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Creating Real Impact with our Audience in Relationship Classes in Manatee County

From the instructor’s point of view, sometimes we doubt the real impact that we are have with our instruction on our audience. The Smart Couples project in Manatee County has received these statements from our participants attending the Elevate and Before You Tie the Knot classes during this current year.

Impacts Related by Participants

One couple entering retirement years attended the session 6 series of Elevate in Manatee County. They actively participated and shared and became well respected and enjoyed by everyone in the class. I often witnessed them sharing personal stories, challenges, and experiences with younger couples and always with a touch of humor. Other couples seemed to relate to them and look to them for advice. They were always eager to share in class and answer questions. On the last evening of class, I was approached by them. The man said, “Thank you so much for this. We were really in trouble at times and this class has helped so much. We appreciate it”. – name withheld.

A middle aged couple attended class and actively participated; sharing stories, answering questions, and doing activities and homework. I watched the woman after class making connections with other women in the class and networking with them, as well as, telling stories. Often the class would be complete and they would linger well beyond while I was cleaning up. One evening she approached me to say, “This class has answered a prayer for me. I pray for fellowship and support from other couples, especially other women that share my faith and values and God brought me this class. Aside from gaining so much information to help my marriage, I have connections with other women and the fellowship offers so much support and sisterhood.” (name withheld) It was not a statement I had heard before or considered but I think very powerful. Described by the Instructor Jessica Vernold.

Upon completion of the Elevate series, one woman commented that attending the class and participating in the activities with her partner was like, falling in love all over again”…

One couple attended Before You Tie the Knot (BYTK) in hopes of learning better communication and skills to improve the relationship of their blended family. As a new step father to a teenage girl, the male partner was struggling to communicate effectively and fill a role as a parental figure to her which was placing added stress on the couple’s relationship. After exposing the 9 skills and communication techniques and practicing them throughout the program, he reported that his eyes had been opened to a new approach in effectively parenting. He stated that the program and techniques helped to open his mind on how he can communicate not only with his partner, but also his children and step child in a more caring and effective manner. Previously he practiced a “do as I say” method, but as a result of what he learned in the program be applied a “teamwork and let’s communicate” approach to guidance rather than authoritarian. Having a discussion with her where he expressed his reasoning for what he was asking and to relay his intentions for her resulted in a more accepting response from the step daughter. This a great example of how the principles and research based skills presented in this program can be applied, not only to romantic relationships but also other relationships and strengthen families. Described by the instructor Tami Dalto.

For information about our classes please visit our websitehttps://smartcouples.ifas.ufl.edu/