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Stress levels of Australian Couples impacting Physical Health: Wedding Stressors and Engaged Couples – Teach and learn from one another rather than assuming the other “gets it.” (Part 4)

Engaged couples are typically embroiled in the countless details of planning their wedding service and reception. They are also faced with the pressures of a very high price tag.

In many ways, planning a wedding provides the first big set of decisions a couple will make together and tests their ability to function as a team. From finances to family, and communication to conflict, the wedding preparations trigger many of the issues a couple will face throughout their married life providing a symbolic practice field for their relationship.

In looking at PREPARE/ENRICH data, the cost of the wedding is the number 3 overall stressor for engaged couples. Two other items from the wedding items also made the top 10.

Out of the 25 stressors reported by engaged couples:

  • Decisions about wedding details was number 7;
  • Feeling overwhelmed by wedding details was number 10 out of the 25 stressors reported by engaged couples.

Differences and disagreements are as inevitable in wedding planning as they are in marriage itself. This is a good time to learn how to deal with them.

Here are some strategies you might find helpful to work through with your wedding plans or to discuss with the couple you are working with:

4. Teach and learn from one another rather than assuming the other “gets it”.

Sometimes one of you will not see a problem that is quite clear to the other. You can both educate each other about your families and their traditions. For example, the groom from a Catholic family should explain to his Protestant bride what is involved in a traditional Catholic wedding, rather than having surprises keep coming up.

The standard tools of effective communication taught in PREPARE/ENRICH are particularly important when there is tension between couples. Examples are speaking for yourself using “I-statements” rather than attacking the other person, listening to understand before proposing solutions, and choosing the best time and place to talk about difficult matters. Everyday communication patterns might be fine for everyday matters, but when you are negotiating a wedding, it’s good to be at your best!

Tune in for part 5 next week – the top 5 stressors for couples.

Read on for various resources to assist you at this time. Finally, please let us know how you are going in these challenging times.

For more information on the virus and the steps that can be taken to minimise its impact, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.

Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM.

Tune in next week for more discussion about relationships and mental health. 

Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf

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Stress levels of Australian Couples impacting Physical Health: Wedding Stressors and Engaged Couples – consider the big picture (Part 3)

Engaged couples are typically embroiled in the countless details of planning their wedding service and reception. They are also faced with the pressures of a very high price tag. In many ways, planning a wedding provides the first big set of decisions a couple will make together and tests their ability to function as a team.

From finances to family, and communication to conflict, the wedding preparations trigger many of the issues a couple will face throughout their married life providing a symbolic practice field for their relationship.

In looking PREPARE/ENRICH data, the Cost of the wedding is the number 3 overall stressor for engaged couples. Two other items from the wedding items also made the top 10; Decisions about wedding details was number 7, and Feeling overwhelmed by wedding details was number 10 out of the 25 stressors reported by engaged couples.

Differences and disagreements are as inevitable in wedding planning as they are in marriage itself. This is a good time to learn how to deal with them. Here are some strategies you might find helpful to work through with your wedding plans or to discuss with the couple you are working with:

3. Periodically assess your wedding-planning stress and feelings of competency.

If your partner has not followed through on a task they were responsible for, or if you feel better equipped for a particular task, politely offer to help or take over (i.e., “I am interested in photography and have a light work schedule next week. Is it okay if I research a photographer?” ).

The key is to agree together on a shift of responsibility, rather than saying, “Since you won’t do it, I will!” The person who has been relieved of one responsibility should then shift to help with other responsibilities.

The standard tools of effective communication taught in PREPARE/ENRICH are particularly important when there is tension between couples. Examples are speaking for yourself using “I-statements” rather than attacking the other person, listening to understand before proposing solutions, and choosing the best time and place to talk about difficult matters.

Everyday communication patterns might be fine for everyday matters, but when you are negotiating a wedding, it’s good to be at your best! Tune in for part 4 next week.

Read on for various resources to assist you at this time. Finally, please let us know how you are going in these challenging times.

For more information on the virus and the steps that can be taken to minimise its impact, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.

Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM.

Tune in next week for more discussion about relationships and mental health. 

Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf

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Stress levels of Australian Couples impacting Physical Health: Wedding Stressors and Engaged Couples – Ask yourself who cares more about the issue (Part 2)

Engaged couples are typically embroiled in the countless details of planning their wedding service and reception. They are also faced with the pressures of a very high price tag. In many ways, planning a wedding provides the first big set of decisions a couple will make together and tests their ability to function as a team.

From finances to family, and communication to conflict, the wedding preparations trigger many of the issues a couple will face throughout their married life providing a symbolic practice field for their relationship. In looking at the initial data, the Cost of the wedding is the number 3 overall stressor for engaged couples. Two other items from the wedding items also made the top 10; Decisions about wedding details was number 7, and Feeling overwhelmed by wedding details was number 10 out of the 25 stressors reported by engaged couples.

Differences and disagreements are as inevitable in wedding planning as they are in marriage itself. This is a good time to learn how to deal with them. Here are some strategies you might find helpful to work through with your wedding plans or to discuss with the couple you are working with:

2. Ask yourselves who cares more about the issue:

You can decide to gracefully adjust your preference if your partner has strong feelings about an issue. You may prefer a small, intimate wedding but your partner has cherished the family tradition of a large wedding. Try setting a number that gives more to the person who cares the most.

The standard tools of effective communication taught in PREPARE/ENRICH are particularly important when there is tension between couples. Examples are speaking for yourself using “I-statements” rather than attacking the other person, listening to understand before proposing solutions, and choosing the best time and place to talk about difficult matters.

Everyday communication patterns might be fine for everyday matters, but when you are negotiating a wedding, it’s good to be at your best! Tune in for part 3 next week.

Read on for various resources to assist you at this time. Finally, please let us know how you are going in these challenging times.

For more information on the virus and the steps that can be taken to minimise its impact, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.

Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM.

Tune in next week for more discussion about relationships and mental health. 

Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf

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Stress levels of Australian Dating and Engaged Couples impacting Physical Health: Personal Stress

In today’s fast paced society, it is impossible to avoid stress in our lives. Stressors being external events which cause an emotional or physical reaction can be handled in 2 basic ways:

  1. Eliminate the stressor or
  2. Change one’s reaction to stress.

When a stressor cannot be eliminated, it is important to look at how one reacts or copes in response to the stressor. Learning and using healthy coping mechanisms can help individuals respond to stress in healthier ways.

Top 5 Stressors for Dating, Engaged and Married Couples 

Based on results from the first 20,000 couples to complete the PREPARE/ENRICH Couple Assessment, the top 5 stressors for each relationship stage are listed below. Overall, married couples report higher stress levels than dating or engaged couples.

    Dating Couples: Your job, Feeling emotionally upset, Inadequate income, Your partner, Too much to do around the home
    Engaged Couples: Your job, Financial concerns, Cost of wedding, Lack of exercise, Lack of sleep

    Married Couples: Your partner, Your job, Feeling emotionally upset, Inadequate income, Too much to do around the home

Married Couples and Stress 

Note the item rated as the number one stressor by Dating and Engaged couples is Your Partner. This was the number one stressor cited by both the men and women.

Married couples who take PREPARE/ENRICH are often being seen in a counseling context. It is not uncommon for individuals experiencing relational conflict to believe their problems would be solved if their partner would only change. Not only do they believe this, they often express it. Experienced counsellors and relationship educators are used to the finger pointing which often accompanies the initial sessions of relationship education.

Unfortunately, one partner cannot change the other and this approach often leaves individuals disempowered in the relationship. In fact, the more one individual focuses on the other person’s behaviour, the more resentment, anger, and resistance they typically receive in return.

It is much more productive to help these couples work on things that are in their control including the way the speak to one another, the way the resolve conflict, the way each individual chooses to react to their daily stressors and interactions with their partner.

Tune in for part 3 next week – Wedding planning and stress levels.

References:

  • Neff, L.A., and Karney, B.R., (2009). Stress and reactivity to daily relationship experiences: How stress hinders adaptive processes in marriage. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97 (3), 435-450.

By Shane Smith, Director PREPARE-ENRICH, Relationship Educator and Mediator, Secretary, Marriage and Relationship Educators Association of Australia (MAREAA)
Email Secretary@mareaa.asn.au

Read on for various resources to assist you at this time. Finally, please let us know how you are going in these challenging times.

For more information on the virus and the steps that can be taken to minimise its impact, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.

Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM.

