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Relationships Feature Articles


Divorce transition is a journey

Divorce is a transition. One model identifies three phases that are involved in every transition — Endings, Neutral Zone and New Beginnings. People going through divorce have to work through the three phases and tasks that relate to the divorce transition...more


Tips for building a happy marriage in retirement

Retirement can be enjoyable and satisfying for couples, but it requires planning and committing to each other. Here are some suggestions to make the transition easier and to help with creating meaningful and healthy relationships in retirement...more


Quality time is key to building strong family

Quality time together is one of the most important elements for building a strong family. Here are some suggestions for having quality time together with family members...more


Letting go and moving on after a divorce

Divorce is a very painful experience with deep, mixed emotions. It is important to know that the divorce journey and the healing process take time and patience. Here are some general tips to cope with divorce...more


Domestic violence awareness

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time for the community to come together and build awareness and a movement towards safe and healthy relationships for all individuals and families...more


Strengthen couple relationships during difficult times

Difficult times can cause not only financial hardship, but also tension in our relationships. Healthy relationships can be the most valuable resource for couples to cope with difficulties. Here are a few tips for strengthening couple relationships...more


MU expert offers tips to reduce families’ holiday stress

National Family Week is an annual celebration observed during the week of Thanksgiving. Find out how you can strengthen your family bond, especially during the busy and stressful holiday season...more


Building a friendship with your spouse or partner

Couples who remain good friends throughout life usually find much more enjoyment and satisfaction in their relationships. There are many things couples can do to keep their friendship alive...more


Forgiveness an important part of all relationships

Healthy relationships take time, effort, patience and energy to build. It’s not always easy, but forgiveness is an important part of relationships...more


Tips for surviving the holidays after divorce

After a divorce, the holidays can be difficult, stressful and challenging for parents and children. Here are some suggestions to help establish lasting memories for your children and yourself...more


Multigenerational families provide benefits for everyone

According to the Pew Research Center, 49 million people live in multigenerational families in the U.S. Here are several suggestions for a meaningful and happy multigenerational family life...more


Fun things to do for little or no cost

Spending time and enjoying activities together is important for creating and nurturing strong relationships. Here is a list of low-cost activities for having fun together...more


Money talks: Using communication skills to discuss finances

Have you and your partner ever fought over money? You are not alone – most couples have experienced an argument or have recurring conflict about money. However, there are some tips that can help when trying to discuss finances or other sources of conflict with your partner...more


Money talks: The value of understanding

Arguments about money are rarely only about money - they’re also about our values. How your partner wants to spend money may be different than how you want to spend money. Understanding your partner’s values can help nurture your relationship and can help reduce the amount of conflict...more


Extramarital Affairs in the Workplace

Having an extramarital affair not only can hurt a marriage, but also the children and family. The percentage of those having an affair with a co-worker has increased...more


Chronic Illnesses and Marriages

When a chronic illness strikes, there is a challenge in marriages. Research has shown that a chronic illness can have big impacts on couple relationships...more


Summer visitation: Make the transition smooth

School will soon be out and divorced/separated parents must make plans for their children’s summer visitation. While some of this is determined by the parenting plan...more


Grief is essential to heal from a divorce

Divorce is a traumatic event. Whether you’re the person who wanted the divorce or the spouse who wanted to remain in the marriage, there’s nothing simple or painless about it...more


Grandparents Have Rights Too

Traditionally, grandparents visit their grandchildren whenever they want. But in recent years, the rights of grandparents have been complicated by issues...more


Tips on Communicating with Young Children

One of the most important experiences parents and caregivers can provide for children is to talk with and listen to them. Daily interactions help children learn about themselves, others, and the world...more


Relationships in Later Life

As baby boomers are getting older and living longer, relationships in later life are becoming important to understand. As people age, they face challenges in their life such as dealing with health problems and making adjustments to retirement...more


Balancing the parent role with relationship needs

It is challenging for new parents to manage their new parenting role and their couple relationship. The joy of having a baby leads to a transition for couples that can strain even the best relationships...more


Happy relationships good for health

Why do healthy relationships matter? Research has shown physical health benefits of healthy relationships and marriages. Here are basic tips to help couples build a strong relationship...more


