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Strengthening Couples’ Relationships – ELEVATE (part 3)

May 6, 2022 @ 5:10 am CDT


About this Episode:

In this episode, Dr. Karen Shirer and Dr. Jenny Rea have the privilege of chatting with Dr. Ted Futris, Extension Family Life Specialist and Georgia Athletic Association Professor at the University of Georgia.

This conversation builds upon both the first and second episodes, in which we discussed the National Extension Relationship and Marriage Education Model or NERMEM and Healthy Relationship and Marriage Education Training or HRMET, respectfully. If you missed the first two podcast episodes, be sure to go back and listen to them now before listening to this episode, part three.

This episode centers around the relationship education curriculum, ELEVATE: Taking Your Relationship to the Next Level.   This curriculum was developed in partnership with Dr. Ted Futris and Dr. Francesca Adler-Baeder (Auburn University) based on the NERMEM model. Research on the program has shown its effectiveness in strengthening couple relationships and coparenting.

Dr. Futris discusses ELEVATE’s development and the research that has been done on the program to show its effectiveness. The curriculum is based on the NERMEM’s seven elements (i.e., choose, care for self, know, care, share, manage, and connect) for healthy couple relationships and focuses on skill-building and mindfulness practice. This episode concludes by highlighting how ELEVATE can be adapted to a virtual environment.

Key Takeaways from Part 3:

ELEVATE is an evidence-based, research-informed relationship education curriculum for couples, including those connected with the military. The curriculum’s developers integrated the NERMEM into an 8-session curriculum that can be done in person and virtually.

Simple mindfulness practices are incorporated into the ELEVATE sessions. ELEVATE facilitators have found these practices help participants to better manage their emotions and to focus on the learning process. Listeners will have the opportunity to experience a brief mindfulness practice as well!

Examples of how to use the tools with military couples as well as how to adapt the delivery of the curriculum to a virtual environment are discussed.


NERMEM model

Guest Bio:

Ted FutrisDr. Ted G. Futris is an Extension Family Life Specialist and Georgia Athletic Association Professor in Family and Consumer Sciences, in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at the University of Georgia. Dr. Futris provides statewide and national leadership for Extension programs in family life, with a particular focus on couples and relationship enrichment across the lifespan (

Click here to check out Ted’s full bio.


Contact Information:    [email protected]u

Resources mentioned in the podcast:

Futris, T. G., Adler-Baeder, F., McGill, J., Burke, L., Ketring, S., Smith, T., & Cook, L. A. (2020). ELEVATE: Taking your relationship to the next level. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Extension. Available at

Schramm, D., Futris, T. G., Warzinik, K, & Allen, K. (Eds) (2013). Healthy Relationship and Marriage Education Training Curriculum.Available at

DeMeester, K., Futris, T.G., Richardson, E. W., Simmons, B., & Thompson, J. (2021). Descriptive Evaluation of Elevate and Together We Can in Georgia.Submitted to the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance. Washington, DC. Available at

McGill, J., Adler-Baeder, F., and Gregson, K. (2020). Impact Evaluation of ELEVATE and Couples Connecting Mindfully in Alabama. Submitted to the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance. Washington, DC. Available at

McGill, J., Adler‐Baeder, F. and Garneau‐Rosner, C. (2021). An Evaluation of the ELEVATE Program for Couples: Considering Vulnerabilities and Relationship Length. Family Relations, 70, 327-351.

Cooper, E., Adler‐Baeder, F., & McGill, J. (2021). Individual mental health and couple functioning following couple relationship education participation: exploring prospective cross‐lagged influences among changes. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

Richardson, E. W., Pettit, M., Futris, T. G., & Gale, J. (2021). A latent class analysis of non-relative foster caregivers’ trait mindfulness and individual and relationship outcomes. Journal of Family Psychology. Advanced online publication.

Richardson, E. W., Mallette, J. K., Futris, T. G., Dai, Y., & DeMeester, K. (2021). Foster caregivers’ parenting stress as a moderator of change in coparenting following relationship education. Journal of Family Issues. 35(5), 649–659.


OneOp Resources:

A Close Look at Relationships: Supporting Military Couples (series)

Strengthening Couples’ Relationships – The NERMEM (part1), podcast

Strengthening Couples’ Relationships – The HRMET (part 2), podcast

Strengthening Couples’ Relationships_Podcast Series Flier


This material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Office of Military Family Readiness Policy, U.S. Department of Defense under Award Number 2019-48770-30366. 


May 6, 2022
5:10 am CDT
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A Close Look at Relationships: Supporting Military Couples