In fact, just since 1990, the number of marriages has fallen from 2.44 million to 2.08 million, a 15% drop while population grew 25%.

Also, couples who cohabit who do marry are 61% more likely to divorce than couples who remain apart before the wedding, according to  a study by Prof. Paul Amato and others at Penn State.  Prince William and Kate Middleton may be successful in their marriage,  We all hope so, but less than 10% of those who begin with cohabitation will be able to build a lasting marriage.

There is a better way to decide whether to marry someone.  As a co-author of Living Together: Myths, Risks & Answers, I recommend these steps to cohabiting couples:

1.Move Apart.  That step will increase your odds of making a wise decision about whether to marry, before you become too entangled.  Separation will increase your objectivity.

2. Take a Premarital Inventory, a detailed questionnaire of 150+ items to assess objectively your strengths as a couple,  and areas of conflict that need to be discussed.  PREPARE/ENRICH is the best inventory.

3.  Meet with an older couple trained to review the inventory.  My wife and I have trained 4,000 couples to be Mentor Couples to administer an inventory, such as PREPARE/ENRICH.  In our home church over the decade of the 1990s, we prepared 288 couples for marriage, an increasing percentage of whom were cohabiting.  Of that number 58 couples decided NOT to marry, a big 20%.  Such couples have avoided a bad marriage before it began.  But of the  230 couples who did marry, we know of only 16 divorces, a failure rate of 7%.  In other words, this strategy offers a 93% success rate over nearly two decades.  To learn more, call me at 301 469-5870.

4.  Create a Community Marriage Policy.  I am President of Marriage Savers, an organization which has helped the clergy of 229 cities adopt a covenant called a Community Marriage Policy.  Some Milwaukee churches have taken an interest, but have not organized a CMP.  On average, the divorce rate of communities in which a CMP is signed, enjoy a 17.5% drop in the divorce rate for the whole city, according to an independent study of our work.  Some cities like Austin, Kansas City, Modesto, CA, El Paso and Sale, OR cut their divorce rates by 50% to 70%!  In addition, the cohabitation rate of CMP cities dropped by one-third compared to other cities.  And their marriage rates are rising, such as a 16% increase in Evansville IN. 

To learn more, write,, or see the attached article.


Mike McManus

Milwaukee needs to ad

My new email address is

Michael J. McManus
syndicated columnist
"Ethics & Religion"
President & Co-Chair
Marriage Savers
9311 Harrington Dr.
Potomac, MD 20854

From: First Things First []
Sent: Sunday, November 21, 2010 6:00 PM
To: Coffin, Bill (ACF)
Subject: [MARKETING EMAIL]A Father's Legacy | Dad to Dad November 2010
 November 2010 Issue No. 10 Fathering Tip
Keeping Your Cool
is Cool

 In the book Scream-Free Parenting: Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool, author Hal Runkle reminds us that we have a far greater responsibility TO our children than we have FOR our children. This is one of many other suggestions in his book that have helped my wife and me to overcome the aggravation associated with things like grades and bad behavior.
In a nutshell, the book is a manual on how to keep or regain your cool and parental authority by "screaming free". But this doesn't necessary mean you scream vocally. Parents have different ways of "screaming" or redirecting their frustrations.  Some do scream physically while I myself "scream" by cleaning. How do you "scream"?
Poll Question

Tell Us What
You Think
What fathering related classes would you like to see us offer?

Tell us what you think about

HM Links & Clips (11/22/10) #145


10) Marriage Does Matter
Without that support system, and without those values, society suffers. Ultimately, there can't be a healthy society without healthy marriages."
See all stories on this topic »
And and Marriage in Obsolescence






And Actually, the Poll Presents a Somewhat Optimistic View "If you look very deeply into that poll, it does not come to the conclusion that marriage is obsolete," remarked Focus on the Family's Gary Schneeberger to Stephanie Samuel at The Christian Post. Here are the poll's statistics, reinterpreted: "More than half of singles expressed a desire to be married. Over a third of all respondents, married and unmarried, felt it would be easier to have a fulfilling love life inside of marriage, compared to seven percent who felt it would easier to have fulfilling love life outside of marriage. Twenty-nine percent believed, over the five percent who opposed, that it is easier to find happiness within marriage. Moreover, over two-thirds of people believed that it was best for society to have children inside of marriage. Another sixty-nine percent felt it was bad for society for single women to become mothers."


And Who Needs Marriage? Men, Apparently
There may be some truth to that, but once the marriage is underway, the shoe seems to migrate pretty quickly to the other foot. Buried in the statistics of ...


9) Question of the Day
Washington Times
Nearly half could not recommend even one healthy, exemplary marriage. Little wonder today's youth are trying to find an alternative to bad marriages, ...

And The Centrality of Marriage in a Cynical Age
Huffington Post (blog)
So forty percent of Americans in a Pew Research and Time magazine poll think that marriage is caput. And who can blame them? Marriage in our time is such a ...



8) I Am ME: Chuck and Ellen Purcell, Northern Virginia « Fatherhood ...
By Fatherhood Channel
Marriage Education is touching the lives of couples, families and children across the country. “I Am ME” profiles individuals and couples teaching relationship and marriage education classes in their local communities. ...






7) Marriage education, financial and asset development

This meeting summary documents the key points that arose during the Roundtable discussion about ways in which marriage education, financial education, and asset-building programs ...

And How to Use the Money HabitudesTM Cards in Marriage Education ...

How to Use the Money Habitudes TM Cards in Marriage Education Programs Introduction The Money Habitudes TM (2003) cards can be used in a variety of marriage education programs to assist ...;


6) Marriage, Family and Young Adults
marriage education programs. – easy and fun for volunteers and couples. Those hurt by marriage also need our care and support. ...

And Marriage Education - San Antonio Wedding Guide
Learn effective and positive communication skills; Experience strategies to effectively resolve conflict; Understand the key elements of a healthy marriage ...

And Workshops - Harris County Premarital Workshop
Premarital and Marriage Education for Couples. Please note this is an ongoing workshop that meets every Monday evening from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ...



5) Black marriage rate on the decline
The federal government began the Healthy Marriage Initiative in 2002 to strengthen wedded unions and the decrease the likelihood of hardship experienced by ...

And Oakland leads self-help answer to blacks' crisis
San Francisco Chronicle
Engaged fatherhood should be promoted as a social value and supported with employment opportunity. While the poor education and poverty of black children ...

And A Healthy Marriage
their marriage relationship. Thank you so much for your support! A Healthy Marriage Now© is a program of the L.O.T Initiative Inc. and provides training and ...