Keeping fun in our relationships

Sometimes we get in a rut and have to remind ourselves of the importance of keeping fun in our relationships. Research shows that couples who spend time together doing things they both enjoy are more satisfied and happy with their relationships than those who spend more time in separate activities...more


What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic Violence is when one person uses power and control to dominate their partner, and research shows that most victims of domestic violence are women. People typically associate physical abuse with domestic violence, but there are actually four types of abuse: physical, psychological, rape and sexual, and economic abuse...more


Early warning signs of teen dating violence

Researchers who study teen dating violence have identified several early warning signs that a dating relationship might be likely to turn violent. These warning signs do not mean a relationship will definitely turn violent. However, if you notice several of them in your relationship or partner, you may need to re-evaluate your dating relationship...more


Marriage and Conflict: How to Discuss Difficult Issues 1

Conflict is an important and healthy part of all relationships. However, discussing problems can be challenging for couples. In order for conflict to be productive it is important for people to “fight fair”...more


Marriage and Conflict: How to Discuss Difficult Issues 2

When couples agree to sit down and discuss a problem, Markman’s guidelines suggest ways to make sure that the discussion is successful. It is important that discussions are resolved successfully because repeating the same argument over and over again can harm a marriage. When you keep fighting about the same issue it can chip away at, or erode, all the positive things that happen between you and your partner...more


Love Languages: Understanding How You and Your Partner Love

It is important to figure out what makes you feel loved so that you know what you want and need from your partner. It is also important that you understand what makes your partner feel loved so that you can make him or her happy...more


Couples Who Fight about Money May Have Bigger Problems

When couples argue about money, often those disagreements are a sign of bigger problems in the relationship. The real issue often is not about the family’s finances but with the relationship itself...more


During busy harvest, farm couples should make time to connect

Long hours in the field mean little time for anything else in during harvest season. Although many things can wait until the crops are in, the relationship with a spouse should not be among them...more


How to create a long lasting marriage

June is a month for weddings and a time for reflection on one's own marriage relationship. Marriage continues to be an important goal for Americans. In fact, over 90 percent of adults will get married at least once in their lifetime...more


Children’s Adjustment to Divorce: Fostering Resilience

Most children are able to adapt to their parents’ divorces. Many even thrive. A research study by Constance Ahrons illuminates how to foster resilience in children of divorce...more


Dating, Remarriage and Children

According to researcher Constance Ahrons, who recently completed a 20-year study of children of divorce, about half of all American children will experience a parent’s remarriage before they reach age 18....more


Fathering After Divorce

Following divorce, mothers typically receive the majority of physical custody time. This can have a significant impact on the relationships between divorced fathers and their children....more


Misconceptions About Divorce

More than 40 percent of all marriages end in divorce. In 2003, 46 percent of people getting married in Missouri had previously been divorced. According to researcher Constance Ahrons, these statistics demonstrate a cultural lag between the idealized nuclear family and reality for many families...more


Divorce and Living Arrangements for Children

Custody arrangements for children can be a conflictive issue when parents divorce. Since the late 20th century, joint legal custody has been the preferred divorce arrangement. In joint legal custody, physical custody is shared but one parent has primary physical custody, meaning that parent has custody more than 50 percent of the time. In Missouri, joint legal custody is the preferred statutory arrangement. But even with joint legal custody, there are an abundance of possibilities for physical custody...more


Long-Range Effects of Divorce on Children

A major gap in post-divorce literature has been the long-term effects of divorce on children. With more than 40 percent of first marriages and 50 percent of second marriages ending in divorce, there has been a need for a major contribution to our understanding of the consequences of divorce. Constance Ahrons, a divorce and children researcher, does so in her book, We’re Still Family...more


What can be done before saying “I do”

Research shows that unmarried men and women expect that they will have life-long marriages. However, today's dating culture can make it difficult for singles to achieve that goal. These questions can help you and your partner consider and discuss marriage...more


Managing conflict in marriage

Even happy, healthy marriages involve some conflict from time to time. Conflict is a normal part of sharing life with someone else. The key is to know how to deal with disagreement and conflict in a constructive way...more


Building strong marriages

Research indicates that most successful marriages have key characteristics in common, namely high levels of positivism, empathy, commitment, acceptance, love and respect....more



