Healthy relationships are not only beneficial to the people in the relationship but also to those around them.  The Alabama Healthy Marriage & Relationship Education Initiative (AHMREI) is encouraging all individuals to invest in their relationships. AHMREI offers FREE educational classes throughout the state to all who want to learn more about healthy relationships. Classes are also available to Lee County residents and provide individuals and couples with information and the skills to make their own relationships stronger through interactive sessions led by trained facilitators in a friendly, informal setting. Couples participate in discussions on issues such ascooperation, intimate communication, conflict resolution, the importance of a positive attitude, and building affection.

The next workshop is March 1 and 2, 2013, at the Auburn Chamber of Commerce, 714 East Glen Avenue, Auburn, AL.  

“Smart Steps for Stepfamilies” is a research-based curriculum that helps provide couples with answers to challenging questions like:


•  Are you keeping your couple relationship strong while step-parenting?

•  Do you want to strengthen the stepparent-stepchild relationship?

•  Do you want help with the challenges that come with stepfamily living?

“Smart Steps for Stepfamilies”is comprised of two sessions: Friday evening and Saturday morning. Friday’s session is 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Saturday’s session is 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Meals and childcare are provided. Time is valuable to everyone, so individuals/couples who complete all aspects of the two session workshop are compensated for their time. To register for this workshop, visit If you have questions, please call 844-3238.

AHMREI’s initiative is an applied research project to build and sustain healthy relationships and stable marriages throughout Alabama. It is implemented through a partnership between Auburn University, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, the Alabama Department of Children’s Affairs and family resource centers around the state.

“Our goal remains strengthening relationships within families and supporting marital and family stability by promoting access to educational resources on healthy relationships for youth and adults in Alabama,” said Francesca Adler-Baeder, a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies in Auburn’s College of HumanSciences, an Extension specialist and the principal investigator for the initiative.

The work developed by Dr.  Adler-Baeder represents the first systematic and coordinated effort to support relational health and family stability in our state. Auburn University’s Center for Children, Youth and Families was awarded a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Family Assistance to continue the work started five years ago with an earlier grant.

To date, AHMREI has provided relationship education classes to over 24,000 youth and adults across the state and research provided by participants indicates that these programs are effective in increasing knowledge and skills as well as increasing couple quality and family functioning.

Researchers have found many benefits for communities when they have a higher percentage of couples in healthy marriages, compared to unhealthy marriages, including higher rates of physically healthy citizens, lower crime statistics, decreased need for social services and higher property values.

Healthy relationships are related to physical health, positive child outcomes, and stability in employment.

Researchers have found that children and youth who are raised by parents in healthy marriages are more likely to succeed academically, attend college and avoid drug and alcohol abuse. To learn more about healthy relationships, visit

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