In an attempt to strengthen marriages during the transition to parenthood, the Marriage Moments program was developed from Blaine Fowers' virtues based model of marital quality. Marriage Moments is a non-intrusive, mostly self-guided approach to marriage education, which is easily incorporated into childbirth education classes. The Marriage Moments curriculum stresses building marriage on a strong foundation of friendship and partnership. In this model, marital friendship is strengthened through a shared vision of life and important life goals; partnership is nurtured by the virtues of generosity, fairness and loyalty.

This program was tested on 155 married couples that were expecting their first child. Couples were randomly assigned to one control or two treatment groups. The control group participated in a childbirth education class, but did not receive the Marriage Moments program. The instructor-encouraged treatment group viewed the Marriage Moments video in their childbirth education classes and were encouraged to do workbook activities by their class instructor; the self-guided treatment group couples were given the video and workbook to use at home. The Marriage Moments video is comprised of five, eight-minute segments introducing the marital virtues of friendship, generosity, fairness and loyalty. The workbook provides couples with additional information about the transition to parenthood and the possible applications of the virtues principles, including individual and couple activities.

All couples were assessed using a battery of self- and spouse-report measures immediately before and after their child-birth classes and then at three and nine months after the birth of their babies. This longitudinal study examined the effect of the Marriage Moments program on marital virtues, marital quality, and intentionality. Relationship outcome measures included in this study were the Marital Virtues Profile, Revised-Dyadic Adjustment Scale, RELATE Satisfaction subscale and Transition Adjustment Scale.

Treatment group couples reported high involvement in and enjoyment of the program. When asked to rate the program, couples evaluated the program as 'important' and 'worthwhile.' However, despite positive program evaluation, statistical tests revealed no consistent difference between the control and treatment groups over four times. Subgroup analysis also failed to reveal group differences when controlling for education, number of years married, and early marital distress. Suggestions for future study include contrasts of skills and virtues based curriculums, as well as high and low dosage interventions. In addition, this program should be studied in both clinical and educational settings.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Family Life; Marriage and Family Therapy



Date Submitted


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Marriage Moments, Transition to parenthood, parents, first time parents, first child, marital quality, married couples, marital friendship, childbirth education class, childbirth