Most men and women who divorce will remarry or live with a new partner within a few years. If either of the new partners has children from a previous relationship, when they remarry or move in together, a new stepfamily is formed. Remarriage and parenting in a stepfamily bring new challenges that are difficult for many couples. Learning about potential challenges of stepfamily life and effective ways to deal with them can help parents create strong stepfamilies...more


Stages Of Stepfamily Development

Most stepfamilies start and continue through several stages of development while building their new family relationships...more


Nurture relationships through better listening

Effective communication is key in a successful relationship. In order to communicate better, it is necessary to listen and truly hear what one another is expressing. Here are some rules to ensure that you listen to your partner...more


Effects of Remarriage on Nonresident Parent-Child Relations

The relationship between a nonresident parent (a parent that the child does not live with most of the time) and a child may change when either parent remarries or moves in with a new partner...more


Myths and Unrealistic Expectations about Stepfamily Life

It is common to have unrealistic expectations about family life. However, unrealistic expectations can hinder the development of positive stepfamily relationships...more


Handling Challenges of Stepfamily Life

Between 75% and 85% of all divorced people remarry. It has also become quite common for people to choose to cohabit or live with a romantic partner instead of getting remarried...more


Building Stepfamily Relationships

After divorce, the majority of men and women eventually remarry, or move in with a new partner. When you consider dating or begin to date, it is important to think about how your new relationship will affect you and your child. Parenting can be a challenge in any family situation, but if you decide to remarry or live with a new partners, it is important to be aware of the unique challenges that come with parenting in a stepfamily...more


Tips for Nonresidential Parents

It is important that nonresidential parents have regular contact with and remain involved in their children's life. Research shows that a positive relationship and frequent contact with the nonresidential parent are important for positive child adjustment...more


Co-parenting while living apart

Co-parenting involves negotiating how day-to-day parenting responsibilities and decisions will be shared. The extent to which parents can work together as partners in parenting is related to children’s adjustment and well-being...more


Fostering children's learning

When children experience a stressful transition, such as their parents' divorce, their schoolwork may be affected. Therefore, it is important for parents to closely monitor their child's school performance...more


Divorce Adjustment Influenced by Child's Temperament and Mother's Parenting Style

A child's likelihood of experiencing adjustment problems following a divorce depends upon the child's temperament and the quality the mother's parenting style, according to a new study by University of Washington and Arizona State University psychologists...more


The Effects of Dual Residence Custody Arrangements on Children

Dual residence is a type of joint physical custody in which the child spends equal amounts of time living in each parent's home. For example, a child may live at mom's house for two weeks or a month, then dad's house for two weeks or a month. Dual residence arrangements can work well for some families, but may be very difficult for others...more


Book Review: For Better or for Worse: Divorce Reconsidered
by E. Mavis Hetherington & John Kelly.

Here is a new book that is important for anyone who is interested in issues related to divorce and stepfamilies to read. Based on 30 years of research Professor Mavis Hetherington provides new insights and analysis into the process and outcomes of divorce and remarriage. She addresses the questions that have vexed families, scholars and politicians... more


Where to Look for Help if You Have Experienced Domestic Violence

A list of resources for those who have experienced domestic abuse...more


Co-Parenting After Divorce for Families Who Have Experienced Domestic Violence

If you have continued contact with your children's other parent as a result of the custody arrangement or visitation, consider the following ways to ensure the safety and well-being of you and your children...more


Domestic Violence and Divorce

Many abused women fear losing custody of their children to their abusive husbands. If any aspect of the custody arrangement or visitation is being disputed, get an attorney...more


Domestic Violence: Staying Safe

There are some important things you can do to protect yourself during an abusive incident...more


Domestic Violence

A description of various types of domestic violence and the stages of the abuse cycle...more


Trends in Marriage Rates in Missouri

The pattern of marriage changes over time. Here are some brief answers to some common questions about trends in the rate and pattern of marriages in Missouri...more


Covenant Marriage: What is It and Does It Work?

