The Cooperative Extension System (CES) is a nationwide educational network that consists of experts that provide research-based information from land-grant universities to youth, adults, and professionals to promote individual, family and community health. Since 2000, the efforts of CES to support healthy couple relationships have resulted in a plethora of curricula and educational resources. Formalized in 2004, the National Extension Relationship and Marriage Education Network (NERMEN) supports efforts to develop and share these research-based resources in order to advance the knowledge and practice in relationship and marriage education (RME).
With both the demand and the need for broader offerings of RME, a large number of programs have been developed, presenting somewhat of a dilemma for practitioners who are interested in providing effective programming that is research-informed. In an effort to guide RME programming, members of the NERMEN working group developed a model reflecting the key patterns of thinking and behaviors associated with healthy, stable couple relationships that can be taught in an educational setting.
In addition to knowing what to teach in RME, there are important lessons from the field that can support educators in their efforts to engage diverse audiences and community partners. Cultivating Healthy Couple and Marital Relationships: A Guide to Effective Programming is a resource developed by members from the NERMEN working group to share these best practice tips.