And 72% of black babies born to unwed moms | Celebrity Sentry
By admin
... African American Marriages and Parenting. there is a Marry your Baby Daddy Day, founded by a black woman who was left at the altar, and a Black Marriage Day, which aims "to make healthy marriages the norm rather than the exception." ...

And and The goal of the “Changing Fatherhood” website ( is to redefine the images and conversations around fathers and men of color.  The website will serve as a tool to engage various aspects of fatherhood and manhood.  Web components will address married, single, divorced, military, incarcerated (coming home), and long-distance dads, as well as the vital role of grandfathers. On Saturday, November 27th, 2010 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., RHA will host the official website launch of “Changing Fatherhoodat Bus Boys & Poets located at 14th & V Streets NW, Washington, DC


4) Government recognizes marriage because of its benefits to society

Posted: November 21, 2010

Marriage is older than the Constitution, older than America, older even than the church.

And Piloting a Community Approach to Healthy Marriage Initiatives in ...
Summer 2008 Piloting a Community Approach to Healthy Marriage Initiatives in Three Sites: Chicago, Illinois, Boston, Massachusetts, and Jacksonville, ...

And Production designed to transform marriages - The Indianapolis ...
To present the play, HOPE Productions is teaming up with the Indiana Healthy Marriage and Family Coalition (IHMFC), an organization that promotes the value ...

And 5 Questions for Seal on 'Commitment' and Family -
Fatherhood and marriage make you look at life in a different way. When you're married, you realize that every note you sing, there is another reason for singing it. You're doing it because you know you have a responsibility for your ...



3) Military Divorce Rate Leveling Off: Pentagon Report
Huffington Post
The military divorce rate increased from 2.6 percent in 2001 (the start of Operation Enduring Freedom) to 3.6 in 2009--a figure that has held steady ...

And Troop Divorce Rates Level in 2010
Newly released Pentagon statistics show that the overall military divorce rate leveled off in 2010 after a consistent increase over the previous five years. ...

And Military Divorce Rate Levels Off, But Not for Female Troops or ...
By Jamie Reno
According to the Pentagon report, despite the overall number leveling off, the divorce rate in subgroups like Marines, and Airmen, and female servicemembers, increased slightly, as
in years past, while remaining constant for sailors and ...




2) What is the real divorce rate in the US?
Huffington Post (blog)
They are different ways of measuring the 2008 divorce rate in the US. Perhaps no single measure of family life is so often incorrectly reported and ...

And and

And MU Extension: Celebrating the first holiday after divorce
Blue Springs Examiner
By Nina Chen Holidays after divorce can be difficult, stressful and challenging for parents and children to face. Holidays may bring some old memories that ...



1) Congrats to Penny and Wally

One Plus One wins Gold Award at E-Learning Awards (another pearl via Weekly Update of UK Marriage News - No 10.44)

One Plus One is celebrating the success of its new e-learning programme Relationship Support: an early intervention after it scooped the Gold Award for ‘Excellence in the production of learning content – not for profit sector’ at last week’s prestigious E-Learning Awards.



And Goddard honored by National Council on Family Relations
... contributing member towards the National Extension Relationship and Marriage Education Model and the National Extension Parenting Educator's Framework. ...



Bill Coffin

Special Assistant for Marriage Education


370 L’Enfant Promenade, SW Washington, DC  20447


…We, Government Leaders, invite colleagues and citizens from every political party to engage in renewed

efforts to pursue laws and public policies that promote the well-being of marriages and families…(Excerpt from


For previous editions of HM Links & Clips see



 From: FAMLI []
Sent: Saturday, November 20, 2010 5:43 PM
To: Coffin, Bill (ACF)
Subject: Conference Call Series Launch

Dear ,

On behalf of Mike McManus, Nisa Muhammad, Hyepin Im, and Alicia LaHoz, I would like to announce the launching of the FAMLI capacity building conference call series:

Wed:  December 1
Time:  1:00 PM EST

Register at: to receive call-in information

This series will include 12 calls over a 12 month period.  The differenent components include:

  • How to create volunteer staff capacity through interns, Vista volunteers, and a large volunteer base
  • How to raise funds from state and local government and private funding.
  • How to expand your out-reach to government intstitution, minority communities, faith-based and community-based organizations
  • How to work with the media
  • Marriage celebration events
  • Working with opinion leaders and elected officials.

Please go to to get more information about the conference call series.  Hit "Conference Calls" at the top of the website.

You may have as many members of your team as you want on the calls.

Also, you do not need to be on each call to participate in the series.

Please register immediately as registration is limited.

Thank you.

Chris Gersten


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From: Kathy Schleier []
Sent: Friday, November 19, 2010 6:16 PM
To: Coffin, Bill (ACF)
Subject: [MARKETING EMAIL]Holidays are Coming - Who's house, where?

Chelseas Facial -->

HM Links & Clips (11/19/10) #144 (part 3)

From: Dr. M.P. Wylie [] on behalf of Dr. M.P. Wylie []
Sent: Thursday, November 18, 2010 1:05 AM
To: Coffin, Bill (ACF)
Subject: [MARKETING EMAIL]RRF: Friday Evening Happy Hour

Relationship Research Foundation, Inc. (RRF)
Social Events Header Image

RRF and Journey to Love

Meet-Up this Friday Night

Dear Bill,

Please join us this Friday night at Wildfish for Happy Hour. RRF is joining the Journey to Love Meet-Up Group. Singles, couples, whatever your relationship status you are encouraged to come to meet the great people working at RRF and have a fun time socializing.

Join us in good conversation and the special discounted Happy Hour Menu.


          1370 Bison Avenue
          Newport Beach, CA 92660

How to find us
"Hopefully on the back patio, but ask the hostess to confirm."


Time: 5 to 7:00 p.m.



Dr. M.P. Wylie

Quick Links

Helps us create a better world and donate today!

