Iowa State University


Harvey Joanning, Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic, (515) 294-5215
Patricia Keoughan, Human Systems Consulting, (515) 964- 5005
Michelle Johnson, News Service, (515) 294-8986


AMES, Iowa -- What do most couples need to chart the course to a successful long-term marriage? A MAPP, according to two Iowa State University professors.

The Marriage As Partners Program (MAPP) was designed by Harvey Joanning, professor of human development and family studies and director of ISU's Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic, and his wife, Patricia Keoughan, adjunct professor of professional studies and a licensed marital and family therapist.

MAPP is designed to give couples the tools they need to address four key issues that contribute to most divorces: Communication, problem solving, money and sexuality. If couples are educated properly, these issues can also play an important role in a long and happy marriage, according to Keoughan.

"In this country, we spend more time educating people on how to drive a car than we do on how to be married," said Joanning, who serves on the Iowa Governor's Task Force on Marriage and Divorce Law Reform.

Joanning and Keoughan both believe educating couples on what to expect around each corner of the marital relationship is key to keeping divorce at bay. MAPP teaches couples what happens at various stages of a relationship and arms them with a set of problem-solving skills to get through those stages, said Joanning.

The first session of the program covers effective communication, such as how to listen attentively and speak directly. Typically, when married couples communicate, women have trouble asking for what they want and men have trouble expressing emotion. True effective communication requires that couples have self-awareness-- that they know what they feel, what they want, and what they are willing to do in the relationship, said Keoughan.

Session two addresses financial management. Couples learn how to manage money together, how to recognize, understand and cope with different styles of money management, and how to save money for retirement.

Problem solving methods are discussed in session three. Couples will learn how to come to an agreement that is mutually acceptable.

In session four, couples learn about the importance of intimacy in a marriage and how to understand the role of sexuality in making a marriage last.

Joanning and Keoughan share more than 25 years of experience in researching long-term relationships and counseling couples. Together they operate Human Systems Consulting, which provides counseling services to couples and families, as well as consulting to organizations on interpersonal relationships and conflict management in the workplace.

Graduate students in ISU's marriage and family therapy program will assist with MAPP.

The program is being offered in four consecutive sessions on Thursdays in October, beginning Oct. 9. For additional information on MAPP, and the location of each session, call Joanning or Keoughan at (515) 964-5005.


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