See Sample Certificates and presentation letters below.
Wedding Gift Certificates - eyes on the prize.
Engagment Gifts - All engaged couples should add a marriage education course to their registry.
There is nothing more romantic than to find the one you love and walk hand-and-hand
into a class to learn how to make that love last 'til death you do part'.
Bridal Shower Idea:
Hi Diane, I went shopping today for a bridal shower gift -- things are expensive these days.
The saleslady showed me an affordableglass pitcher on the couple's registry.  I bought it,
came home & went to the "Marriage Quotes" section of the Smart Marriages website. 
I cut & pasted my favorite quotes and printed them on colored paper, cut them into individual strips and
filled up the glass pitcher.  It only took me about 15 minutes. I added a card that suggested they
pull out a quote from time-to-time. I'm sure the words of wisdom will help this young couple throughout their
marriage journey.
Laurie Spellmeyer, St Louis, Mo

Letter from Gramps - on a mission. He skipped the certificate and just sent a letter.
New Baby - There is nothing better to give a new baby than a gift to help its parents
have a happy, long-lasting marriage – one he or she can relax into.

Three ways we can change the marriage culture, one family at a time.


We're heading into peak wedding season, and I want to remind you to
give marriage education classes as wedding gifts. Also, be sure you offer
Gift Certificates on your web sites and brochures. I'll reprint here
the email I sent last time I encouraged you to do this:

A gift certificate for a marriage education class is the ONLY wedding gift
I've given for the past 13 years. I don't care what age the couple - I always
give a marriage education course. (I got tired of giving china, crystal,
silver and wondering who got it in the divorce. I decided I had to do
something different...something that might help them build a lasting
marriage.) It's fine to give a premarital education course, but I more often
suggest they take the course AFTER the wedding, after the
commotion dies down and real life sets in and they're establishing their
famiy and marital habits and patterns.

I give the couple a gold picture frame with a certificate for a weekend
marriage education class. I include a note explaining that the frame is
gold to remind them of their goal - their golden wedding anniversary. That
they should put their wedding picture in it and put it in a place where they
will see it every day to remind them of this long term goal - that the
frame's intended final use is to someday frame their 50th
Anniversary photo.

I suggest that they should take the course in the first six months after
their wedding. It's paid for - and it's good for a year. That first six months is
when their marital habits will get established, so is the optimal time.

I also suggest that they take a refresher course every few years
on their anniversary. That way they're more likely to get the most joy
out of those 50 years. I tell them there are lots of different courses and
variety will be the spice of their success.

A marriage education class also makes a great "new baby", engagement, or retirement gift.
There's nothing better to give a new baby than a gift to help its parents
have a happy, long-lasting marriage. And empty-nesters can use the course to
tune things up and be sure they make the most out of their marriage in the
golden years.

We should encourage all couples to add a marriage education course to their
bridal registry and encourage bridal salons and bridal fairs to promote this

You can split the cost of the gift certificate with friends or family - with
anyone that truly loves the couple.

I'd appreciate it if others would
send me samples of their gift certificate language and ideas. - diane sollee, smartmarriages

Here are "sample"engagement, wedding, anniversary, baby gift certificates to get you started.

Contact the program nearest you for details, dates, prices and suggestions. See the
Directory of Programs to find a course.

The marriage education programs will help you with gift ideas - Classes, Books, DVDs, etc.-
the gift that keeps on giving.

This Certificate entitles
Jane Jones and Peter Smith
A Prevention & Relationship Enhancement (PREP)
One Saturday (10 am - 6pm) and two following
Thursday nights (6-9pm)

To schedule your class call
The Marriage Works Center at XXXXX

Research finds that the key difference between
couples that stay happily married
and those that don’t is not about beauty, passion,
success or good intentions - it's also not about how many disagreements they have.
In fact, happy couples and those that divorce
have the same number of disagreements.
The difference is in how they manage those disagreements.
The PREP skills will help you reach your goals,
keep the romance, passion and satisfaction in your marriage alive,
and help you stay best friends forever
- or at least for the first fifty years.