Happy Kids


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Relationship Research Foundation, Inc. (RRF) | Dr. M.P. Wylie | Relationship Research Foundation, Inc. | 1400 Bristol Street North, Suite 100 | Newport Beach | CA | 92660

HM Links & Clips (11/19/10) #144 (part 2)

From: Oklahoma Marriage Initiative []
Sent: Thursday, November 18, 2010 12:54 PM
To: Coffin, Bill (ACF)
Subject: [MARKETING EMAIL]OK Marriage Minute - November 2010

Follow Up Flag: Follow Up
Flag Status: Red

31st Annual Conference of the Oklahoma Council on Family Relations is set for Spring, 2011

OCFR is accepting proposals for speakers and presenters; deadline Dec. 131st Annual Conference of the Oklahoma Council on Family Relations is set for Spring, 2011

The 2011 conference will be held March 25, 2011, from 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. on the OSU campus in Tulsa.  They will be exploring the theme "The Modern Family: Risk and Resilience."  Dr. Judy Berry, Professor of Psychology for the University of Tulsa, will be the keynote speaker and will focus her presentations on some of the stressful experiences families encounter.  In addition, Paula Schlegel, an Instructor of Speech Communications at West Texas A&M University and a professional storyteller, will bring her use of humor to the lunch session and help us keep our lives in perspective. The Oklahoma Council on Family Relations is currently seeking qualified speakers to fill various breakout sessions.   They offer space for poster presentations and speaking opportunities via paper presentations or skill-based, educational workshops/roundtables.  If you would like the opportunity to tell others about information that you know, please consider applying to be a presenter.  For those interested in applying to be a presenter, please consider the following guidelines:

  1. Topic is justified and relevant to the conference theme.
  2. Proposal is clearly written and logically organized.
  3. Sessions that involve data collection and analysis describe the research methods used, and the analysis and conclusions of the study.
  4. Presentations of papers that are based upon clinical or practical experience describe their practitioner information in light of existing practice, theory or empirical evidence.
  5. Papers and posters, whether based on data collection and analysis, or on practitioner experience, including the scholarly basis of their work.
  6. Papers that are reviews of literature, theory and conceptual pieces are welcome.
  7. As much as possible, all papers should follow the format of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th Edition).
  8. Proposal submission deadline is December 1, 2010.

For more information, contact:  Ms. Kuma Turner (OCFR President), Dr. Brian Camp (Past President), or Dr. Nate Cottle (President Elect).

Visit for more information and to apply/register online.

Creating an Opportunity Society

Join us for the Practice and Policy Lecture Series featuring Ron Haskins, PhD, on Tuesday, December 7, from noon to 1 p.m. at the Oklahoma History Center.  Sponsored by OKDHS Family Support Services Division and the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative, Dr. Haskins will discuss the indicators of poverty and policy recommendations founded on four values-based premises about the appropriate role of government.Ron Haskins, PhD, is a senior fellow in the Economic Studies Program and co-director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution and senior consultant at the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, MD.  His public service includes serving as the Senior Advisor to the President for Welfare Policy at the White House, the Majority Staff Director for the Subcommittee on Human Resources, and the Committee on Ways and Means in the U.S. House of Representatives.The lecture series is free and open to the public. For more information visit or contact Lacey Schoonover at 405.521.3552.

Oklahoma History Center
Chesapeake Room
800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73105

Save the Date! Forever. For Real. Sat, Feb 5, 2011


Saturday, February 5, 2011
Plan a date with your date on Feb 5th! Use this free event as a chance to reconnect with your partner, spend quality time together and get on the same page about problem solving life's ups and downs as a team!  Mark your calendars, tell your friends, and join us for our biggest event of the year! Pick one of these five locations:

Oklahoma City
Cox Convention Center
1 Myriad Gardens 

Midwest City

Reed Center
5800 Will Rogers Road

Moore Norman Technology Center
13301 South Pennsylvania

The Atherton Hotel at OSU
H103 Student Union


Tulsa Convention Center
100 Civic Center

Attendees will save $45 on their Oklahoma marriage license!
Register at
or call 877.435.8033.


This message was sent from Oklahoma Marriage Initiative to It was sent from: Public Strategies Inc., 301 NW 63rd Street, Ste. 600, Oklahoma City , OK 73116. You can modify/update your subscription via the link below.

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 From: Priscilla Hunt []
Sent: Thursday, November 18, 2010 12:05 PM
To: Coffin, Bill (ACF)
Subject: [Better Marriages] Survival Guide for Couples: Home for the Holidays

Hollywood understands human nature. Why else would there be so many movies that portray the holidays being "enjoyed" by so many dysfunctional families? Perhaps the greatest enjoyment is ours as we laugh at and cringe at other families' dealing with their "stuff".

What makes these movies strike a chord with us is our personal experience with our own quirky families of origin and years of pleasantness and not-so-pleasantness around the proverbial family table. Let's just say, we've had our highs and lows!

Challenges of Spending Holidays with Our Family of Origin

It's all too easy to slip into our well-established place in the family system, the place that's reserved for us year after year. It doesn't matter that in the real world we're a successful adult making a name for our self in our chosen field. That we're respected, admired and even sought-after. When we're home, we're the middle child, the one with a temper, the one that flunked out of school, the one that never could quite measure up.

So, amazingly, we defy the laws of reason and slip right back into our childhood role in our family system, a role from which we've never been able to break free.

And then, of course, come the denial and the conspiracy of silence about our deep, dark family secrets. After all, if anyone knew that Mom is a drunk, Dad tortures kittens or Uncle Jake fondles little girls, giant billboards would be displayed in the center of town for all to see and life, as we know it, would end.

Challenges of Spending Holidays with Our In-Laws

Suddenly our spouse becomes a child again, unable to stand up for his rights, unwilling to stand up to her older brothers or parents, incapable of fulfilling the role of king or queen of your heart.

We, the most important person in our partner's life, suddenly become an outsider, fighting for a valued place in the extended family.

His or her family collectively becomes the Devil personified. So, again, the laws of reason are defied, denial ensues, and the gravy turns to sludge in your belly.

Not to mention that no one makes stuffing like your mother!

Answers to the Dilemma/Coping Strategies

As a couple facing family for the holidays, here are strategies that have worked for us through the years. The longer we're married, the better they work, the quicker we bring them into play, and the more completely our sanity is restored.

On the drive or plane ride, begin the process of preparation â€" begin talking about concerns, fears and desires. Look at patterns from the past and adopt a mantra of "no surprises". What has worked in the past? What hasn't? It helps to have realistic expectations!
  • Talk about specific behaviors you'll institute this year that will help you cope. Discuss how each of you can offer verbal and nonverbal support to each other.
  • Agree on signals you can give each other to mean 1) I've had enough, I've got to get out of here, 2) I need to know I'm more important to you than your parents, 3) family â€" what're you gonna do?!
  • Clarify relational boundaries, those related to your couple relationship and those related to your extended family. Identify and claim what issues are yours, respect and relinquish what issues are your partner's and agree and commit to honor what issues are yours together.
  • During your visit, find ways to affirm each other for the competent, well-adjusted adult you've each become.
  • Remember that first and foremost you and your partner form a team. Affirm your solidarity. Your partner is not the enemy!
  • Set in your mind a clear, vivid picture of your current family and home-sweet-home.
  • Practice deep breathing and meditation that can levitate you from the dining table into the realm of sanity.
  • Plant positive messages in your brain such as 1) I am an adult; 2) I am not a victim; 3) I am thankful for my family, such as it is; 4) nobody's perfect; 5) I'll soon be home in my recliner watching the big game.
Conversation to Bring You Closer to Your Partner During the Holidays

Before the hustle and bustle of the season, find a quiet place for the two of you, pour a cup of tea or glass of wine, make eye contact and hold hands. Using your best communication skills, both talking and listening, take turns sharing:

1. List the things that would make this a positive holiday experience for you personally.

2. List the things that would make it harder for you personally to enjoy the holidays.

3. List the things you are personally willing to do to make this a positive holiday experience.

4. Agree together on several things you each will do to make this a positive holiday experience.

Happy Holidays!

