Marriage and Relationship Education (MRE) presented in peer ministry programs and support groups have allowed us to touch the lives of many people and help heal past hurts. Learn more about Marriage and Relationship Education below.

What is the purpose of MRE?

Our marriage programs, such as Retrouvaille and The Third Option, offer hope by:

  • Enhancing current relationships
  • Preventing future problems by teaching couples and individuals (generally in a group setting) the skills, attitudes and behaviors needed to help them form and sustain healthy relationships and marriages
  • Rebuilding hurting relationships


More about MRE

  • Began in 50-60s and has grown nationally and worldwide
  • State funding started in the 90s
  • Federal Government funding started in the 2000s
  • Based on decades of research


Most commonly, MRE refers to structured programs, classes, and workshops provided to groups of couples, offered on a voluntary basis in the community, through churches, public schools, and social service agencies. The programs vary in intensity, ranging from one half-day meeting or weekend workshop/retreat to weekly two-hour meetings that continue for 6–18 weeks or even longer. However, MRE also can be provided to the general public through media campaigns, website fact sheets, DVDs, self-guided Internet courses, and other outlets.


MRE aims to be preventative in nature—to provide information to enrich, protect, and strengthen relationships before serious problems arise. However, MRE programs often attract couples experiencing stressful transitions and some programs specifically target distressed couples.


MRE programs are popular and highly valued by participants. In participant surveys, focus groups, and testimony at meetings, MRE partici­pants who engaged significantly in the programs report that they benefitted from these programs in several ways. They are generally enthusiastic about the group sessions and especially appreci­ate their relationship with facilitators and interact­ing with other couples in similar situations. They report learning and using specific relationship skills such as communication, problem-solving, anger management, and valuing information about commitment and effective parenting. As a result, participants self-report improvements in their relationships with their partner and with their children. When asked what they would recom­mend to improve the program, the most frequent responses center on extending services: provid­ing booster sessions and reunion events, cover­ing even more content in classes, and making the program more widely available to others*.


The Good News Center’s marriage and relationship education programs can be found here


*National Healthy Marriage Resource Center’s ‘What Works in Marriage and Relationship Education?’ research report by Alan J. Hawkins, Ph.D. and Theodora Ooms, MSW
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