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Daila Boufford 
American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences 
703 706-4600 


Online Event 



Archived Recording:

The Marriage Garden:  A New Approach to Cultivating Strong, Stable Relationships

Despite our best efforts in family life programs, about 50% of marriages fail.

The emotional toll of divorce can be severe, but there are additional costs to society.  The direct and indirect taxpayer costs of a divorce these days average about $30,000.

After a divorce, the average household income for the mother and her children typically drops, yet it rises for the father. 

Research has found that couples who participate in premarital and marital education experience less marital stress and divorce.

Isn’t it time to try a different approach to marital education?

AAFCS is proud to offer the following educational webinar (1.5 PDUs):

The Marriage Garden: A New Approach to Cultivating Strong, Stable Relationships
Presented by Dr. James P. Marshall and Dr. H. Wallace Goddard

Archived Recording:  90-minute program  

Register Now!

 Bundled Pricing Discount when you purchase 3 webinars together. 

In just 90 minutes, these learning objectives will be addressed:

  • Step-by-step guide to implementing the successful Marriage Garden curriculum
  •  Six themes in the research that form the basis of the program
  • Why the garden metaphor is effective for teaching about relationships
  • The benefits of focusing on well-being, happiness, and individual talents

Developed by two University of Arkansas Extension educators, the Marriage Garden curriculum draws on new discoveries in positive psychology for both content and delivery and is based on  the Marriage and Couples Education Model which organizes the current research on marriage into six dimensions.

Using the vivid imagery of a garden, complete with references to the law of harvest—we reap what we sow—the program breaks through the haze of traditional programs and terminology.  Who doesn’t understand, for example, the simple notion that you can’t plant a tomato seed in the morning and expect to have tomatoes for dinner? Likewise, a relationship must be cultivated and nurtured to achieve full growth.

What better way to characterize destructive practices in a relationship than a weed eater?  Couples often use the weed eater approach to solving their conflicts—and may destroy everything that is good in the process.  Weeding by hand—a constructive practice—is more time-consuming but ultimately is more effective and longer lasting.

Even relationships in severe distress can benefit from the Marriage Garden’s unique approach —couples will learn that their relationship may not poke right back up like weeds, but it can be revived.

At this webinar, you will learn how the Marriage Garden curriculum works to:

  • Strengthen relationships
  • Build resilience
  • Completely change the mindset about relationships
  • Teach others how to achieve greater understanding in relationships
  • Cultivate compassion for your partner
  • Weed out destructive thoughts and encourage healthy growth
  • Plus you will learn about the free curricular activities available.

The gardening process teaches us vital—and sometimes painful lessons about life.  The struggle is worth it because good marriages and healthy gardens can enrich us. But neither happens by chance.

About the presenters
James P. Marshall, PhD, LMFT, is Assistant Professor of Family Life at the University of Arkansas. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a clinical member and approved supervisor of AAMFT. A frequent speaker at the annual Smart Marriages conference, NCFR, and CYFAR, he is also a member of the National Extension Relationship and Marriage Education Network—a group of extension family life specialists that is working on a research based model for relationship and marriage education.

H. Wallace Goddard, PhD, CFLE, is a Professor of Family Life for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. He conducts research and develops programs on parenting, marriage, youth development, and family relations and is well known for his public television series “Guiding Children Successfully.” In 2010, he was the recipient of the NCFR Outstanding Family Life Educator Award.

Who Should Register?
Extension educators, marriage and family counselors, social workers , clergy/faith leaders and any others who are providing programs to strengthen relationships; university professors who teach family life education and would like to have an example of a curriculum derived from a model; and anyone who wants to learn more about building strong, resilient relationships.

*How does an archive work?  Once you register for the archived event, your confirmation email will contain log in instructions for viewing the archived event.  You may choose the day and time that you view the event, but please be aware that registration gives you access to 1 viewing only.

New to webinars?  Check out our risk-free guarantee.
100% Refund if You're Not Satisfied
We believe you will find our professional development events to be of high quality and unique value.  Our goal is to provide you with a great online learning experience.  Our webinar tool is very easy to use and we offer technical support before and during our events. However, if you should encounter technical difficulties during the webinar that impede your learning in any way, we will either correct the problem or refund 100% of your registration fee.

Our webinars will be available through the archive for 1 year from the date of the live event.  During this time, the customer is at liberty to choose the day and time that they view the archive.  No refunds will be given for non-attendance.

AAFCS Virtual Professional Development:  Get Inspired. Get Jazzed. Get With It. 


Register Now! 

$35 for AAFCS members ($50 non-members) 

Bundled Pricing Discount when you purchase 3 webinars together 

If you work at a higher ed institution and would be interested in using this webinar as content in your classroom, please contact Daila Boufford for information on special site license rates!