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Smart Marriages Conference

Wow! I spent a week in Atlanta at the 2006 Smart Marriages Conference in June. It was my first one, but the 10th anniversary of this truly remarkable gathering. Organizer Diane Sollee brought together 2,263 people who share the goal of better marriages.

At the conference, I learned from John Gray (Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus), Scott Stanley and Howard Markman (Fighting for Your Marriage), John Van Epp (How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk), John Covey (Director of the Home and Family Division at FranklinCovey Company), Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt (Getting the Love You Want, Imago Therapy), Steven Stosny (You Don't Have to Take It Anymore!), Emerson Eggerichs (Love & Respect), Pat Love (Hot Monogamy), and many, many more. What a delight! If you want to be happily married, you live in the best possible times.

I learned lots about the U.S. government's Healthy Marriage Initiative and met the people responsible for more than $100 million in soon-to-be-awarded grants for promoting healthy marriages. I heard a great deal about grassroots efforts throughout California to promote stronger marriages there. And I talked to many from around the country who hope to follow in their footsteps.

It will be a month or more before I finish all of the books, brochures, pamphlets, CDs, and games I picked up at the conference. Next year's conference will be in Denver, CO. Mark your caledars for June 28 - July 1, 2007 if you'd like to learn how to improve your own marriage, teach research-based marriage skills to others, or just be inspired.

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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