MREC Articles to help you…


Why Date Nights?

At the Marriage and Relationship Education Center (MREC) we make it a practice to celebrate marriage. Our mission is to serve the community with relationship education so marriages and families thrive. With National Marriage Week USA just around the corner, we are upping the ante, looking for special ways to help others celebrate their union and make marriage a priority.

The national celebration, from February 7 to 14, is a collaborative campaign designed to strengthen individual marriages and reduce divorce rates, fortifying family and community. MREC is joining the celebration by kick-starting our Date Night Escapes series, which will offer numerous fun and reasonably-priced opportunities for couples to spend time together in 2017.

Date Nights add pizzazz to a relationship with activities designed to promote friendship and romance. In the past we’ve hosted a night in the mall with entertainment and door prizes, miniature golf, and more. Our upcoming Date Night offers glow bowling, music, food and date night tips at a nominal cost.

Studies show that couple time enhances communication, solidifies commitment and offers parents time alone, offering an exciting way to de-stress. Claudia and Dave Arp, authors of numerous books about marriage, say healthy, growing marriage relationships require friendship, fun, and romance.

“We believe that great dates are more than going to see a movie and tuning out the world for a while,” the Arps write. “They involve communication with one another, reviving the spark that initially ignited your fire, and developing mutual interests and goals that are not focused on your careers or your children. Great dates can revitalize your relationship!”

Sadly, a “Redbook” survey of readers found that 45 percent of couples “rarely” have date nights. Only 18 percent said they manage to go out around once a month. Some readers admitted they were waiting for the other one in the relationship to initiate a date. MREC is making it easier to initiate and hoping couples will bring their own Date Nights back, which will rekindle the fire at home.

Marriage works. According to stats posted by, married people are happier, live longer, and enjoy more economic security. Children with married parents perform better in school. Keeping marriages strong benefits communities as well as individual families. 

Back to School Stress: Face it head on with these organizational tips!

Lois Szymanski

After the long lazy days of summer, it is sometimes hard to get back into a school routine. And if it's difficult for us to get into the swing of things, imagine how hard it is for young children.  Here are some tips to help your family stay on track throughout the school season.

  1. Hang a family bulletin board with to-do items under each child’s name. A felt-board works great for this, but a regular bulletin board works, too. Make it extra special by cutting out giant check-marks that children can put beside their completed chores.

  2. A clean, neat, designated homework station with proper supplies makes it easier for a child to concentrate on his take-home work. Add a hook nearby for a backpack and keep an easy-to-read calendar on the wall with important homework assignments and school trip dates. And if your child comes home alone, you may want to add a hook for the house key, so he or she always knows where to find it.

  3. An after-school snack basket is a great way to offer your child the quick boost he may need after a long day at school, with healthy alternatives that you choose. Fill it with fruits and other healthy foods.

  4. Plan ahead. Parents who have lunches planned at least a week in advance and have them packed the day before are able to check school lunch stress off their list. And if your child hasn’t learned to match clothing yet, it helps to group clothing sets together. My daughter lays out zip-lock bags with the day of the week written on the outside of each bag and matching outfits inside each bag, planning out one week at a time.

  5. Keep a School-Year-Binder in a handy spot, where it's easy to find important papers, like school lunch calendars, the class syllabus, class trip information and permission slips. Use tab dividers to organize papers and make them easier to find.

  6. The family dinner hour is always important, but it takes precedence after school starts. Kids need to know they can rely on a satisfying meal together, with the opportunity to take a deep breath and join in family conversation. Here is where they will share school concerns, stories and information. Go around the table and have each person name three good things about their day. Kids need this time to be debriefed, share a laugh, and to focus on the positive.

  7. In all the hustle and bustle of school and work, don’t forget your weekly date nights. Couple time is important. After all, that’s where it all began!

There you have it!  Let's all make back-to-school time a little less stressful.