Keep reading. Keep learning. Keep growing.

Posted By Priscilla Hunt to Better Marriages at 11/18/2010 10:29:00 AM

From: on behalf of Smartmarriages []
Sent: Friday, November 19, 2010 12:32 PM
To: List; Blogs
Subject: More Pew / Solutions / Marriage Week - 11/19/10

Attachments: ATT00001..txt

I received MANY comments on the Pew Report coverage and I agree I should have sent the link to the actual report.  Also, yes, I agree that even asking the question "Is Marriage Obsolete?" is damaging – contributes to the downward spiral (and see Lamar Tyler's point below about their skew and the damage).  The report makes even more clear our contention that the public is general clueless about the "state of our unions".  It is clear that we have our work cut out for us and definitely need to work harder to get what we know out there about 1) THE BENEFITS OF MARRIAGE TO MEN, WOMEN, CHILDREN, SOCIETY;  2) WHAT TO EXPECT IN MARRIAGE; and 3) HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES AT HAVING A SUCCESSFUL, SATISFYING MARRIAGE (that it does not have to be an insane game of chance with 50/50 odds).  Surveys need to quit asking "Is Marriage Obsolete?" and start asking people if they know the benefits of marriage and if they understand HOW to make their marriages satisfying and successful.  Ask them if they know what the research has found about what makes marriages succeed or fail.  Those are the kinds of rhetorical questions we need to be asking young adults.  

Here's the full report with charts.

Here is a clip from Lamar Tyler's commentary on some of the flaws in the Pew Report:

The following passage comes from the actual Pew report:

In an effort to capture the experiences and attitudes of those living in both traditional and less traditional family arrangements, the survey included oversamples of three key groups: (1) adults who are divorced or separated and have at least one child younger than age 18; (2) adults who are living with a partner and have at least one child younger than age 18; (3) adults who have never been married and are not currently living with a partner and have at least one child younger than age 18.

Basically, what this tells us is that they oversampled using divorcees with kids, couples that cohabitate with kids and single parents. Could any these groups have an adverse view on marriage?

What I found after taking a closer look at the numbers was that there were some good things about marriage in that report that didn't surface in any media reports. I personally believe that this reckless reporting is one of the primary reasons that young people in some of our communities have given up hope when it comes to marriage.

Below are some key points that I pulled from that same Pew Research Center study along with headlines that I've created in case mainstream media feels like they'd like to revisit the topic to get the story straight:
NEW HEADLINE: 6 Out of 10 Americans Say Marriage Is Not Becoming Obsolete
WHAT THEY FORGOT TO TELL YOU: The flip side of the number that ran in all of the headlines.

Some people say that the present institution of marriage is becoming obsolete—do you agree or disagree?" some 39% of survey respondents say they agree, while 58% disagree and 4% say they don't know.
NEW HEADLINE: 70% Optimistic About The Institution of Marriage and the Family
WHAT THEY FORGOT TO TELL YOU: People were more optimistic about the future of marriage than they were about the country's educational system, economic system or eroding morals and ethics.

-In the midst of all this change, the public maintains a positive outlook about the future of the family. When asked if they feel generally optimistic or pessimistic about the institution of marriage and the family, 67% say they are optimistic, 27% are pessimistic and 6% are unsure.
-Despite these growing uncertainties, Americans are more upbeat about the future of marriage and family (67% say they are optimistic) than about the future of the country's educational system (50% optimistic), its economic system (46% optimistic) or its morals and ethics (41% optimistic).
NEW HEADLINE: More Couples Think Their Marriages Are Better Than Their Parents
WHAT THEY FORGOT TO TELL YOU: Most married couples of today believe their marriages compare favorably with their parents.

Moreover, marriage may have been more prevalent a generation ago, but most married or cohabiting respondents today believe their own relationship compares favorably with their parents'. Some 51% say they have a closer relationship with their spouse or partner than their parents had with each other, while just 5% characterize their own relationship as less close. The remainder—43%—say there is no difference.
NEW HEADLINE: Americans Think Married Couples Make More Money, Find Happiness Easier and Have Great Sex
WHAT THEY FORGOT TO TELL YOU: Most of those surveyed whether single or married thought marriage made life easier in many instances.

For example, when it comes to being financially secure, 35% of respondents believe this is easier to do as a married person, while 11% say it is easier for a single person and half say it makes no difference. Similar patterns emerge for having a fulfilling sexual life, finding happiness and having social status. The two outliers from this pattern are raising a family (fully 77% say this is easier for a married person) and getting ahead in a career (just 14% say this is easier for a married person, compared with 24% who say it is easier for a single person).

In the end just remember that the media is out to sell papers and not to save families.

Lamar Tyler is co-founder of <> . He's also the filmmaker behind You Saved Me <> and the upcoming film Men Ain't Boys which examines manhood in the African American community.

Priscilla Shirer believes a Christian woman should submit to the authority of her husband.  But while she's teaching the gospel to other women, Mr Shirer doesn't mind doing the dishes.
Molly Worthen
New York Times Sunday Magazine
Nov 14, 2010

Priscilla Shirer's marriage appears to be just the sort of enlightened partnership that would make feminists cheer. On an average morning in their house in suburban Dallas, Shirer and her husband, Jerry, are up around 6:30, fixing breakfast for their three small boys. While Priscilla, 35, settles in to work at home and care for their 2-year-old, Jerry, 42, shuttles the older two children to school and heads to his office. He spends much of the day negotiating her speaking invitations and her book contracts. . . .

. . . Conservative Bible teachers like Shirer have built a new paradigm for feminine preaching, an ingenious blend of traditional revivalism, modern therapeutic culture and the gabby intimacy of Oprah <> . This is the biblical-womanhood-industrial complex: a self-conscious alternative to secular feminism that preaches wifely submission while co-opting some feminist ideas to nurture women like Shirer to take the lead, within limits. This fusion of confinement and uplift may seem like an empowering veneer on the reality of oppression. Or else, if women like Priscilla really are on equal footing with their husbands, it may seem like hypocrisy. Both appraisals overlook the messy interaction between ancient Scripture and modern life. Christians, like believers of all stripes, interpret their holy book in order to make sense of their lived experience. "Biblical womanhood" is a tightrope walk between the fiats of old-time religion and the facts of modern culture, and evangelicals themselves do not know where it might lead.