Tune in next week for more discussion about relationships and mental health. 

Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf

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Stress levels of Australian Couples impacting Physical Health: Two basic ways to cope with stress

In today’s fast paced society, it is impossible to avoid stress in our lives. A survey of Australian adults found that 1 in 4 respondents reported moderate to severe levels of stress, highest amongst 18-25 and 26-35 age groups. Almost 1 in 5 (17%) reported that current stress levels are having a strong to very strong impact on physical health (Australian Psychological Society, 2014).

Stressors are external events which cause an emotional or physical reaction. The impact of the event depends on whether one views the event as positive or negative. When stress levels are high or chronic, it is common for physical symptoms (headaches, backaches), psychological symptoms (anxiety, anger) and relational issues (conflict, disconnection) to emerge.

There are 2 basic ways to cope with stress:

  1. Eliminate the stressor. Some stressors represent things that are controllable (working too many hours). In some cases, it is possible to make choices that actually eliminate the stressor (change jobs).
  2. Change one’s reaction to stress. When a stressor cannot be eliminated, it is important to look at how one reacts or copes in response to the stressor. Learning and using healthy coping mechanisms can help individuals respond to stress in healthier ways.

Stress and Couples 

A 2009 study of 82 couples demonstrates how high stress levels can negatively impact marriages (Neff & Karney, 2009).

The greater the stress levels, the more strongly partners react to the normal ups and downs of life. In other words, when stress levels are high, we experience perceived stress more intensely.

The study also suggests high stress levels make it more difficult to effectively use one’s positive relationship skills such as communication and conflict resolution abilities.

Finally, couples are more likely to evaluate their relationship negatively when they are experiencing prolonged exposure to stress. High stress negatively colors a couple’s perceptions of their marriage.

References:

Australian Psychologicsl Society (2014): www.psychology.org.au

Neff, L.A., and Karney, B.R., (2009). Stress and reactivity to daily relationship experiences: How stress hinders adaptive processes in marriage. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97 (3), 435-450.

Tune in next week for part 2.

By Shane Smith, Director PREPARE-ENRICH, Relationship Educator and Mediator, Secretary, Marriage and Relationship Educators Association of Australia.
Email president@mareaa.asn.au

Read on for various resources to assist you at this time. Finally, please let us know how you are going in these challenging times. 

For more information on the virus and the steps that can be taken to minimise its impact, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.

Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM.

Tune in next week for more discussion about relationships and mental health. 

Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf

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Unrealistic Expectations: Failure to deal with relevant issues

It may be no surprise that seriously dating and engaged couples are more prone to “agree” or “strongly agree” with statements such as “We are as happy as any couple could possibly be!”

Almost intoxicated by love, engaged couples are often known for being infatuated with one another. They tend to be confident that they’ll never have problems or that existing problems will just fade away with time, they’ll never question their love, never experience a drop in romance, and already know everything there is to know about their partner. They truly are love struck.

The Problem with Unrealistic Expectations 

While the phenomenon of being love struck is quite normal, it can also be a setup when experienced in extremes. There are several problems associated with unrealistic relationship expectations.

    Failure to deal with relevant issues: if you have a tendency to deny and minimise issues or believe that with time issues will be resolved, focus on this area is important. The sum total of these items is avoidance and reluctance to deal with issues. Being proactive, however is more effective than avoidance or waiting until small issues become major problems.
  • A risk for those who believe they’ve found their one true “soul mate” is equating that with the assumption that things will be easy. When they hit the inevitable challenges of marriage, are they tempted to believe that they made a mistake and “the one” must still be out there somewhere? The truth is there are likely several people on this earth with whom one could have a successful relationship.
  • Marriage Expectations is a challenging, yet fun area of discussion for premarital couples, however whilst these couples often have a lot to discuss as they prepare for marriage, healthy dialogue about expectations is critical. The key question for exploration for engaged couples is:

    • “My partner is the only person with whom I could have a happy marriage.”

    Source: Peter Larson, Ph.D. 

    References:

    • Olson, D. H. (2004). PREPARE/ENRICH Counselor’s Manual. Minneapolis: Life Innovations.
    • Slater, L. (2006). True Love. National Geographic. February, 32-49.

    By Shane Smith, Director PREPARE-ENRICH, Relationship Educator and Mediator, President, Marriage and Relationship Educators Association of Australia
    Email president@mareaa.asn.au

    Read on for various resources to assist you at this time. Finally, please let us know how you are going in these challenging times. 

    For more information on the virus and the steps that can be taken to minimise its impact, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.

    Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM.

    Tune in next week for more discussion about relationships and mental health. 

    Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf

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    Unrealistic Expectations: Set up to take a fall, the distance between one’s expectations and reality

    It may be no surprise that seriously dating and engaged couples are more prone to “agree” or “strongly agree” with statements such as “We are as happy as any couple could possibly be!”

    Almost intoxicated by love, engaged couples are often known for being infatuated with one another. They tend to be confident that they’ll never have problems or that existing problems will just fade away with time, they’ll never question their love, never experience a drop in romance, and already know everything there is to know about their partner. They truly are love struck.

    The Problem with Unrealistic Expectations 
    While the phenomenon of being love struck is quite normal, it can also be a setup when experienced in extremes. There are several problems associated with unrealistic marriage expectations.

      Set up to take a fall. It has been said that the distance between one’s expectations and the reality experienced is equal to the hurt and disappointment one will feel. It is not a matter of “if” but “when” reality will set in for couples. Passionate romance always fades or at least changes to something less intense, and all couples face challenges and problems at some point in their marriage.

    Marriage Expectations is a challenging, yet fun area of discussion for premarital couples, however whilst these couples often have a lot to discuss as they prepare for marriage, healthy dialogue about expectations is critical.

    The key question for exploration for engaged couples is:

    • “My partner is the only person with whom I could have a happy marriage.”

    Source: Peter Larson, Ph.D.

    References:

    • Olson, D. H. (2004). PREPARE/ENRICH Counselor’s Manual. Minneapolis: Life Innovations.
    • Slater, L. (2006). True Love. National Geographic. February, 32-49.

    By Shane Smith, Director PREPARE-ENRICH, Relationship Educator and Mediator, President, Marriage and Relationship Educators Association of Australia
    Email president@mareaa.asn.au

    Read on for various resources to assist you at this time. Finally, please let us know how you are going in these challenging times. 

    For more information on the virus and the steps that can be taken to minimise its impact, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.

    Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM.

    Tune in next week for more discussion about relationships and mental health. 

    Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf

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    Unrealistic Expectations: Some couples move too quickly towards engagement and marriage, not allowing themselves time to really get to know one another

    It may be no surprise that seriously dating and engaged couples are more prone to “agree” or “strongly agree” with statements such as “We are as happy as any couple could possibly be!”

    Almost intoxicated by love, engaged couples are often known for being infatuated with one another. They tend to be confident that they’ll never have problems or that existing problems will just fade away with time, they’ll never question their love, never experience a drop in romance, and already know everything there is to know about their partner. They truly are love struck.

    The Problem with Unrealistic Expectations 

    While the phenomenon of being love struck is quite normal, it can also be a setup when experienced in extremes. There are several problems associated with unrealistic marriage expectations.

      Moving too quickly: If You believe that nothing could cause you to question your love and you already know everything there is to know, why wait? Some couples move too quickly towards engagement and marriage, not allowing themselves time to really get to know one another.

    Marriage Expectations is a challenging, yet fun area of discussion for premarital couples, however whilst these couples often have a lot to discuss as they prepare for marriage, healthy dialogue about expectations is critical.

    The key question for exploration for engaged couples is:

    • “My partner is the only person with whom I could have a happy marriage.”

    Source: Peter Larson, Ph.D. 

    References:

    • Olson, D. H. (2004). PREPARE/ENRICH Counselor’s Manual. Minneapolis: Life Innovations.
    • Slater, L. (2006). True Love. National Geographic. February, 32-49.

    By Shane Smith, Director PREPARE-ENRICH, Relationship Educator and MediatorPresident, Marriage and Relationship Educators Association of Australia
    Email president@mareaa.asn.au

    Read on for various resources to assist you at this time. Finally, please let us know how you are going in these challenging times. 

    For more information on the virus and the steps that can be taken to minimise its impact, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.

    Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM.

    Tune in next week for more discussion about relationships and mental health. 

    Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf

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    Unrealistic Expectations: Healthy, open dialogue is required to discuss and wrestle with marriage expectations

    It may be no surprise that seriously dating and engaged couples are more prone to “agree” or “strongly agree” with statements such as “We are as happy as any couple could possibly be!”

    Almost intoxicated by love, engaged couples are often known for being infatuated with one another. They tend to be confident that they’ll never have problems or that existing problems will just fade away with time, they’ll never question their love, never experience a drop in romance, and already know everything there is to know about their partner. They truly are love struck.

    The Problem with Unrealistic Expectations

    Anticipate a Surprise: when reviewing marriage expectations couples are often caught off guard. Asked if “I can share my true feelings with my partner”, sounds good on the surface but often there are underlying issues that interrupt this premise.

    Whilst it is the norm for engaged couples to be love-struck, embracing romanticised notions regarding love and marriage it may even be how humans are designed to function at a physiological level. Healthy, open dialogue is required to discuss and wrestle with marriage expectations.

    One couple, deeply committed to their faith tradition, each spent years praying for the “right person” to enter their life. They met and dated for over a year, and got engaged only after a great deal of counsel and consideration. Believing that God had brought one another into their life, they felt deeply committed to one another. Both families felt very positive about their marriage plans. As a counselor, it would be productive to explore the commitment this couple is feeling.

    A second couple was matched by an online dating service, engaged within a month of meeting one another, and felt they had found their one true “soul mate”. While their families disapproved, they were planning to be married as soon as possible and believed they already knew everything there was to know about one another. As a counselor, you would want to challenge this couple to consider their motivation and expectations.

    Exploring Relationship Expectations is a challenging, yet fun area of discussion for premarital couples, however whilst these couples often have a lot to discuss as they prepare for marriage, healthy dialogue about expectations is critical. The key question for exploration for engaged couples is:

    “My partner is the only person with whom I could have a happy marriage.”

    Source: Peter Larson, Ph.D. 

    References:

    • Olson, D. H. (2004). PREPARE/ENRICH Counselor’s Manual. Minneapolis: Life Innovations.
    • Slater, L. (2006). True Love. National Geographic. February, 32-49.

    By Shane Smith, Director PREPARE-ENRICH, Relationship Educator and MediatorPresident, Marriage and Relationship Educators Association of Australia
    Email president@mareaa.asn.au

    Read on for various resources to assist you at this time. Finally, please let us know how you are going in these challenging times.

    For more information on the virus and the steps that can be taken to minimise its impact, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.

    Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM.

    Tune in next week for more discussion about relationships and mental health. 

    Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf

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    Unrealistic Expectations: Failure to deal with relevant issues

    It may be no surprise that seriously dating and engaged couples are more prone to “agree” or “strongly agree” with statements such as “We are as happy as any couple could possibly be!”

    Almost intoxicated by love, engaged couples are often known for being infatuated with one another. They tend to be confident that they’ll never have problems or that existing problems will just fade away with time, they’ll never question their love, never experience a drop in romance, and already know everything there is to know about their partner. They truly are love struck.

    While the phenomenon of being love struck is quite normal, it can also be a setup when experienced in extremes. There are several problems associated with unrealistic marriage expectations.

    Failure to deal with relevant issues: Several of the items in this category reveal a tendency to deny and minimize issues. One item hints at the notion of time alone resolving issues. Another suggests difficulties experienced prior to marriage will somehow fade after the wedding. A third states it may be easier to change things I don’t like about my partner after marriage. The sum total of these items is avoidance and reluctance to deal with issues. Being proactive, however, is more effective than avoidance or waiting until small issues become major problems.

    It may be the norm for engaged couples to be love-struck, embracing romanticised notions regarding love and marriage or perhaps it may just be that humans are designed to function at a physiological level. Don’t sound the alarms or be overly critical but understand that couples may need to be more realistic about what they should expect from their relationship.

    Relationship Expectations is a challenging, yet fun area of discussion for premarital couples, however whilst these couples often have a lot to discuss as they prepare for marriage, healthy dialogue about expectations is critical. The key question for exploration for engaged couples is:

    • “My partner is the only person with whom I could have a happy marriage.”

    by Peter Larson, Ph.D.

    References:

    • Olson, D. H. (2004). PREPARE/ENRICH Counselor’s Manual. Minneapolis: Life Innovations.
    • Slater, L. (2006). True Love. National Geographic. February, 32-49.

