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5 small ways to celebrate your relationship today – bonus: Discover the hidden treasures of your relationship

Here are five small ways to celebrate your relationship today (or any day of the year), because your relationship is worth a little extra effort today.

Bonus: 6. Discover the hidden treasures of your relationship: People are always growing and relationships are constantly changing. Almost all relationships begin in a honeymoon phase, where couples see their relationship through rose-colored glasses, but most do not remain there. The problem is that, much like a river, a relationship may look relatively stable, but a deeper examination reveals undercurrents that change from moment to moment.

Take some time today to explore your relationship, the ups and the downs, the strengths and the growth areas.

Couple Checkup is a fun, easy way to provide insights into your relationship which will generate deep and productive conversations that you may not otherwise have about your relationship. This will renew your understanding of one another, and it can help revive a relationship and increase intimacy. Take Couple Checkup today  and begin the journey of a stronger, healthier relationship.  And that’s really the best way to celebrate your relationship, right?

More tips at www.couplecheckup.com.au, tune in next week…

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 new 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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5 ways to celebrate your relationship: Really listen to each other

Here are five small ways to celebrate your relationship today (or any day of the year), because your relationship is worth a little extra effort today.

5.  Listen to each other: Active listening is the ability to let your partner know you understand what they have said by restating their message. Practice really listening to what your partner is saying. Best put by Jeff Daly, “Two monologues do not make a dialogue.”

Take some time today to explore your relationship, the ups and the downs, the strengths and the growth areas.

Couple Checkup is a fun, easy way to provide insights into your relationship which will generate deep and productive conversations that you may not otherwise have about your relationship. This will renew your understanding of one another, and it can help revive a relationship and increase intimacy. Take Couple Checkup today  and begin the journey of a stronger, healthier relationship.  And that’s really the best way to celebrate your relationship, right?

More tips at www.couplecheckup.com.au, tune in next week…

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 new 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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5 ways to celebrate your relationship: Share your gratitude

Here are five small ways to celebrate your relationship today (or any day of the year), because your relationship is worth a little extra effort today.

3.  Share your gratitude: Take a quick moment to share with your partner what you appreciate about them. Start with, “I appreciate you for…”

“Research shows that people who hear frequent appreciations feel better about themselves, produce more, and serve more.

Feeling appreciated is important to healthy relationships and work teams. It’s also important to one’s sense of being valued. Whenever you share an appreciation with another, their brain hears the appreciation and releases dopamine. Dopamine is a neurochemical that, when released, produces a feeling of pleasure. How many “dopamine shots” do you give your employees, colleagues, spouses, and children each day? May we begin to value not just being appreciated, but appreciating.” – Dr. Mark Richards, PREPARE/ENRICH Facilitator and Trainer.

Take some time today to explore your relationship, the ups and the downs, the strengths and the growth areas.

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 new 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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5 ways to celebrate your relationship: Leave a surprise note

Here are five small ways to celebrate your relationship today (or any day of the year), because your relationship is worth a little extra effort today.

2.  Leave a note: Leave a note on the bathroom mirror. Tuck a piece of paper with a thoughtful message in your partner’s coat pocket. Scribble a note down on the back of the electric bill and leave it next to the tea pot.

These notes don’t have to be long love letters, just a simple note to make your partner smile.

Take some time today to explore your relationship, the ups and the downs, the strengths and the growth areas.

Couple Checkup is a fun, easy way to provide insights into your relationship which will generate deep and productive conversations that you may not otherwise have about your relationship. This will renew your understanding of one another, and it can help revive a relationship and increase intimacy. Take Couple Checkup today  and begin the journey of a stronger, healthier relationship.  And that’s really the best way to celebrate your relationship, right?

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 new 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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Taking time to seek forgiveness can play a powerful role in healing and restoring your relationship

All couples eventually experience times of conflict, hurt, and letting each other down. Sometimes the offense is as minor as forgetting a date or failing to run an errand. For some couples, the offense might involve a major betrayal such as infidelity, addiction, or abuse. Either way, taking time to seek and grant forgiveness can play a powerful role in healing and restoring the relationship.

Forgiveness is the decision or choice to give up the right for vengeance, retribution, and negative thoughts toward an offender in order to be free from anger and resentment. This process promotes healing and restoration of inner peace, and it can allow reconciliation to take place in the relationship.

It is important to be clear about what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness is not forgetting, condoning or perpetuating injustice. Since it is sometimes unsafe or impossible, forgiveness does not always involve reconciliation. Forgiveness is not always quick; it is a process that can take time to unfold. Don’t rush your partner if they need to spend days or weeks working through the process of granting forgiveness.

Six Steps for Seeking Forgiveness:

  1. Admit what you did was wrong or hurtful.
  2. Try to understand/empathize with the pain you have caused.
  3. Take responsibility for your actions and make restitution if necessary.
  4. Assure your partner you will not do it again.
  5. Apologise and ask for forgiveness.
  6. Forgive yourself.

Six Steps for Granting Forgiveness next week…

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 new 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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Exploring family of origin for individuals who have grown up in extremely rigid and enmeshed families

Relationship education provides an opportunity to work with couples’ perceptions of their families of origin. In particular, it is worth exploring the possible impact of extreme, or unbalanced, family structures on how couples are likely to approach their own relationship.

A series of studies conducted at the University of Sydney have identified some key matters of concern. These studies have been conducted by postgraduate students in the School of Psychology under the supervision of Alan Craddock, a former Senior Lecturer in that School and also the former National Coordinator of PREPARE/ENRICH Australia. All of these studies used measures of family structure that were very closely related to the family of origin questions used in the PREPARE/ENRICH inventories.

The form of extreme family structure focused on in these studies involves enmeshment or extreme closeness. Highly enmeshed families may be typified by an extreme form of cohesiveness that undermines the development of personal autonomy and which results in a form of family bonding that represents an over-identification with the family.

There are two varieties of enmeshed families that occur quite frequently: Rigidly enmeshed and chaotically enmeshed.

Rigidly enmeshed families are excessively close and also have very highly structured rules, roles and routines. In contrast, chaotically enmeshed families, whilst also being excessively close, lack structure and tend to be random, unstable and chaotic.

The University of Sydney studies revealed three areas of personal adjustment that are strongly associated with rigidly enmeshed types of family of origin. These are all areas that may represent important vulnerabilities for couples, and therefore are worth noting.

(1) Relationship Attachment

In 1999, Natalie Nasr, Leah MacFadyen, Clint Marlborough, Rina Sarkis and Susan Scanlon examined the effect of childhood experiences of family of origin on adult relationship attachment among young Australian adults. One important and relevant feature of their findings was that rigid-enmeshment was a significant predictor of discomfort in adult relationships.

(2) Feelings of Shame and Sense of Parentification

In 2003, Margaret Walker studied the effect of childhood experiences of family of origin on young Australian adults’ reports of feeling a sense of personal shame and of being pressured to adopt parent-like roles in their childhood (parentification). She found that rigid-enmeshment, as a feature of family of origin, was a significant predictor of strong feelings of shame and a strong sense of being parentified during childhood.

(3) Perfectionism

In 2006, Wendy Church and Alexandra Sands investigated the relationship between features of family of origin and young Australian adults’ tendencies towards being perfectionistic. They found that family enmeshment and rigid, authoritarian forms of parenting were significant predictors of both functional (healthy) and dysfunctional (unhealthy) forms of perfectionism.

In summary, all of these studies support the view that, although family closeness and structure are generally regarded as positive in their effects, too much closeness (enmeshment) combined with too much structure (rigidity) may be damaging.

The damage identified in these studies may be apparent in couples taking a relational inventory or counselling. In particular, individuals who have grown up in extremely rigid and enmeshed families of origin may find it difficult to be comfortable in their own adult relationships and may be carrying a burden of emotional baggage with them that involves some or all of these components: A sense of shame, a strong pressure to perform perfectly and to inappropriately take on adult parent-like roles. This baggage appears to originate family of origin pressures that are associated with over-controlling and suffocating closeness. Facilitators and counsellors should be alert to these possibilities without assuming that the patterns fit all individuals who have grown up in rigid and enmeshed families.

Tune in for more tips and ideas next week.

Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the new 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

#PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships

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The benefits of stable, loving relationships for men, women and children (and for society)

Research overwhelmingly points to the physical, psychological, emotional, social and financial benefits of stable, loving relationships for men, women and children (and our society in general).

Knowing these benefits, PREPARE/ENRICH believes and strongly advocates for relationship education across the life span to assist in the development and maintenance of healthy, committed, nurturing relationships in all their diversity.

Providing a highly valid and well researched assessment tool to assist couples explore their strength and growth areas, PREPARE/ENRICH has trained over 15,000 facilitators across Australia in the past 35 years who work with couples in all life stages to change the way they relate and how they handle conflict amongst others things irrespective of age, sexual orientation, cultural or religious background.

Tune in for more tips and ideas next week.

Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the new 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

#PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships

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Intentional Parenting: 8 ways to be intentional with the time you have to spend with your family – Create rituals and traditions

Here are a few ideas which may get you thinking of how you can do “small things often” and turn towards your partner to show them you are loving them intentionally. In turn these small things will add to your emotional bank account, deposits that create a stronger bond in your partnership.

A goal for you might be about regularly going on a walk together after dinner.

