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The Two Faces of Commitment: Acknowledging expectations is the first step to managing them effectively in your relationship

Commitment is crucial and an essential ingredient in the recipe for marital success, relationship satisfaction, as well as trust in longevity. Commitment is pledging yourself to each other by word, action and giving up or making choices. However, couples often struggle with commitment due to disenchanted, resentfulness, experiencing conflict or having ‘grass is greener’ visions.

When couples stop acting on commitment in their relationship, they can get off track (something we never dream of when we first get together). The success of a relationship is a strong sound friendship with our partner, staying deeply committed to each other and the partnership so that we can continually build a strong emotional bank account.

Unfulfilled expectations often become the source of conflict because preconceived notion distorts the actual experience.

Acknowledging expectations is the first step to managing them effectively in your relationship. Once you and your partner both know each other’s expectations, adjustments can be made based on the how realistic they are. In doing this, it’s important to remember not to compromise the integrity of your original expectations. Instead restate them to better set you and your partner up for success.

In practice:

Wanting and expecting your relationship to stand the test of time:

  • Believe in a long-term future together, even in conflict or the hard times.
  • Don’t make threats or ‘out-plans’ when it’s not going well.
  • Have a support system that agrees that marriage is for life and that you can achieve this.

I believe we can expect great things in our marriage when commitment, love and skill work together. Sure, there are times in our lives when we have to concentrate on some of these areas specifically or seek support to help us overcome challenges but with support and understanding, we can all enjoy the blessings of a strong and committed partnership.

I hope these tools prove useful and help you enrich your relationship. If you would like further reading on commitment, please contact me on 4979 1370 or robyn.donnelly@mn.catholic.org.au.

by Robyn Donnelly
Co-ordinator, Marriage & Relationship Education CatholicCare and Secretary and NSW Representative MAREAA.

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 Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

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

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The Two Faces of Commitment: Strengthen and preserve your identity, make time for each other, have rituals, be friends, talk, walk and listen

Commitment is crucial and an essential ingredient in the recipe for marital success, relationship satisfaction, as well as trust in longevity. Commitment is pledging yourself to each other by word, action and giving up or making choices. However, couples often struggle with commitment due to disenchanted, resentfulness, experiencing conflict or having ‘grass is greener’ visions.

When couples stop acting on commitment in their relationship, they can get off track (something we never dream of when we first get together). The success of a relationship is a strong sound friendship with our partner, staying deeply committed to each other and the partnership so that we can continually build a strong emotional bank account.

It’s critical to nurture closeness and intimacy in your relationship, but don’t forget to maintain your own sense of independence and identity. Through open and overt communication with your partner, seek to find an appropriate balance.

In practice:

Make time for yourself and time for each other, have rituals, be friends, talk, walk and listen:

  • Strengthen and preserve your identity.
  • Think about yourselves as ”WE” and support each other’s hopes and dreams.
  • Talk about long term goals, make decisions together, develop a shared vision for your future.

Make Sacrifices:

  • Put off or postpone things to benefit your relationship.
  • Look for the joy that comes from choosing to do something that will make your partner happy.
  • Don’t tally and count what you do and what they don’t.

I believe we can expect great things in our marriage when commitment, love and skill work together. Sure, there are times in our lives when we have to concentrate on some of these areas specifically or seek support to help us overcome challenges but with support and understanding, we can all enjoy the blessings of a strong and committed partnership.

I hope these tools prove useful and help you enrich your relationship. If you would like further reading on commitment, please contact me on 4979 1370 or robyn.donnelly@mn.catholic.org.au.

by Robyn Donnelly
Co-ordinator, Marriage & Relationship Education CatholicCare and Secretary and NSW Representative MAREAA.

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 Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

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

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The Two Faces of Commitment: Commitment in partnership will grow when partners witness personal dedication and commitment to their relationship

Pre-marriage programs, inventory workshops and enhance programs for married couples, each consider the true meaning and purpose of commitment.

Commitment is crucial and an essential ingredient in the recipe for marital success, relationship satisfaction, as well as trust in longevity. Commitment is pledging yourself to each other by word, action and giving up or making choices. However, couples often struggle with commitment due to disenchanted, resentfulness, experiencing conflict or having ‘grass is greener’ visions.

When couples stop acting on commitment in their relationship, they can get off track (something we never dream of when we first get together). The success of a relationship is a strong sound friendship with our partner and we need to stay deeply committed to each other and the partnership so that we can continually build a strong emotional bank account.

What Grows Commitment?

Commitment in partnership is a dynamic force and it will grow when partners:

  • Enjoy being together;
  • Each feel appreciated, loved and valued;
  • Witness personal dedication and commitment to their relationship; and
  • See their partner investing in their relationship and when they too show investment.

In most relationships, commitment can be looked at as a symbol of security; when they share a deep sense of security they will feel safer and are more willing to show and strengthen their own personal dedication. So what are the keys to staying personally committed?

Making the right choices for the relationship and your partner:

  • Making your partner and your relationship a priority! This means you have to say no to some people and other responsibilities.
  • Choose to show personal dedication – make “we” choices and see the positives in your partner more often than scanning for the negatives.

I believe we can expect great things in our marriage when commitment, love and skill work together. Sure, there are times in our lives when we have to concentrate on some of these areas specifically or seek support to help us overcome challenges but with support and understanding, we can all enjoy the blessings of a strong and committed partnership.

I hope these tools prove useful and help you enrich your relationship. If you would like further reading on commitment, please contact me on 4979 1370 or robyn.donnelly@mn.catholic.org.au.

by Robyn Donnelly
Co-ordinator, Marriage & Relationship Education CatholicCare and Secretary and NSW Representative MAREAA.

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 Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

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

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The Two Faces of Commitment: (2) Over time relationships can find themselves in trouble, with only Constraint Commitment holding it together

Pre-marriage programs, inventory workshops and enhance programs for married couples, each consider the true meaning and purpose of commitment.

With this in mind, the research on commitment by Dr Scott Stanley is an excellent area to cover with couples preparing for or enriching marriage (for further reading refer to Dr Stanley’s publications “12 Hours to a Great Marriage” and the “Power of Commitment”).

Commitment is crucial and an essential ingredient in the recipe for marital success, relationship satisfaction, as well as trust in longevity. Commitment is pledging yourself to each other by word, action and giving up or making choices. However, couples often struggle with commitment due to disenchanted, resentfulness, experiencing conflict or having ‘grass is greener’ visions.

When couples stop acting on commitment in their relationship, they can get off track (something we never dream of when we first get together). The success of a relationship is a strong sound friendship with our partner and we need to stay deeply committed to each other and the partnership so that we can continually build a strong emotional bank account.

Dr Scott Stanley speaks of two faces of commitment:

  1. Personal dedication; and
  2. Constraint commitment

This week: Constraint Commitment is the type of commitment referred to one enforced by circumstances.

An example: Jane is committed to her organisation and her skills only match this particular organisation. She has huge responsibilities outside her work and needs the money. She is not personally fulfilled by her role and is often unappreciated for the work she does.

How Commitment Erodes
Lack of enjoyment or appreciation of the other can erode commitment. One of the biggest causes of dissatisfaction is conflict or unfilled expectations. When conflict isn’t handled well, marital satisfaction declines and with it goes personal dedication. When couples feel little commitment and that they don’t have a partner who understands them and supports them, they stop helping each other and stop doing things to make each other happy. Over time relationships can find themselves in trouble, with only constraint commitment holding it together. In this situation, partners can journey their relationship on autopilot – just being, not doing. The person with the lest commitment has the most power.

Commitment can also erode when both partners continue to show dedication but neither one notices the other’s efforts, or life becomes so busy or distracted that they take the other for granted. When couples experience this they can take the ‘grass is greener’ view and the relationship is open to emotional or physical affairs. Unfortunately, the partner with the least commitment has the most power.

I hope these tools prove useful and help you enrich your relationship. If you would like further reading on commitment, please contact me on 4979 1370 or robyn.donnelly@mn.catholic.org.au.

by Robyn Donnelly
Co-ordinator, Marriage & Relationship Education CatholicCare and Secretary and NSW Representative MAREAA.

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 Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

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

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The Two Faces of Commitment: (1) Personal dedication refers to the promise and actions to fulfil your promise to maintain and improve your relationship

Pre-marriage programs, inventory workshops and enhance programs for married couples consider the true meaning and purpose of commitment.

With this in mind, the research on commitment by Dr Scott Stanley is an excellent area to cover with couples preparing for, or enriching marriage (for further reading refer to Dr Stanley’s publications “12 Hours to a Great Marriage” and the “Power of Commitment”).

Commitment is crucial and an essential ingredient in the recipe for marital success, relationship satisfaction, as well as trust in longevity. Commitment is pledging yourself to each other by word, action and giving up or making choices. However, couples often struggle with commitment due to disenchanted, resentfulness, experiencing conflict or having ‘grass is greener’ visions.

When couples stop acting on commitment in their relationship, they can get off track (something we never dream of when we first get together). The success of a relationship is a strong sound friendship with our partner and we need to stay deeply committed to each other and the partnership so that we can continually build a strong emotional bank account. 

Dr Scott Stanley speaks of two faces of commitment:

  1. Personal dedication; and
  2. Constraint commitment

Personal dedication refers to the promise and actions to fulfil your promise to maintain and improve a relationship for the mutual benefit and satisfaction for both parties. It goes well beyond simply being there in the relationship but actively:

  • Doing what it takes to increase its quality;
  • Investing in and sacrificing for it;
  • Linking it to personal goals; and
  • Seeking to improve your own welfare and that of your partner.

An example: Mary is sure she is dedicated and committed to the company she works for, she enjoys the people, believes in the company values and is treated well and is respected. Mary puts in energy and enthusiasm by turning up early and giving it her all, often going beyond what is required by her. She really enjoys her work.

I believe we can expect great things in our relationships when commitment, love and skill work together. Sure, there are times in our lives when we have to concentrate on some of these areas specifically or seek support to help us overcome challenges but with support and understanding, we can all enjoy the blessings of a strong and committed partnership.

Tune in for part 2 next week on Constraint Commitment.

I hope these tools prove useful and help you enrich your relationship. If you would like further reading on commitment, please contact me directly on (02) 4979 1370 or robyn.donnelly@mn.catholic.org.au.

by Robyn Donnelly
Co-ordinator, Marriage & Relationship Education CatholicCare and Secretary and NSW Representative MAREAA.

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 Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

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

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Balance: Clarify values and your commitment, dedicating time to study, faith and/or meditation

We are all in a state of entropy and only consistent and continued refinement and attention to Physical, Intellectual, Social and our Spiritual selves is vital to retain balance. To ensure an upward spiral of growth, change, and continuous improvement in ourselves and our relationships, learn to take care of yourself.

4. Spiritual.

Focus on clarifying values and your commitment, dedicating time to study, faith and/or meditation.

Focus on getting better, rather than being good. Think improvement rather than thinking that you ought to be perfect. If you appreciate that change is inevitable, therefore focusing on getting better through enhanced awareness and careful exploration of issues and by developing and improving skills to deal with those issues we remain flexible and allow for error and therefore alleviate anxiety.

Enjoy the journey as well as the destination.

Reference:

  • Covey, S, 1989: Principle Centred Leadership.