    By Shane Smith, Director PREPARE-ENRICH, Relationship Educator and MediatorPresident, Marriage and Relationship Educators Association of Australia
    Email president@mareaa.asn.au

    Read on for various resources to assist you at this time. Finally, please let us know how you are going in these challenging times. 

    For more information on the virus and the steps that can be taken to minimise its impact, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.

    Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM.

    Tune in next week for more discussion about relationships and mental health. 

    Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf

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    International Women’s Day 2021: #ChooseToChallenge

    International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

    The International Women’s Day 2021 campaign theme is #ChooseToChallenge

    At MAREAA we have a rich heritage of supporting couples in all their diversity, across the life span, considering the various differences couples face including roles and gender, helping couples strengthen and enrich their relationships.

    As a facilitator, today we ask you to consider your #ChooseToChallenge and choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and challenge bias and inequality by:

    • Encouraging couples to talk and listening to each other’s opinions and feelings;
    • Enabling conflict to play out without insult or abuse;
    • Questioning assumptions about women with couples;
    • Challenging statements that limit women;
    • Ensuring the use of inclusive language; and 
    • Calling out controlling or manipulative behaviours.

     Individually, we’re one drop but together we’re an ocean. Commit to a “gender parity mindset” via progressive action. Let’s all collaborate to accelerate gender parity, so our collective action powers equality worldwide.

    For more help, referrals, and information on abuse, please visit or refer the following: 

    1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732

    24 hour national sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.

    Call toll-free 1800 737 732.
    Visit website

    #strongerrelationships

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    Unrealistic expectations: Set up to take a fall

    It may be no surprise that seriously dating and engaged couples are more prone to “agree” or “strongly agree” with statements such as “We are as happy as any couple could possibly be!”

    While the phenomenon of being love struck is quite normal, it can also be a setup when experienced in extremes. There are several problems associated with unrealistic marriage expectations.

    Set up to take a fall: It has been said that the distance between one’s expectations and the reality experienced is equal to the hurt and disappointment one will feel. It is not a matter of “if” but “when” reality will set in for couples. Passionate romance always fades or at least changes to something less intense, and all couples face challenges and problems at some point in their marriage.

    It may be the norm for engaged couples to be love-struck, embracing romanticised notions regarding love and marriage or perhaps it may just be that humans are designed to function at a physiological level. Don’t sound the alarms or be overly critical but understand that couples may need to be more realistic about what they should expect from their relationship.

    Relationship Expectations is a challenging, yet fun area of discussion for premarital couples, however whilst these couples often have a lot to discuss as they prepare for marriage, healthy dialogue about expectations is critical. The key question for exploration for engaged couples is:

    • “My partner is the only person with whom I could have a happy marriage.”

    by Peter Larson, Ph.D.

    Tune in next week for part 3.

    References: Olson, D. H. (2004). PREPARE/ENRICH Counselor’s Manual. Minneapolis: Life Innovations.
    Slater, L. (2006). True Love. National Geographic. February, 32-49.

    Source: Peter Larson, Ph.D. 
    References: Olson, D. H. (2004). PREPARE/ENRICH Counselor’s Manual. Minneapolis: Life Innovations.
    Slater, L. (2006). True Love. National Geographic. February, 32-49.

    Marriage Expectations is a challenging, yet fun area of discussion for premarital couples, however whilst these couples often have a lot to discuss as they prepare for marriage, healthy dialogue about expectations is critical. The key question for exploration for engaged couples is:

    • “My partner is the only person with whom I could have a happy marriage.”

    Source: Peter Larson, Ph.D. 

    References:

    Olson, D. H. (2004). PREPARE/ENRICH Counselor’s Manual. Minneapolis: Life Innovations.

    Slater, L. (2006). True Love. National Geographic. February, 32-49.

    By Shane Smith, Director PREPARE-ENRICH, Relationship Educator and MediatorPresident, Marriage and Relationship Educators Association of Australia
    Email president@mareaa.asn.au

    Read on for various resources to assist you at this time. Finally, please let us know how you are going in these challenging times. 

    For more information on the virus and the steps that can be taken to minimise its impact, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.

    Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM.

    Tune in next week for more discussion about relationships and mental health. 

    Join us at www.mareaa.asn.au or sign up to our Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bRigGf