Georgia program elevates relationship quality among couples

Georgia program elevates relationship quality among couples

Experiencing high levels of stress has negative consequences for couples. This can cause negative and ineffective parenting and family instability, which leads to children growing up in unstable or fragile homes. Data on Georgia families and their children portray situations of disparity and, in some cases, hopelessness.

For that reason, Extension professionals at the University of Georgia launched a five-year project in 2021 to improve the relationships of up to 2,250 committed couples across Georgia by 2025. This federally funded effort aimed to reach couples experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, economic, occupational or relational stress or some combination of these. Included were unmarried and married couples where one or both partners:

  • Are low-income.
  • Receive, have previously received or are eligible for benefits in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
  • Are parents/caregivers who receive, have previously received or are eligible for home visitation services, are involved in child welfare services, or are foster/kinship caregivers.
  • Are military-connected, such as active-duty service members, Guard and Reserve members, veterans or Department of Defense civilians employed on a military installation.

To date, 440 couples from across 77 counties have participated in a 12-hour, evidence-based couples relationship education program, Elevate: Taking Your Relationship to the Next Level. As a result, 94% of participants reported that they learned strategies for increasing their likelihood of relationship success.

One participant reported how the program put their relationship back on track. The individual expressed, “We thought our marriage was going along just fine even though starting in May, we were put under a great deal of stress. We knew that some stress was unavoidable in the situation we were experiencing, but we figured we were resilient enough to adapt, weather it and bounce back quickly. We signed up for the course not knowing how much we needed it.”

Link to full statement on website: