Building Healthy Relationships is a series of workshops designed to help couples to communicate and manage conflict more effectively. With the assistance of trained professionals, couples will learn and practice listening,speaking, and conflict resolution skills in a safe and comfortable environment. To find out more read here …


History of the BHR

(adapted from article by Dr. Rob Lees)


Rationale for BHR

Healthy parental relationships and marriages contribute to the well being of all family members, both children, parents and even grandparents. This in turn contributes to community health.

The field of health promotion has demonstrated the link between social determinants and physical health. Although considerable public debate has focussed on same sex marriage and to a lesser degree issues related to divorce, there is no similar discourse related to marital and couple quality, despite it’s known implications for health. Recently the American Government, through its Department of Human Services, has launched a five year, half a billion dollar, Healthy Marriage Initiative. No similar program exists in Canada.

There are complex explanations for this problem. In part, marriage and couple education may be associated with ideas of traditional male dominance in a society that has been coming to terms with the violence against women hidden in this agenda. As well, there was the problem that promoting healthy marriage could contribute to stigma or a sense of inferiority in other family structures, such as single parent lead homes or gay and lesbian relationships. For this reason, academics and researchers have stayed away from the topic. At the recent International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE), funded and supported significantly by Health Canada and Canada’s Public Health Agency, with Co- Chair Dr. David Butler- Jones, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, among literally hundreds of presentations on the determinants of health, not one addressed marital health. .

The issue may as well be much deeper than these sensitivities. Over 50 years ago, David Mace, the founder of The Association of Couples for Marriage Enrichment, wrote about “the myth of naturalism” and the “inter-marital taboo”. Mace suggested that when life spans were shorter and marriages held together through economic and social pressures, marriages would survive naturally. There would be no need for education. As well, he described a taboo in families related to passing on accurate information about what makes relationships work. Read more ..