The University of Central Florida’s Marriage and Family Research Institute is offering couples a free “spring renewal” on their marriages with a workshop that focuses on building closer, stronger connections to one another.

The workshop will be held on Saturday, March 26, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The workshop at UCF’s main campus is for married couples who have at least one child age 0-18 living at home.

Free child care will be provided for children on a first come first served basis starting at 8:30 a.m. A free hot lunch and snacks also will be provided to workshop participants.

Andrew Daire, Executive Director of UCF Marriage & Family Research Institute, emphasized that the workshop is different from marriage counseling in that the topics are strength-based instead of problem focused.

“In so many aspects of our lives we do things to maintain,” said Daire.  “We service our cars every three months, and we go to the dentist twice a year.  Just as we maintain other aspects of our lives, it is good to invest a day into learning skills to strengthen our marriages.”

Four trained facilitators will lead the workshop, covering a variety of topics such as expressing negative feelings, listening skills and resolving conflict. Throughout the day, couples will practice the techniques in breakout sessions. Individuals will learn to recognize their spouse’s coping style, how to communicate their needs, how to become better listeners and how to better express love and appreciation.

Children will also reap the rewards of the workshop. Research shows that children whose parents have healthy relationships will develop more effective coping skills, attend school more often and achieve better grades.

“Parents serve as models, and there is a lot of research to support the strong influence that parental interaction has on children,” said Daire.

The workshop is a program of The Together Project, a UCF study led by Daire. The project is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Family Assistance.

By registering, workshop participants will be enrolled in The Together Project study. Couples will be asked to complete questionnaires before and after the workshop. They also will be invited to a relationship booster workshop in May, when they will complete follow-up questionnaires.

The UCF Marriage and Family Research Institute is part of the College of Education’s graduate counseling program recently ranked the 12th best in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report. The Institute offers a variety of free services and resources for married and unmarried couples, including individual and couples’ counseling, education workshops and research opportunities.

To RSVP, call 407-823-1748 or visit