MINISTRY IS PRISCILLA SHIRER'S birthright. Her father, Tony Evans, founded a nondenominational church in their Dallas living room when she was a year old. The church grew into one of the largest African-American megachurches in the country, with a current membership of 8,500, an empire of related ministries and a syndicated radio show. By the time Shirer was a young adult, her father was speaking at rallies for Promise Keepers <> , the evangelical ministry that calls men to take charge of their families and fulfill the demands of "biblical manhood."   

After college, Shirer flirted with careers in television and Christian music, then earned a master's degree from Dallas Theological Seminary, an early epicenter of the fundamentalist movement. An internship at a Christian radio station led to a gig with the motivational speaker Zig Ziglar. She spent several years boosting morale in corporate audiences around the country, but she says she "longed for the opportunity to ask these people, 'Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior?' " She met Jerry when she addressed the corporate team of Hilton Hotels, where he was an executive. Jerry approached Priscilla's father for permission to date her, and about a year later, he asked him for the green light to propose. Evans made him put his request in writing. They married in 1999, and Jerry quit Hilton to work for his father-in-law's national ministry. After 10 years with Ziglar, Priscilla left to pursue women's ministry full time.        

   "The messages that I wanted to deliver catered to the feminine heart," she said. "It was intriguing to me to sit in a room full of girls and be able to share with them from my feminine life about motherhood, or marriage, or before being married — being single — and what that looks like as a woman, how we fold that into the context of a life that is pleasing to the Lord." Jerry quit his job to run his wife's ministry. Priscilla calls her vocation Going Beyond Ministries: her goal is to help women go beyond the humdrum experience of "church as usual," and go beyond sectarian divides to focus on the Gospel. All calls go through Jerry.        

Priscilla now accepts about 20 out of some 300 speaking invitations each year, and she publishes a stream of Bible studies, workbooks and corresponding DVDs intended for women to read and watch with their girlfriends from church. Jerry does his share of housework and child care so that Priscilla can study and write. He travels with his wife everywhere. Whenever possible, they take their sons along on her speaking trips, but they often deposit the boys with Jerry's mother. . . .     

            For the full article:
'He knew exactly how I felt on every level of dating'
Ellen McCarthy
Washington Post
Nov 14, 2010
On the same day the above article appeared in the New York Times Sunday magazine, the lead wedding featured in Sunday's Washington Post "On Love" section was the marriage of Lindsay Marsh author of "The Best Sex of My Life: A Guide to Purity" and founder and director of the Worth the Wait Revolution which encourages others to reserve sex for marriage.  She married Gareth Warren who says, like most, he was a player until he met  Marsh.  Introduced in church, their first date included her family. He'd earlier been given her book by a family friend so he knew what Marsh was about – knew she hadn't kissed a man in 10 years. The two "restored virgins" dated for almost 2 years and attended a couples communication workshop at their church before getting married and sharing their first kiss AFTER being pronounced husband and wife.  Here's the full article with photos:

National Marriage Week USA will run a full-page national newspaper ad the week prior to National Marriage Week, which will direct folks to look for a marriage class or conference in its state-by-state search mechanism. News Alert to all marriage groups: POST YOUR EVENT for National Marriage Week USA (February 7 to 14th) at this link, so that folks who see the national ad can find it.  Use the red Post Events button at


- FOR INFORMATION about how to post to the Smart Marriages® newslist;
subscribe or UNSUBSCRIBE, or an archive of all past posts:

From: Stronger Families []
Sent: Thursday, November 18, 2010 10:36 AM
To: Coffin, Bill (ACF)
Subject: [MARKETING EMAIL]Renown Violinist Geoffrey Castle - A Benefit Concert for Stronger Families

Having trouble viewing this email? Click here

Stronger Families LOGO
A Benefit Concert for
Stronger Families...
Geoffrey Castle Video
Geoffrey Castle Celtic Christmas Celebration
A Benefit Concert for Stronger Families
DATE: Friday, Dec. 3rd or Saturday, Dec. 4th
TIME: Friday, 7:30pm and Saturday, 8:00pm
LOCATION: Kirkland Performing Arts Center


Return to a time that predates the commercialization of Christmas.  Don't miss the

HM Links & Clips (11/19/10) #144

10) TIME Q: Who needs marriage?

               A: Most kids (and many adults)

A lot of press yesterday re Time magazine piece and Pew Research Center report See all stories on this topic »  (What surprises you?—BC)


9) Commentary: Michigan needs to protect, save marriages and




And Graph for the Day for November 17, 2010
American Thinker (blog)
(3) Promotion of responsible fatherhood and motherhood is integral to successful child rearing and the well-being of children. ...








7) The Father Factor: The Thankful Campaign: Thankful for the Hugs ...
By Vincent DiCaro
To join the campaign, visit or tweet with the hashtag #thanksdad. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of National Fatherhood Initiative. ...


And Virginia Beach, Norfolk VA Jobs » Blog Archive » Fatherhood ...
Fatherhood Specialist (Chesapeake, VA). Helping fathers be the best dad's they can be. Share your skills and commitment to children with new dad's. * Part time , evenings or weekends (approximately 15 hours/month). ...


And Feb. 18, 2011: 9th Annual Michigan Fatherhood Conference: Call for ...
The Fatherhood Conference planning committee is seeking workshop proposals to benefit the 300 attendees expected for this day-long event in Howell. ...



6) Scroll down Welcome to Oklahoma's Official Web Site
OMI provides marriage education to address reasons for divorce and relationship breakup. Prevent relationship breakup and address reasons for divorce now! ...

And you can return way back to the first issue from 1956 in Oklahoma Today


And stay up to date here


And Who Inspires You? | The Red Dirt Chronicles
By kendycox
This entry was posted in Oklahoma culture, Relationships, Woman2Woman and tagged marriage education, Oklahoma, couples, couple relationships, relationships, family relationships, life. Bookmark the permalink. ← Real Men Are Fighters ...






And Arthritis pain 'lower in happily married'
NHS Choices
“A happy marriage helps ease the agony of arthritis,” according to the Daily Mail. The newspaper said that researchers have found that the emotional ...


And Marriage Stress Test – 20 Questions for Married Couples
By Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen
Every marriage has its challenges, but stress in your marriage may be affecting more than just your relationship. New studies have revealed that couples in stressful marriages are physically less healthy than couples in happy marriages. ...




4) Erin Barry, Tony Parker, Marriage and Betrayal
The Fatherhood Channel
More often, affairs, at the flirtation stage or beyond, are symptoms of deeper issues that many couples successfully work through in marriage education ...


