Connecting Families: A Relationship Enhancement Program


However, the research community still is
exploring how various family structures affect children’s well-being (Refer in the
Research Section to the article, Family Structure’s Impact on Children’s Development).
Session facilitators need to recognize that individuals who participate may have divergent
views of their family structure and its ability to support their children’s development.
Being respectful of varying views of couple relationships and their outcomes is critical to
gaining participants trust and participation.
Connecting Families Penn State Cooperative Extension
Overview 4 2004
Married Couples
“Connecting Families” is designed to teach married couples no matter what their
background about the key aspects of a marriage relationship that can enhance its’ success.
Knowing this research based information opens the way to dialogue that can assist
couples in strengthening their marriage. The skills taught in the sessions will enhance
any relationship. Armed with information and skills couples can strengthen their
commitment to each other and their marriage.
Adolescents and Young Adults
“Connecting to My Future Family” is designed to teach teenagers and young adults about
what makes relationships successful and what leads to breakup. In an interactive mode,
the skills that assist in maintaining relationships are taught in the sessions. The facilitator
will need to be knowledgeable of the perceptions that young adults have about marriage.
Theoretical Framework of the Program
The “Connecting Families” curriculum has been developed using the research base of Dr.
John Gottman (Refer in the Research Section to the article, Marriage Success and
Divorce). Gottman’s work provides the model of relationship interaction that is the
foundation for the session’s relationship components. The communication skills in the
sessions are reflective of those Drs. Markman, Stanley and Bloomberg use in the
Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP) (Refer in the Research
Section to the article, Communication Based Relationship Enhancement Program).
These basic skills are applied to interpersonal relationships in the program. Building on
these theoretical models, the “Connecting Families” sessions are designed to be
interactive and hands-on providing participants an opportunity to explore their own
relationship and skills. Overall the sessions are a starter to assist individuals to gain an
in-depth understanding how specific behaviors impact a relationship and how specific
skills can assist in renewing it.
Connecting Families Penn State Cooperative Extension
Understanding the Couple Relationship, Session 1 5 2004
SESSION PREPARATION: To prepare to teach the session, make copies of Relationship Values
Sheet, Handout 1, and Expectations in Action, Handout 2. Prepare the Relationship Value Slips,
Session Materials 1, and Assumption Situations, Session Materials 2.

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Veronica S. Haggerty


"A strong, healthy relationship can be one of the best things that can happen to you. However, it can also be one of the biggest drains on you if the relationship is not working. Relationships are like bank accounts. The more you put in, the more you get back. Falling in love is the easy part, but long term relationships take work, commitment, and a willingness to adapt and change through life as a team. Learn about ways to keep a healthy relationship strong, or begin to today to work on repairing trust and renewing love for a relationship on the rocks".

Location: New Hope, PA
Credentials: MA, MFT, RN
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