Building strong, stable relationships for life

Decades of family studies research shows us that healthy, stable romantic relationships are an important part of individuals’ emotional, physical, and financial wellbeing. 

The University of Maryland Extension offers an array of research-based programs and resources designed to equip teens and adults with the skills to build and maintain stable relationships. All of our programs are educational (not therapy) and can be delivered in live group settings.

Read more below, and contact Dr. Alexander Chan ( to schedule a program or series for your audience.


Relationships during the teenage years are a normative part of development. Romantic relationships during the teen years are one of the many ways that teens learn about who they are. Behavior in teen relationships also sets the stage for behavior in adult relationships. 

Not all teens have healthy role models for romantic relationships. Therefore, it is crucial to provide them with the skills to build healthy relationships, identify and avoid abusive behaviors, and stay on track for academic and future success.

Relationship Smarts

UME utilizes the evidence-based Relationship Smarts curriculum to reach teen audiences. Since 2016, UME has delivered the Relationship Smarts curriculum to young people in middle and high schools, libraries, and places of worship. Teens report positive perceptions of the program, especially the interactive and safe environment that instructors bring to the discussion of sensitive topics.

“Taught me to be more careful about my words and actions” - Teen participant, 2017

“I like how I can talk about stuff that I am not comfortable talking about.” - Teen Participant, 2019

For Parents

UME provides workshops for parents who are interested in learning about current trends in dating among adolescents, as well as parenting strategies related to navigating this part of your teen’s life. 



UME is expanding its relationship education offerings to include adult audiences. We are currently seeking partners to collaborate in implementing the ELEVATE curriculum. ELEVATE is a research-based curriculum that teaches adults the skills to maintain stable marriages and committed relationships. The curriculum includes practical content derived from decades of research by experts such as the Gottmans, as well as innovative content based on mindfulness practices to help couples manage intense emotions.

If you are interested in learning more about ELEVATE or delivering it in your community, contact Dr. Alexander Chan (


TOGETHER: Relationship and Financial Education

TOGETHER Program, a research project with University of Maryland, is a free relationship and financial education program for couples. In TOGETHER's workshops, couples learn skills to improve stress, communication, and money management. TOGETHER also provides connection to community resources and employment agencies, and offers all services in both English and Spanish. Visit for more information and to sign up for an upcoming workshop.