Covenant marriage is an alternative to traditional marriage. It requires premarital counseling and that spouses take an oath making a lifelong commitment to marriage. Divorce is only allowed in limited circumstances, such as abuse, adultery, addiction, and felony imprisonment...more


Parent-Child Attachment Relationships and Divorce

In the second half of the first year of life, infants become strongly attached to the people who car for them.  How does divorce affect the child's attachment relationship with each parent? more


Encouraging Young Children to Express Feelings about Family Transitions

Young children often express their feelings through play or artwork, instead of talking about them. You can provide your child with play materials that may help him or her express feelings...more


Divorce and Infants

Infants do not understand divorce. However, infants are affected by changes in their parents' feelings and behavior. Infants do pick up on adults' emotions and respond to them...more


What Parents Can Do to Help Young Children Adjust to Divorce

What are some things that parents can do to make the divorce transition easier for infants and toddlers? more


Toddlers and Divorce (Ages 18 months-3 years)

A major difference between infants and toddlers is that toddlers can use language to express thoughts and feelings. Even though toddlers are learning to use language, there are many things they don't understand...more


The Demographics of Divorce-United States and Missouri

The demographics of divorce are routinely reported wrong, calculated wrong or misinterpreted. Here are some explanations of the different ways that divorce rates are reported and what each of these rates means...more


Helping Children Feel Good About Themselves

All of us, including children, see ourselves in a certain way in our thoughts. In fact, we have a mental picture of ourselves. For children, this picture includes who they are, what they can do, and how they think others see them...more


Helping Children Understand Emotions

Starting at a very young age, children feel all types of emotions. They know sadness, happiness, fear, anger, and many other feelings. Emotions tell us how we feel about different situations. They push us into action and give us the energy to stop negative experiences and gain more positive experiences. Even though children feel these emotions, they don’t always understand them. And they may not know what to do with them when they feel them...more


Helping Children Cope with Loss

Many children in single-parent families feel loss, which can make them feel rejected or lonely. Coping with loss is one of the most difficult tasks for children in single-parent families. They can have these same feelings if their parents are divorced, never married, or if a parent has died...more


Helping Children Deal with Anger at Friends

All children get upset at their friends once in a while. They argue and they disagree. This is a normal way that children learn to get along with other people. It is important that children learn how to deal with angry feelings and conflicts so that others don’t get hurt...more


Helping Children Manage Anger at Their Parents

Even in the best families, children will sometimes be angry at their parents. Getting angry at each other is part of normal family life. However, all children must learn how to manage their anger without hurting others...more


Helping Children Adjust to Changes

Children and adults all need time to adjust to change. Even though we know some ways to help children adjust to changes in their lives, it still takes time...more


Why Use Books With Children During Divorce?

The divorce process can be a difficult time for both parents and the children involved. It is a time of many transitions. There may be changes in feelings, friends, family, and home life. Parents need to communicate with their children during and about these changes taking place. One way to encourage both communication and a strengthening of the parent-child relationship is through the use of books...more


Books about Divorce and Stepfamilies for Adults and Kids

Books for: Preschool Aged Children, Elementary School Aged Children, Teens, Board Game for Adults and Children, Parenting Books for Adults Who Are Divorcing, Books for Children and Adults Living in Stepfamilies, Self-Help Books For Adults Who Are Divorcing...more


Parenting Plans

Things to remember when you and your child's other parent create a parenting plan...more


Dealing With Divorce

It is always hard to deal with divorce. Everyone in the family is hurt. Feelings of anger, sadness, depression, helplessness, loneliness, and guilt are common for separating or divorcing people...more


The impact of fathers

Research findings reconfirm that fathers play an important role in helping their children grow. Fathers are significant for both boys and girls. Alternately, there are some negative impacts on children when they experience loss of or infrequent contact with a parent (usually the father) following parental separation or divorce. Nonresidential fathers can maintain positive, close relationships with their children, but it takes some effort...more


The Role of a Divorced Father

Fatherhood is very important in children's lives. Studies show that fathers who provide warmth, affection, and nurture and active participation with their children have the potential to develop strong satisfying parent-child relationships. Spending time and energy with children is a very important component for fathers to guide their children. A father's example is the most powerful influence to help children learn cooperation and responsibility...more


Questions that Children often Ask about Dealing with Their Parents' Divorce

Here are some questions that children often ask about how to deal with issues in their families after divorce. There are also some suggested answers for children....more


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Last update: Thursday, July 23, 2015