What’s Love Got to Do With It? Improving the Effect of Marriage Education


  • Jennifer Harley Chalmers Orcid


Meta-analytic research on the effect of marriage and relationship education (MRE) over the past forty years has identified only a small overall effect size on relationship quality measures within experimental-design studies. In an effort to increase the effect size of marriage education, this study introduced a new educational objective and measure within an eight-session, group-format course. The curriculum focused on developing habits to increase feelings of romantic love as a way to improve marital adjustment (Four Gifts of Love Class, FGL). Eleven couples (N = 22) residing in the Philippines were randomly assigned to FGL (G1) or delayed FGL-control (G2). The results demonstrated a large effect size on measures of marital adjustment (d = 1.11, p < .01) and romantic love (d = 0.68, p < .05). In addition, after G2 completed FGL, their gains matched the gains of G1, and the gains were sustained at the three follow-up periods.