Program LogoHealthy Marriage and Relationship Education for Youth

Relationships, Education, Advancement, and Development for Youth for Life (READY4Life)

Youth at school

The majority of first romantic relationships occur during adolescence, and the experiences of these early dating relationships can both positively and negatively influence professional, peer, and romantic relationships later in life (Carver et al., 2003; Simpson et al., 2017; Collins et al., 2009). Research indicates that adolescents often do not have the necessary knowledge and skills to recognize and develop healthy relationships and avoid unhealthy relationships (Gardener & Steinberg, 2005; Giordano, et al., 2019; Guzman et al., 2009).

OFA identifies these elements of Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education (HMRE) programming—Relationships, Education, Advancement, and Development—as key ingredients to prepare Youth for Life (READY4Life).

Currently, OFA funds 25 organizations across the country to provide a broad array of healthy marriage promotion services designed to support healthy relationships and marriage, including the value of marriage in future family formation and skills-based healthy relationship and marriage education to youth in high school (grades 9-12), high-school-aged youth (ages 14-17), and/or youth in late adolescence to early adulthood (ages 18-24). The READY4Life grantees support a range of activities including:

  • Education in High Schools – Education in high schools on the value of marriage, relationship skills, and budgeting.
  • Marriage and Relationship Education/Skills (MRES) – Marriage education, marriage skills, and relationship skills programs that may include parenting skills, financial management, conflict resolution, and job and career advancement.
  • Public Advertising Campaigns – Public advertising campaigns on the value of marriage and the skills needed to increase marital stability and health.


Carver, K., Joyner, K. & Udry, J. R. (2003). National estimates of adolescent romantic relationships. In Florsheim, Paul (Ed.), Adolescent romantic relations and sexual behavior: Theory, research and practical implications (pp. 23-56).

Collins, W. A., Welsh, D.P., & Furman W. (2009) Adolescent romantic relationships Visit disclaimer page . Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 631-652. 

Gardner, M., & Steinberg, L. (2005). Peer Influence on Risk Taking, Risk Preference, and Risky Decision Making in Adolescence and Adulthood: An Experimental Study Visit disclaimer page . Developmental Psychology, 41(4), 625–635.

Guzma, L., Ikramullah, E., Manlove, J., Peterson, K., & Scarupa, H.J. (2009). Telling it like it is: Teen perspectives on romantic relationships. Research Brief. 2009-44. Child Trends.

Kaufman-Parks, A.M., Longmore, M.A., & Giordano, P.C. (2019). Inducing jealousy and intimate partner violence among young adults Visit disclaimer page . Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 36(9), 2802-2823.

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