And Marriage Spotlight: Hardwired to Connect - iContact Community
For more information on the Twogether in Texas marriage education program, visit and Hardwired to Connect Plank ...



3) When my husband and I first got married, we went faithfully every Saturday morning to a coffee house and discussed the "state of our union." With the busyness of life, those meetings became less and less frequent. Our excuse was that we communicate fairly well, and if there's an issue we'll bring it up. But there's something to making that commitment to meet and talk every week about your relationship—it doesn't have to be heavy, long, ponderous discussions. But at least having a connection point makes a huge difference. This week's featured article, "Three Questions to Ask Your Spouse" is a good reminder of the importance of "checking in" regularly with your mate.




2) How Do I Talk with My Partner About Marriage Education? :
Want to improve your relationship. Learn how to approach your partner about the subject.




1) The next issue of Threshold will be #100


Bill Coffin

Special Assistant for Marriage Education


370 L’Enfant Promenade, SW Washington, DC  20447


…We, Government Leaders, invite colleagues and citizens from every political party to engage in renewed

efforts to pursue laws and public policies that promote the well-being of marriages and families…(Excerpt from


For previous editions of HM Links & Clips see

HM Links & Clips (11/18/10) #143

Three for Thursday...

And post comments and weigh in on the divorce debate.


National Marriage Week USA is going to run a full-page national newspaper ad in 2011 the week prior to National Marriage Week USA, which will direct folks across the nation to look for a marriage class or conference in its state by state search mechanism. News Alert to all marriage groups: please POST YOUR EVENT for National Marriage Week USA (February 7 to 14th) at this link, so that folks who see the national ad can find out about your event.  National Marriage Week USA wants to help friends in the marriage movement get the word out about their efforts that week! POST YOUR UPCOMING EVENTS or marriage course or conference for others to see. Use the red Post Events button at

Bill Coffin

Special Assistant for Marriage Education


370 L’Enfant Promenade, SW Washington, DC  20447


…We, Government Leaders, invite colleagues and citizens from every political party to engage in renewed

efforts to pursue laws and public policies that promote the well-being of marriages and families…(Excerpt from


For previous editions of HM Links & Clips see



HM Links & Clips (11/17/10) #142 (part 3)

From: USCCB []
Sent: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 2:30 PM
To: Coffin, Bill (ACF)
Subject: [MARKETING EMAIL]Marriage Monthly: Balancing Work and Family, Humility, The Lost Art of Listening

For Your Marriage
marriage monthly

Home   Dating & Engaged    Parenting & Family    For Every Marriage    About Catholic Marriages

Featured Article: Balancing Family and Work
work life balance
It's a common dilemma: Trying to be a good husband/father or wife/mother, while meeting the demands of an outside job. During uncertain economic times, couples may be even more tempted to sacrifice family life for work. Learn some tips for striking a balance.

Virtue of the Month:  Humility
humilityThe billionaire J. Paul Getty had it all, except a successful marriage. His five marriages are an object lesson for our age, which celebrates celebrity, wealth, power--and the pride that comes with it. Read how humility is the foundation for a long-lasting marriage.


Monthly Book Review:"The Lost Art of Listening"
This book is for anyone who wants to improve the dynamics of a relationship. Author Michael Nichols explains the effects of listening, the consequences of not listening, and why people don't listen. He offers specific techniques to overcome personal needs and understand another point of view.


Marriage in the News:  Marriage: Institution or Union of Soulmates?

What model of marriage offers the best prospect for success? A new report finds value in a traditional, or institutional, model with its supporting social networks. But couples also need the expressive dimension of married life-the soulmate model.


Marriage Tip of the Month
November 15
Christian marriage is a covenant, not a contract. Contracts are 50/50 agreements in which rights are spelled out. Contracts can be broken if either party fails to fulfill their part. A covenant, however, is a sacred promise where each party gives 100%. Do you?
Happily Even After
Happily Even After AuthorsJosh and Stacey reflect on the ups and downs of married life with children.
their blog

FYM Find Help
View TV Spots
See more videos >>
Become a Fan of Marriage Find us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterDelicious
Copyright © 2010, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved.
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HM Links & Clips (11/17/10) #142 (part 2)

From: Carolyn Rich Curtis, Ph.D. [] on behalf of Carolyn Rich Curtis, Ph.D. []
Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 7:38 PM
To: Coffin, Bill (ACF)
Subject: [MARKETING EMAIL]Miracles Do Happen


Miracles happened in our Flourishing Families class this week. Three of the nine couples that we had in attendance indicated that they were involved in gangs.  Another one had stepped away from the gang life within the last year.  During class, one brave guy asked the question, "How am I supposed to turn my back on the people who have been like a family to me?"  Suddenly, everyone in class was paying attention and was involved in the conversation.  By the end of class, everyone realized that they wanted a better life for their child.

A few days later, one of the male participants called one of our class hosts.  During the conversation he revealed that he had not smoked any marijuana, worn red or hung out with any of his gang-affiliated friends since he attended our class.

Once again, we continue to work with the people who need us the most.

Missed the Fundraiser, but want to learn about us?

Join us for our Open House!

Date: Nov. 18th Time: 12 - 1pm.

Bring your lunch and we will provide great cookies and drinks. It will be fun, informative and inspiring as we share stories about the impact of our programs on the families we serve.  Registration is limited to ten people.

Register now by clicking here

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Healthy Marriage Project | 9719 Lincoln Village Dr. Ste. 205 | Sacramento | CA | 95827

From: First Things First []
Sent: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 1:07 PM
To: Coffin, Bill (ACF)
Subject: [MARKETING EMAIL]Happy Thanksgiving! | FTF eNews

First Things First eNewsNovember 2010    Volume 2

FTF Classes
* Funding for this project was provided by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant: 90FE0031. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.
Save The Dates!
January 2011


February 18 & 19 2011


February 7-14 2011
Find us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Happy Thanksgiving National Family Week is November 21-27 
The holiday season is upon us, and now is the perfect time to come together as a family and have some fun.  Here are a few suggestions on creative ways to make the season bright . . .

Click here for suggestions
Families on the Run 2010
Lace Up for
Families on the Run

There's still time to register for the 6th annual Families on the Run on Saturday, December 4 along the Chattanooga Riverfront. Runners and families from all across the region will gather at the Hunter Museum of American Art to compete in the 5K, 10K or non-competitive Kiddie K Fun Jog. Families on the Run will also host a Holiday Party filled with fun activities for the entire family at the downtown SportsBarn, complete with a hot breakfast and holiday festivities. And yes, the Chick-fil-A Santa Cow is coming to town!