This Certificate entitles

Elaine and Brad Smith
A Couples Relationship Enhancement Weekend

All relationships face challenges and conflicts inevitably arise.
The key is how well you can meet the challenges and resolve the conflicts.
This class will give you the tools to succeed.
The nine Relationship Enhancement skills
will become part of your marriage,
and help you achieve your goals.

Courses are scheduled monthly.
Call the National Institute of Relationship Enhancement

Bethesda, Maryland 301-986-1479 to make reservations.

This Certificate entitles

Stacey and Moses Jones
A PAIRS Couples Weekend

Now that you'll be parents, you need, more than
ever, the skills to make your marriage
solid, stable, satisfying and successful.

Give your new baby the most precious gift of all,
a marriage he/she can relax into.

Courses offered monthly, call 888-724-7748
or visit to find a course near you.

Letter from Gramps:

Dearest XXX,
I am delighted about your engagement. However, I am also aware of our family's dismal marriage record.
I would like to give you the gift of attending several marriage education seminars. I am asking you to
attend several, in part, because I'd like you to be as well-equipped on your marriage journey as possible
and, in part because, as the oldest grandchild, I'd like to ask you to rate the courses so I have a better idea
of which ones to recommend to your sisters and cousins. I expect they'll also be heading toward the altar
in the not too distant future. I've found two in our area that I'm told are highly regarded. These should get
us started. You call and register and ask them to call me to arrange payment.

Relationship Enhancement Weekend in Bethesda, MD at the National Institute for Relationship
Enhancement (NIRE). They have a weekend Jan 27-28. 301-986-1479. I think it's $350 or so per couple.

A 4-hour PAIRS program for premarital couples in Reston, VA on Sun Feb 25th from 1 - 5pm. $85 per couple.

I want you to assure both of you that I'm told these are not "group therapy/counseling/touchy feely"
kinds of seminars but are educational classes, like drivers ed, parenting ed classes. They teach you
pointers/skills based on new solid research on how to "do marriage". I'm told even men enjoy them.

This is all stuff that is completely ignored in our education system, and is not "taught" by parents who,
themselves, are not GOOD role models (I was NOT a good one for your mother). Children that don't
grow up with good marriage role models just are not prepared to see the way to resolve the inevitable
problems of intimate relationships. I didn't have those role models either, and neither did MY mother,
(your great-grandmother). Hence our miserable record.

You may be far better equipped than most people as a result of your fantastic education. However, I
ask that you forgive me for all of my fussing, and go along with this experiment. Someone has to
break the vicious cycle in this family, and I want you to be the first person of either gender in four
generations of our branch of the family to not end up with a divorce!

Attending these classes are a very early step you can take in understanding where some future fabulous
times and frictions will very likely come from. Give this your best - these classes are VERY important
for your understanding of yourself and each other.

With all my heartfelt love, gramps


Each of you can implement these in your own family - they spread like wildfire out to the grassroots of your extended family, friends, colleagues, congregations:  

1) Celebrate wedding anniversaries in a BIG way. In the olden days before antibiotics and modern medicine, it was a big deal to reach each birthday milestone.  We can now take birthdays more for granted, and in our times with a 50% divorce rate, it makes more sense to celebrate wedding anniversary milestones. So celebrate your own and your adult children's wedding anniversaries EACH year - don't wait till 25th or 50th.  Parties, big gifts, big TAH DAHs.  Give this strong marriage message to your kids, grandkids, community.   

2) Give marriage education courses as engagement, wedding, new baby gifts.

3) Establish a Grandparents Week where you babysit your grandkids but make it clear that the purpose is to give their parents a "romantic week" to renew their honeymoon spirit.  Or, do a weekend or two if that's all you can manage.  The message is what's important.  I try to make it 10 days to two weeks, partly because a week is never long enough for this Gramma and my five grandkids.  I can attest to the fact that my married adult children look forward to this all year and tell me how great it is for their marriage. And, the kids definitely get the "romantic marriage message".    


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