Health & Wellness

Stronger Relationships, Better Lives - USU Extension Professor Focuses on Relationship Education

Research suggests that love and intimacy impact quality of life more than any other factor, including diet, exercise, stress or genetics.

By Shelby Ruud-Jarman |

Naomi Brower, center, recently delivered her Inaugural Professor lecture. She is pictured with Margie Memmott, (left) USU Extension home and community department director, and Ken White, (right) USU Extension vice president.

We are constantly bombarded with information on how to make our lives better through the latest fad diet or exercise regime – but what about improving our lives by better connecting with those closest to us? Research suggests that love and intimacy impact quality of life more than any other factor, including diet, exercise, stress or genetics. 

That’s why Utah State University Extension professor Naomi Brower is passionate about relationship education.

“Relationships are the basis of our lives,” she said. “My ultimate goal is to help others improve the quality of their lives through creating and strengthening their relationships with others.”

Brower, while speaking to colleagues and friends gathered to hear her Inaugural Lecture as a new full professor, detailed some of the relationship-focused programs she’s implemented during the 12 years she has worked for USU Extension.

Since relationships that start out strong and healthy have a better chance of staying that way, Brower knew she wanted to be a resource for those currently in the dating pool. This led her to begin offering the “How to Avoid Falling for a Jerk or Jerkette” program. This free, research-based course is available to single people and teaches them what to look for in healthy relationships. The “How to Avoid Falling for a Jerk or Jerkette” program has been held in cities and towns all over Utah, helping thousands of single people prepare for a future healthy relationship.

For those already in relationships, Brower has spearheaded events such as the Northern Utah Marriage Celebration and Date Your Mate date nights. These events focus on hands-on application of marriage-enhancement principles such as trust, communication and commitment in a fun environment, with participants noting that the events were as useful to them as several sessions of couples’ counseling.

Brower also co-authored the award-winning Marriage Survival curriculum that focuses on strengthening and protecting marriage and couple relationships through learning about commitment, communication and financial harmony. This curriculum is just one of the many relationship-focused publications she has been recognized for.

A true expert in her field, Brower has appeared on television and radio shows and in blogs, newsletters and newspapers, sharing relationship advice and resources to an even broader audience. She is also featured in multiple self-produced USU Extension YouTube videos, discussing such topics as “How to Keep Relationships Strong” and “How to Increase Fun in Relationships.” One of Brower’s long-term goals is to develop even more online relationship resources, making relationship education accessible to all.

To learn more about USU Extension relationship education resources, visit


Shelby Ruud-Jarman
Student Writer
College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences


Naomi Brower
Associate Professor
USU Extension


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