To find out more, visit or call 423-267-5383
Sex, Lies & Relationship Drama

Coming Soon!
A new class for Single Adults
Learn the truth about relationships at our newest seminar, Sex, Lies and Relationship Drama. This class for single adults offers skills on how to better communicate, manage conflict and make healthy relationship choices. 

For more information or to register, visit
Raising Truly Great Kids with Dr. Tim Kimmel
It's Never Too Early to Start . . . and It's Never Too Late!
Every parent wants to raise great kids, but sometimes your best efforts leave you wishing for a survival guide. Are you willing to invest one day in order to empower your child . . . forever?

Join FTF as we present "Raising Truly Great Kids" with parenting expert Dr. Tim Kimmel on on February 18-19 at the Baylor School Chapel. This fun, fast-paced seminar will give you the skills you need to successfully lead your kids through the journey of life.

Click here to learn more or to register

620 Lindsay Street
Suite 100

Chattanooga, TN 37403

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HM Links & Clips (11/17/10) #142

10) The Best Sex of Your Life
Family Research Council
by Peter Sprigg Opponents of abstinence-until-marriage education argue, among other things, that it is “unrealistic.” As evidence, they point to survey data ...




9) and





8) Save the Date!
Partnering with Employment Programs to Help Healthy Marriage ... This webinar explores how Healthy Marriage programs are coordinating ...


And Background & Objectives (Still relevant—BC) The researchers analyzed marriage and divorce data compiled ... these years - not just a survey sample ... Research Themes that Influence Marriage Education: 2008 3 1 US Census Bureau (2008)

And and



7) Mark Goulston, M.D.: Divorce Therapy -- In the Best Interest of ...
By Mark Goulston, MD
Most teenagers, when asked if they had the choice between their parents being nicer to them or more loving towards each other, will pick the latter.







6) (Who knew?—BC) and CCF Reports here

And The Social Security Administration on Monday launched a redesigned homepage that aims to help visitors find the information and services they need faster.



Directories of HHS Accounts










5) November Updates from NCCP include

In Support of Parenting Upon the birth of a child, many parents are struck with the reality that parenting doesn’t come with an instruction manual. We found that what passes for “parenting education” varies wildly across the country, from Alabama to Wyoming. We examined efforts in four states that are trying to get a handle on what is actually entailed in such education, who their “educators” are, and what supports children and families in their states need.Read Improving Supports for Parents of Young Children: State-level Initiatives.

AndEarly Childhood DevelopmentInteragency Coordination and





4) Mom and Daughter, 11, Team Up to Strengthen Military Families ...
The Fatherhood Channel
Abigail, 11, and her mother, Mary, found the skills they learned in a PAIRS Essentials marriage education class helped them strengthen their relationship ...


AndWeb Event Enables Troops to Tell Their Stories to America: on this Friday









And Why-Marriage-Matters-summary.pdf (application/pdf Object) and



The Poor’s Good Marriages - First Things





2)(Never mind the dress, who’s helping them with their marriage prep?—BC)




What Is the Secret to a Good Marriage? | Real Simple





1) They're in it together  


And 2010 East Coast TANF Directors’ Conference, October 2010

The United States Congress is scheduled to reauthorize the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program by December 3, 2010.





Bill Coffin

Special Assistant for Marriage Education


370 L’Enfant Promenade, SW Washington, DC  20447


…We, Government Leaders, invite colleagues and citizens from every political party to engage in renewed

efforts to pursue laws and public policies that promote the well-being of marriages and families…(Excerpt from


For previous editions of HM Links & Clips see








From: Bottom Line Secrets []
Sent: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 2:11 AM
To: Coffin, Bill (ACF)
Subject: [MARKETING EMAIL]Stop Fighting About Money

Don't Let Financial Fights Ruin Your Marriage

Olivia Mellan

Marital money tensions increase in tough financial times such as these. Even the closest couples don’t always see eye to eye on money matters. Couples argue over what to buy... how much to save... how aggressively to invest... and anything else involving dollars and cents.


Most married couples are not as far apart in their financial thinking as they imagine. The problem is that they tend to see only their money differences and ignore the similarities. Rather than judge our partners’ financial beliefs and habits against an objective standard, we tend to consider them in comparison with our own habits -- then cast our partner as our polar opposite. This can make minor differences in opinion seem like major schisms.


Example: A wife saves 35% of her salary, while her husband, who has a higher salary, saves "only" 20% of his. Though this husband is a responsible saver by any objective standard, the wife may feel that she is carrying an unfair share of the burden and that the husband is spending too freely.



The first step in overcoming financial friction in a marriage is identifying areas of conflict and the opposing financial roles that each partner is forced into. Here are six common battle lines. Do you see your relationship described here?


Spender vs. hoarder. One spouse considers the other an overspender... while the second sees the first as a hoarder or miser. This leaves neither one happy. The spender feels forced to defend or hide purchases... while the hoarder feels saddled with full responsibility for reaching the family’s savings goals. Even if both partners are responsible savers, the one who saves less may be treated as a reckless spender... and when both are spenders, the one who spends less might be cast as hoarder.


Money worrier vs. money avoider. The partner who worries more -- or more openly -- about money comes to believe that his partner doesn’t take financial matters seriously. The worrier typically is the partner who handles most of the bill-paying and budget-balancing chores. The other partner believes that the continual worrying about finances adds unnecessary tension to the relationship.


Planner vs. dreamer. One partner takes charge of the nitty-gritty details of the family’s finances... while the other acts as visionary, ignoring details and thinking big. These roles could be complementary, but more often they leave partners battling over financial priorities and processes.


Example: The planner tries to enforce a detailed budget, while the dreamer makes impulsive purchases that fit the image of how he wants life to be.


Money monk vs. money grower. One partner considers money dirty and corrupting, and doesn’t bother investing or seeking raises... while the other believes that earning and saving are worthwhile life goals. Even minor differences here can seem very significant because our basic outlook on money is so closely tied to our core beliefs.


Risk taker vs. risk avoider. One partner’s aggressive approach to investing or career planning creates discomfort for the other, who lives in fear that the family’s savings will be lost. When risk takers suffer financial setbacks -- as most have in the past year -- their risk-avoider partners typically blame them for those losses. Risk takers usually are men -- but not always.


Money merger vs. money separator. One partner believes that all of the couple’s savings and financial decisions should be bundled together... while the other tries to keep some of his money separate from the other partner’s. Money mergers often consider their partners’ desire for separation a sign of lack of commitment to the relationship. It typically is men who push to merge the family finances.


Example: A wife who does not work outside the home inherits money and wants to keep it separate from the family’s money. Her husband is insulted by this request because he has been sharing his income for years.



