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Copyright 2004 Lee Williams


Religious Differences

Meaning of Marriage

Spiritual Bond

Religious Affiliation







Communication: Opening the Door to Understanding

Supplemental Resources

This unit provides an excellent starting point for building good communication and conflict-resolution skills. For those who are interested in further developing these skills, there are several excellent programs that teach couples communication and conflict-resolution skills.

Some of the more widely known programs for teaching couples communication and conflict resolution skills are briefly described below, along with contact information. A key advantage of these programs is that they generally provide coaching or mentoring to help ensure the couple is properly using the skills. Some of the programs are also more comprehensive in nature, and address other skills or topics important to building a successful marriage. The Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education also sponsors a web site that provides a listing of programs and resources for marriage education.

The Association for Couples in Marriage Enrichment (ACME) is a nonprofit organization that trains couples to lead marriage enrichment groups. Communication, handling anger and conflict, and ways to build intimacy are among the skills emphasized in ACME-led groups. For more information about ACME-style Marriage Enrichment, contact the Association for Couples in Marriage Enrichment (ACME), P. O. Box 10596, Winston-Salem, NC 27108, phone 1-800-634-8325, or

COUPLE COMMUNICATION teaches couples eleven specific communication skills for talking and listening, and guidelines for resolving issues. A key part of the COUPLE COMMUNICATION program is practicing the skills, and getting feedback from coaches who observe the couples as they apply the skills. For more information on COUPLE COMMUNICATION, contact Interpersonal Communication Programs, 30772 Southview Drive, Suite 200, Evergreen, CO 80439, phone 1-800-328-5099, or

The Marriage Survival Kit teaches couples seven important principles for building a successful marriage. The principles are based on several research studies by a leading marital researcher, John Gottman. The principles focus not only how to communicate and solve problems in relationships, but also on other aspects of relationships such as strengthening caring and creating shared meaning. For more information on the Marriage Survival Kit, contact the Gottman Institute, P.O. Box 15644, Seattle, WA, 98115, phone 1-888-523-9042, or

The PAIRS (Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills) program is a comprehensive psychoeducational course designed to enhance participants' knowledge of self and their ability to sustain a pleasurable intimate relationship. The program emphasizes both learning skills and an in-depth exploration of the self. For more information about PAIRS, phone 1-888-724-7748, or visit the website at

Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP) is a 12-hour program that emphasizes a skills-oriented approach to addressing factors that can lead to marital breakdown. PREP focuses primarily on: 1) teaching couples better communication and conflict resolution skills; 2) exploring expectations in the relationship; 3) addressing attitudes and choices around commitment; and 4) enhancing the couple's relationship bond through fun, friendship, and sensuality. PREP is also available in a special Christian PREP format. For more information about PREP, contact PREP, Inc., P. O. Box 4793, Greenwood Village, CO 80155-4793, phone 1-800-366-0166, or visit the website at

Relationship Enhancement (RE) teaches couples a set of nine skills to help them develop and maintain a healthy relationships. Many of the nine skills focus on communication and problem-solving. An essential ingredient to RE is the use of coaches who provide participants feedback on how they are using the skills. For more information on Relationship Enhancement, contact the National Institute of Relationship Enhancement at 1-800-432-6454, or visit the website at