MORE RESOURCES TO STRENGTHEN YOUR MARRIAGE
The Marriage Moments program can help couples strengthen their relationships as they become parents. But keeping your marriage strong is a life-long process. We hope Marriage Moments stimulates your desire to keep working on maintaining and improving your relationship all the time, not just as you are becoming parents. There are many good resources we recommend for this. These are resources that are generally consistent with the principles we try to stress in Marriage Moments, but also teach other important principles and skills that help strengthen relationships.
• Beyond the Myth of Marital Happiness, by Blaine J. Fowers (Jossey-Bass, 2000).
We highly recommend this book. Marriage Moments was based on the principles discussed in it. It will give you even deeper insight into the “myth of marital happiness,” and the virtues of friendship, generosity, fairness, and loyalty that form the foundation of lasting, loving marriages. Fowers was highly involved in the development of Marriage Moments, and was the “star” in the educational video that accompanies the Guidebook.
• The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, by John M. Gottman and Nan Silver (Crown, 1999).
Dr. Gottman is considered by many to be the most important marriage researcher in the world. This book captures what he has learned in his intensive study over the past 25 years of what makes marriages succeed or fail. The book also has many helpful, relationship-strengthening exercises in it.
• Take Back Your Marriage: Sticking Together in a World That Pulls Us Apart, by William J. Doherty (Guilford, 2001).
Dr. Doherty is widely recognized as one of the most important marriage scholars in the world. This book looks directly at the forces in our contemporary society that pull couples apart, even when there is a strong love between them. And he provides wise counsel on how to resist these forces and stay connected on a day-to-day basis. We consulted with Dr. Doherty about the development of Marriage Moments. His insight was very helpful.
• Fighting for Your Marriage, by Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley, and Susan L. Blumberg, (Jossey-Bass, 2001).
This is the second edition of the best-selling book in the marriage-strengthening field. The authors have more that twenty years of experience conducting marriage education workshops and researching their effectiveness. Their PREP program (Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program) is the most thoroughly tested enhancement program in the world. It emphasizes communication and problem-solving skills that can help couples overcome their differences and build a stronger relationship.
• Becoming Parents, by Pamela L. Jordan, Scott M. Stanley, and Howard J. Markman (Jossey-Bass, 1999).
Pamela Jordan is a professor of Family and Child Nursing at the University of Washington, and has adapted the ideas presented in Fighting for Your Marriage (see above) specifically for couples becoming new parents.
• When Partners Become Parents, by Carolyn Pape Cowan and Philip A. Cowan (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000).
This book details the classic study of the first major marriage education program to try and help couples transitioning to parenthood. The study was done by two excellent scholars at the University of California at Berkeley. Despite the in depth presentation of their study, it is still very readable for non-researchers.
• The Heart of Commitment, by Scott M. Stanley (Thomas Nelson, 1998).
Dr. Stanley is a noted marriage researcher and therapist and provides superb insight into the issue of loyalty and commitment in marriage. In this book, Dr. Stanley writes directly to couples who are devout Christians who want to strengthen their marriages.
• The Divorce Remedy:‑The Proven 7-Step Program for Saving Your Marriage , by Michele Weiner Davis (Simon & Schuster, 2001).
Michele Weiner Davis is one of the most respected marriage counselors in the world. Her book can help give hope to couples struggling with serious problems in their marriage, including infidelity, internet obsessions, depression, sexual dissatisfaction, and mid-life “crises.” She provides counsel on what to do when only one of the partners seems committed to saving the marriage.
• Reconcilable Differences, by Andrew Christensen and Neil Jacobson (Guilford Press, 2000).
This practical guide—based on decades of acclaimed marital research by two leading scholars—offers new solutions for couples frustrated by continual attempts to make each other change. It turns out that couples who focus on accepting their partners, rather than directly on changing them, actually end up changing more, to the benefit of their marriage.
• The Act of Marriage: The Beauty of Sexual Love, by Tim and Beverly Lahaye (Zondervaan Publishing House, 1998).
We recommend this book for couples who want reliable and sensitive counsel on improving their sexual intimacy and dealing with some of the challenges that many couples face. This book is written by a minister and his wife for a Christian audience, but we recommend it to all, regardless of your religious affiliation.
• The Case for Marriage, by Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher (Doubleday, 2000).
This is not a “how-to” book. But we strongly recommend it anyway. Dr. Waite is one of the premier sociologists in the world. She and syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher bring together a highly readable summary of the research that demonstrates how important marriage is to individuals, communities, and societies. They show how married individuals are happier, healthier, wealthier, and enjoy more satisfying sex lives, and how marriage provides advantages to children and the communities in which they live. The authors make a compelling argument that we need to place more importance on the institution of marriage in our society.
• Utah Marriage (http://www.utahmarriage.org).
This web site is a collection of resources and links for married couples and couples preparing for marrige. The site is sponsored by the Utah State Marriage Commission.
• The National Healthy Marriage Resource Center (http://www.healthymarriageinfo.org).
This is a national clearinghouse of a wide variety of information related to forming and sustaining healthy marriages. The web site is being built by a team of national scholars and practitioners under the direction of the National Council on Family Relations. It is funded by the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
• Smart Marriages (http://www.smartmarriages.com).
This web site is operated by the Coalition for Marriage, Family, and Couples Education, and is the electronic hub of the marriage movement in the United States. It has many valuable features, but one of its best features is an up-to-date list of excellent marriage enhancement programs available around the country.
• Marriage & Families on-line magazine (http://marriageandfamilies.byu.edu).
This is an on-line magazine published by the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University, which probably has the largest concentration of family scholars in the world. The on-line magazine is published three times a year. Feature articles are based on sound research but written to the general public. It supports values consistent with its sponsoring institution, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but articles are not written specifically to a religious audience.
• Family Life: Challenges and Choices (http://www.arfamilies.org/family_life/ family_life.asp).
This is a set of informative and helpful web units on many topics related to strengthening marriages as well as good parenting advice. It is run by some talented scholars and practitioners at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.
Marriage Enhancement Programs
(See the Smart Marriages web site above for details on various programs and when and where they are offered.)