A four-step plan for avoiding financial fights with your partner...


1. Consider financial disagreements with your spouse as relationship inevitabilities, not examples of your partner’s flaws. We tend to dismiss or demean our partner’s financial opinions when they differ from our own. It is these contemptuous responses -- not the financial differences themselves -- that turn disagreements into brawls.


Better: Start with the assumption that your partner’s financial thinking is both reasonable and closer to your own than you realize. This keeps things friendly and prevents disagreements from escalating.


Examples: Your partner isn’t necessarily a spendthrift just because he doesn’t save as much as you... or a big risk taker simply because he takes more risks than you... or a money avoider simply because he doesn’t fret as openly about recent stock market losses as you do.


2. Create an atmosphere that encourages civil discussion of financial matters. Financial differences are more likely to escalate into fights when they’re allowed to fester without discussion. Unfortunately, couples often hesitate to raise financial topics that have led to fights in the past.


Better: Establish a framework for calmly discussing financial matters that promotes safety and trust. Set aside 20 minutes each week for a money conversation. During the session, one spouse shares one of his money concerns for two to three minutes, while the other listens and then repeats what was said. The first spouse then speaks again, and the process is repeated until the first spouse is done. After that, the spouses switch roles, and the second spouse goes through the process. It is important to be empathetic and avoid being judgmental or argumentative.


Example: Partner 1: "I’m worried that the stock market will continue to decline." Partner 2: "I hear that you are worried about further declines. It is perfectly reasonable to have those concerns considering everything that has happened recently."


The more you understand how your partner feels about finances, the more likely you are to sympathize with his feelings, even if you don’t agree.


3. Tell your partner what you admire about the way the partner handles money. This positive feedback helps balance the largely negative feedback that most married people normally send their partners about their financial decisions, often without realizing it.


Examples: A risk avoider might tell her risk-taking partner that she admires his ability to put up with declines in portfolio value without panic. A hoarder might tell a spender that he admires her generosity and ability to enjoy life.


4. Take one action per week that fits your partner’s financial makeup, not your own. When both partners do this, it can help them moderate their financial views and move toward a middle ground. Expect it to feel uncomfortable at first.


Example: A spender might cancel a purchase and put the money into an investment account instead. The hoarder partner might agree to a discretionary purchase without complaint.


Over time, if you follow the four steps above, you will lessen tension and conflict with your spouse over money.


Bottom Line/Personal interviewed Olivia Mellan, a psychotherapist based in Washington, DC, who specializes in couples’ financial issues. She is author or coauthor of five books, including Overcoming Overspending: A Winning Plan for Spenders and Their Partners (Money Harmony).


HM Links & Clips (11/16/2010) #141(part 2)

From: Seth Eisenberg [] on behalf of Seth Eisenberg []
Sent: Sunday, November 14, 2010 12:01 PM
To: Coffin, Bill (ACF)
Subject: [MARKETING EMAIL]On Newstands Now: TIME Magazine Features PAIRS Innovation
Having trouble viewing this email? Click here

TIME Magazine Features
PAIRS Innovation: "Honey,
Can You Hear Me Now?"

The November 22, 2010 issue of TIME Magazine, hitting newsstands now, features PAIRS Innovation in the first look at how technology is helping couples strengthen marriages and families. The feature first appeared earlier this month on If you'd like to share your story about using PAIRS DTR to connect with loved ones near and far, a national news network wants to hear from you. Contact us for more information.
Honey, Can You Hear Me Now? page 99

Strategic Planning Leadership Reviews Progress on PAIRS 2006 Analysis, Charts Future

Strategic Planning 2010 Leadership GroupLeaders representing decades of experience in development and oversight of community, faith-based, and government programs supporting strong marriages and families came together in Weston, Florida this week to review PAIRS Foundation's progress implementing recommendations of the August 2006 Strategic Analysis and Business Plan by Development Resources, Inc., generously funded by Richard and Nancy Marriott.

In marathon discussions, the group reviewed the 2006 recommendations, significant progress achieved implementing key findings, and set organizational priorities for the period ahead.

Click here for key recommendations in the 2006 Strategic Analysis. Stay tuned to for more information on the leadership group's significant recommendations and course forward.

Watch Richard and Nancy Marriott talk about PAIRS.

PAIRS Online Bringing Relationship News, Tips and More to Over 10,000 Monthly and now bring news, tips and exercises to over 10,000 visitors each month. Subscribe to to help us reach and celebrate our 50,000 visitor since we began tracking earlier this year!

Check out our new weekly feature, "I Am ME," profiling marriage and relationship education leaders nationwide. Nominate an instructor who is making a difference in your community for an upcoming feature.

Read and share the Thanksgiving Family Survival Guide that is helping thousands around the world discover practical skills for joyous family celebrations.

Check Out the Thanksgiving Family Survival Guide.

The PAIRS Foundation, Inc.
1675 Market Street, Suite 207
Weston, Florida 33326

PAIRS Foundation | 1675 Market Street | Suite 207 | Weston | FL | 33326

From: Ozarks Marriage Matters [] on behalf of Ozarks Marriage Matters []
Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 5:32 AM
To: Coffin, Bill (ACF)
Subject: [MARKETING EMAIL]OMM News & Notes - November 16, 2010

In This Issue:

  • Relationship Education More Effective Than Therapy
  • Getaway Together Marriage Retreat - January 14-15, 2011
  • Straight Talk from Real Dads   
  • Ask Your Relationship Questions
OMM News & Notes: Promoting Healthy Relationships November 16, 2010

Relationship Education More Effective Than Therapy
by Dr. Jennifer Baker  
For some time I've thought that skills-based relationship education may be less costly and more effective than therapy for many couples. Even though I have been a therapist for nearly 20 years, I still recommend a relationship workshop to most of the people I see. This is why I was so excited to see the recent data from our Operation Us Project supporting my thoughts on these matters. 

                           Click To Read The Rest

This Week's Topic:  Happy Tears
  Have Questions About Relationships?
Check out our new Ask A Question web page where you can send Dr. Baker a question that she just might answer the next time she's on the air with Andy Taylor - Monday, November 22.

And don't forget to visit our podcast archive, where you can listen to earlier appearances.

  Subscribe to News & Notes
No need to forward, just click on the link to subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter.
Forest Institute | Operation Us | Forest Institute | 2885 W. Battlefield Rd. | Springfield | MO | 65807
From: Ron McLain [] on behalf of Ron McLain []
Sent: Monday, November 15, 2010 12:03 PM
To: Coffin, Bill (ACF)
Subject: [MARKETING EMAIL]We need your input . . . please respond to this poll
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Healthy Marriage Coalition of Fresno/Madera County

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