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 Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

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

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Balance: Participate in community events and work on at least one area where you can give service to benefit others

We are all in a state of entropy and only consistent and continued refinement and attention to Physical, Intellectual, Social and our Spiritual selves is vital to retain balance. To ensure an upward spiral of growth, change, and continuous improvement in ourselves and our relationships, learn to take care of yourself.

3. Social Enjoy a rich private life, give service and show integrity. Participate in community events and work on at least one area where you can give service to benefit others. Be it via a volunteer organisation or individual seeking support (i.e. mentoring), connect and assist others.

In May each year, thousands of events are held across the country to say thank you to the 6 million Australians who volunteer their time. National Volunteer Week (NVW) is the annual celebration to acknowledge the generous contribution of our nation’s volunteers. # NVW2020.

Many organisations draw upon the generous support of many who give up their valuable time and share their knowledge and resources.

If you are not already, make a profound impact in your community and on society, through giving a little time. Participate in a community event or work on at least one area where you can give service to benefit others.

Reference:

Covey, S, 1989: Principle Centred Leadership

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 Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

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

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Balance: Stimulate the right side of your brain and engage in creative endeavours

We are all in a state of entropy and only consistent and continued refinement and attention to Physical, Intellectual, Social and our Spiritual selves is vital to retain balance. To ensure an upward spiral of growth, change, and continuous improvement in ourselves and our relationships, learn to take care of yourself.

2. Intellectual
If we appreciate that change is inevitable, therefore focusing on getting better through enhanced awareness and careful exploration of issues and by developing and improving skills to deal with those issues, we remain flexible and allow for error and therefore alleviate anxiety.

Consider reading, meditation, visualising, planning and writing. Stimulate the right side of your brain, engage in creative endeavours and take time out to think outside the everyday. Research suggests that 15 minutes a day makes a huge difference to your well-being and can stimulate the brain to learn in new and different ways. Enjoy the journey as well as the destination.

Reference:

  • Covey, S, 1989: Principle Centred Leadership

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

Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

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

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Balance: Start slow and build up to make exercise a regular part of your day and week

We are all in a state of entropy and only consistent and continued refinement and attention to Physical, Intellectual, Social and our Spiritual selves is vital to retain balance. To ensure an upward spiral of growth, change, and continuous improvement in ourselves and our relationships, learn to take care of yourself.

  1. Physical

Exercise whenever you can and feel the chemical change in your body. Get out doors and enjoy the world. Despite the challenges, it truly is a beautiful world we live in.

Start slow and build up to make exercise a regular part of your day and week. Focus on getting better, rather than being good. Improvement becomes the norm and if we take this into our relationships, we can focus on improving rather than thinking that it ought to be perfect.

If we appreciate that change is inevitable, therefore focusing on getting better rather than being perfect, we can alleviate anxiety. Enjoy the journey as well as the destination. Start today.

Reference:

  • Covey, S, 1989: Principle Centred Leadership

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

Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

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

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Balance: continued refinement and attention to all of the following four areas in our lives

Often we find we live our lives narrowly focusing on work or home. Think about your life and the balance you maintain. Change is possible and often easier than you think.

The late Stephen Covey suggests consistent and continued refinement and attention to all of the following four areas in our lives:

  1. Physical;
  2. Intellectual;
  3. Social and
  4. Spiritual.

Attempting to balance exercise, nutrition and stress management (physical); by reading, visualising, planning and writing (Intellectual); focusing on clarifying values and our commitment, dedicating time to study, our faith and/or meditation (Spiritual); and through our service, being empathic, being synergistic and ensuring security (Social), ensures success.

Don’t get caught up in the demands of life and forget ourselves and our partner. Be proactive and do this for your relationship. “We are the instruments of our own performance, and to be effective, we need to recognize the importance of taking time to regularly sharpen the saw in all four ways”.

You don’t have to get it right the first time. This is part of life’s journey of learning and developing. You will get there if you are willing to invest the time and effort to developing new habits.

Reference:

  • Covey, S, 1989: Principle Centred Leadership

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

Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

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

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Increasingly employees seek organisations that offer wellbeing programs covering physical, mental, financial and spiritual health

Employees are demanding additional benefits in the modern workplace including a wide range of programs for physical, mental, financial and spiritual health.

As the line between work and play continues to blur, employers are investing in wellbeing programs as both a social responsibility and a talent strategy. In a Deloitte survey of Australian organisations, 39% of respondents said they offer comprehensive wellbeing programs, including mindfulness, life balance and financial fitness.

If the statistics are true, various studies have demonstrated that employees who are happy in all aspects of their lives are happier and more productive employees.

  • Attempting to balance exercise, nutrition and stress management (physical); by reading, visualising, planning and writing (Intellectual); focusing on clarifying values and our commitment, dedicating time to study, our faith and/or meditation (Spiritual); and through our service, being empathic, being synergistic and ensuring security (Social), are likely to make a significant difference to us as a productive employee.
  • For our close and intimate relationships equally, it is essential that we continually review and draw attention to these areas to ensure an upward spiral of growth, change, and continuous improvement. The importance of renewal in our lives can not be underestimated. Learning, growing and developing new capabilities and expanding on the old ones is the process through which marital harmony is made possible.
  • Seek an organisation that offers wellbeing programs or ask your company what can be offered. If they are already offered, take advantage of them and enjoy the holistic benefits.
  • In your relationship, seek to challenge the status quo and ensure an upward spiral of growth, change, and continuous improvement.

    Reference: https://www-businessinsider-com-au.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.businessinsider.com.au/workplace-trends-deloitte-human-capital-2018-4/amp

    Material used with permission of PREPARE/ENRICH Australia.

    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

    Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

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

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    When relationships go wrong, couple distress is strongly linked to problems with individual health and well-being

    For the employee and for businesses, research suggests that happily married employees increase profitability (Turvey et al, 2006), and have the potential through strengthened relationships at home and with business partners to accelerate business growth.

    Conversely, when relationships go wrong, couple distress is strongly linked to problems with individual health and well-being (Lebow et al 2012), have serious health concerns, increased stress and anxiety, increased rates of depression and increased rates of substance abuse. These workers directly cost companies in absenteeism and higher turnover expenditures, and indirectly supporting less motivated and less healthy employees and through the societal effects of broken families. In Australia, research indicates divorce costs taxpayers an estimated $14 billion in federal and state expenditures annually (Andrews, 2012).

    The effect for future generations is also known. The children of couples who stay together – and therefore have both parents present in the house – are more likely to thrive in their well-being and education (McLanahan et al 2013).

    If relationships are integral to all aspects of a fulfilled life – from developing parenting skills, through to improving relationships with family and friends, to effectively communicating with colleagues and business partners, then it is in the interest of every organisation to assist employees to strengthen and build strong relationship skills. If marriage and family wellness improves a company’s overall financial health and increases profitability, it is then in every company’s best financial interest to support employees and to invest in the promotion of relational wellness to amplify the happiness and confidence of employees and to maximise business potential.

    Prevention programs are a great investment in employees with studies demonstrating that for every $1.00 invested in employee wellness programs, the return on investment is as high as $6.85 (Turvey et al, 2006).

    References:

    • Andrews, K. 2012: Maybe ‘I do’: modern marriage & the pursuit of happiness. Connor Court Publishing.
    • Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) – Marriage and divorces, Australia 2016.
    • McLanahan, S., Tach, L., & Schneider, D. 2013: The Causal Effects of Father Absence. Annual Review of Sociology, 39, 399-427.
    • Turvey, M. D., & Olson, D. H., 2006: Marriage & Family Wellness: Corporate America’s Business? A Marriage CoMission Research Report. Minneapolis, MN
    • Waite, L., & Gallagher, M. 2000: The case for marriage. New York: Doubleday.

    Material used with permission of PREPARE/ENRICH.

    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

    Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

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