Our Way instead of My Way

Communities are made up of all types of families, couples facing a variety of challenges. Many are learning new parenting skills. Often they are getting to know the children of their partner and building a relationship with them. This experience requires communication and effort. The Before You Tie the Knot (BYTK) program offered by the UF/IFAS Extension office in Manatee County is provided in an effort to effectively prepare individuals for marriage. Skills taught are effective in marriage but carry over to benefit all types of relationships.

“Marriage: a book of which the first chapter is written in poetry and the remaining chapters written in prose.” — Beverley Nichols

The Before You Tie the Knot (BYTK) is research-informed, meaning research-based program designed to help premarital couples to:

  1. Recognize their own and their partner’s needs.
  2. Parent positively.
  3. Negotiate conflict successfully
  4. Communicate effectively.
  5. Manage money skillfully.
  6. Develop and maintain healthy lifestyles.

This 5 session hands-on training will engage participants in learning and practicing the core principles and skills research has identified as essential to maintaining healthy and stable relationships.

The program addresses the 8 basic individual needs and key skills necessary for sharing your life with another individual. Since 2016, 90 participants have gone through this training.  100% of students reported they felt they would use the skills learned in the program; 98% reported they felt better prepared to manage conflict; 93% of participants reported they are better able to prioritize their partner/relationship; and 90% were better able to understand and recognize their partner’s stressors, aspirations, and hopes. One recent couple attended and shared a story of difficulty with communication between the new stepparent and teenager in their newly formed family. After mastering the 9 skills of communication presented in the program and implementing it when parenting her, he was able to see more positive results, stating; he had moved away from a “My way or no way, and Do as I say” style and into a teamwork approach. This program is offered free of charge and is a research-based approach to improving marriages. The class is designed to foster fun participation and communication and to encourage practice of the skills at home. The couples attending this class received a discount with the court house in their marriage license UF/IFAS Extension office in Manatee County is registered to provide this education.

Smartcouples.org