Relationship Education Research: Current Status and Future Directions


  • Howard J. Markman, PhD, and Galena K. Rhoades, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Denver. Preparation of this article was supported by a grant from The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development awarded to Howard Markman, Scott Stanley, and Elizabeth Allen (R01HD053314), “The Long-Term Effects of Premarital Intervention,” and a grant from the Administration of Children and Families awarded to Howard Markman and Martha Wadsworth (90OJ2021), “Relationship Education for Low Income Couples.” The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIH or ACF. We appreciate the excellent work of Erica Ragan and Shelby Scott in editing the article and the insightful comments of the editors and reviewers of earlier drafts.

Address correspondence to Howard J. Markman, Department of Psychology, University of Denver, Denver, Colorado 80208-3500; E-mail:


The overarching aim of this article is to review the research on relationship education programs and approaches that has been published or accepted for publication since the last review article in 2003. This article provides a critical overview of the relationship education field and sets an agenda for research and practice for the next decade. A theme weaved throughout the article is the ways in which relationship education is similar and different from couples therapy, and we conclude that there can be a synergistic, healthy marriage between the two. We then provide recommendations for future directions for research in the relationship education field. Finally, the coauthors comment on our experiences in both the relationship education field and the couples therapy field as both researchers and interventionists.