Here are 8 ways to be intentional with the time you have to spend with your family. Try using these motivations in your own house.

7. Create rituals and traditions

Family rituals are things that you do together regularly to look forward to, and we all expect them to happen. Our family has adapted to Friday Pizza Night, then we do our own thing – free night. During the warmer months you might decide to go on a walk together after dinner. These activities don’t have to be set in stone if something else comes up.

Remember that these motivations aren’t all or nothing. Some days you will succeed in some areas and lack in others, and that’s okay. The purpose of setting intentions is to make your goals obtainable for you and your family.

References

  • Hengchen Dai, Katherine L. Milkman, Jason Riis (2014): The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior. Management Science.

Tune in for more tips and ideas next week.

Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the new 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

For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or support with a couple or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships

PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

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Intentional Parenting: 8 ways to be intentional with the time you have to spend with your family – Spend time together

Here are a few ideas which may get you thinking of how you can do “small things often” and turn towards your partner to show them you are loving them intentionally. In turn these small things will add to your emotional bank account, deposits that create a stronger bond in your partnership.

Here are 8 ways to be intentional with the time you have to spend with your family. Try using these motivations in your own house.

6. Spend time together – Life is busy. I have found that as my children get older, more activities and social events get added to the calendar that pull us in opposite directions. It is important to make sure you are taking time as a family to enjoy each other, connect, and most importantly have fun! Spending time together doesn’t have to cost money to create the best of memories. Remember it is the time together that you will remember. Be creative by having each member of the family make a list of things that they like to do and do them together.

Remember that these motivations aren’t all or nothing. Some days you will succeed in some areas and lack in others, and that’s okay. The purpose of setting intentions is to make your goals obtainable for you and your family.

References

  1. Hengchen Dai, Katherine L. Milkman, Jason Riis (2014): The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior. Management Science.

Tune in for more tips and ideas next week.

Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the new 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

For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or support with a couple or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships

PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

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Intentional Parenting: 8 ways to be intentional with the time you have to spend with your family – Establish routines

Here are a few ideas which may get you thinking of how you can do “small things often” and turn towards your partner to show them you are loving them intentionally. In turn these small things will add to your emotional bank account, deposits that create a stronger bond in your partnership.

A goal for you might be about having a routine to help your children be prepared for the day.

Here are 8 ways to be intentional with the time you have to spend with your family. Try using these motivations in your own house.

5. Establish routines – Routines get children involved and give them a sense of responsibility. They make mornings run much smoother and provide predictability for their ever-growing brains. As your child learns and grows, having a routine they know is in place will help them be prepared for the day. Just like you have a routine every morning on your way out the door to work, your child needs a routine as well.

Remember that these motivations aren’t all or nothing. Some days you will succeed in some areas and lack in others, and that’s okay. The purpose of setting intentions is to make your goals obtainable for you and your family.

References

  • Hengchen Dai, Katherine L. Milkman, Jason Riis (2014): The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior. Management Science.

Tune in for more tips and ideas next week.

Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the new 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

For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or support with a couple or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships

PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

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Intentional Parenting: 8 ways to be intentional with the time you have to spend with your family – Spend 1:1 time with each child

Many people make resolutions around their own lifestyle changes that will improve their quality of life. While we tend to make unobtainable goals, many people still have a go, and some succeed. Researchers call this feeling the “fresh start effect”. They have found that we tend to motivate ourselves into good habits by using a new beginning (like the start of the week, month, year, season, etc.) as a marker to put past behavior behind us and focus on being better. It brings opportunity to reflect on the previous year and anticipate what you want the New Year to look like.

Here are a few ideas which may get you thinking of how you can do “small things often” and turn towards your partner to show them you are loving them intentionally In 2019. In turn these small things will add to your emotional bank account, deposits that create a stronger bond in your partnership.

A goal for you might be about the quality of time you spend together versus the quantity.

  • Hengchen et al (2014) came up with 8 ways to be intentional with the time you have to spend with your family. Try using these motivations in your own household.
    1. Spend 1:1 time – If you have more than one child how can you make them feel special and loved? Spend time with them individually! Kids crave one-on-one time with their parents. It makes them feel special, you get to connect and catch up with that child, and it can strengthen your bond. Make sure both parents take turns. Some examples: have one child run errands with you, take a walk around your neighborhood, do your chores/projects together, play a favorite game with them, use your time in the car driving your child to activities.

    By setting intentions for family time, it takes pressure off of you and your family to accomplish those unreasonable resolutions. Use this year as an opportunity to create a fresh start. Be intentional with your family.

    Remember that these motivations aren’t all or nothing. Some days you will succeed in some areas and lack in others, and that’s okay. The purpose of setting intentions is to make your goals obtainable for you and your family.

    References

    1. