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Couples can get their relationships checked out next week at the Couples Checkup Conference at New Life Church in La Plata.

The conference, scheduled for Oct. 19 and 20, will feature Ron Deal, a marriage and family therapist and author, who will conduct sessions to assess and provide prescriptions for better relationships.

Deal is the founder and president of As for Me and My House Ministries, which provides marriage and family training to churches and communities nationwide. Deal was a researcher for “The Couples Checkup,” co-authored “The Remarriage Checkup” and wrote “The Smart Stepfamily: Seven Steps to a Healthy Family.”

Before the conference, couples will complete an online relationship inventory that will detail the couples’ strengths and growth areas. Couples will receive their individual results, which will remain confidential.

The conference will be tailored to the needs of the registered couples based on a composite of the inventory’s results, Deal said.

The Oct. 19 session, which starts at 7 p.m., will focus on “Finding Strength for Your Marriage,” and the Oct. 20 session, starting at 8:30 a.m., will focus on “Living Your Prescription Strength.”

Deal said the conference is like a GPS system: the inventory tells where a relationship is, and the sessions give a destination for relationships.

“The weekend will identify where you are and will identify the steps you need to get to where you want to be,” Deal said.

The conference also will integrate Christian faith teachings with research conducted on more than 200,000 couples focused on finding the key elements that predict strong and successful marriages, Deal said.

“When was the last time you had a dental checkup? When was the last time you had an oil change? When was the last time you got a health checkup? When was the last time you made a checkup on your relationship? Most of these we do frequently, but the last one we hardly ever do,” Deal said.

Registration for the conference is open until Oct. 18, though registration for child care has closed. Registration forms are available at by clicking on the events tab.

The conference costs $49 per person and $98 per couple, and includes the cost of the inventory. Participants who already have registered will receive a coursebook for the conference, though those wishing to register might receive coursebooks depending on availability.

The conference’s coordinators, the Rev. Dr. Aaron Rummage and his wife, Kathy Rummage, are looking forward to the checkup.

“We’re vitally interested in building up marriages and strengthening couples,” said Aaron Rummage, the congregational care and counseling pastor at New Life Church.

“We are hoping to prepare people to be proactive in their marriages, [and] in their relationships. It’s a preparation and also a checkup and an examination,” he said.

“The investment of time in this one weekend will pay them back with many great rewards in weekends in the future. It is an investment in their relationship, and I hope it will pay dividends,” Deal said.

To learn more

The Couples Checkup Conference will take place 7-9:30 p.m. Oct. 19 and 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 20 at New Life Church, 9690 Shepherds Creek Place, La Plata. Doors open at 6 p.m. Oct. 19 and 8 a.m. Oct. 20. Registration costs $49 per person and $98 per couple, and forms are available at or at the church’s information area.

A voucher code will be provided for the online inventory upon registration. The conference will be tailored based on a composite of inventories received by Oct. 9. Registration for the conference is open until Oct. 18, though registration for child care is closed.

For more information, call Aaron Rummage at 240-682-2721 or email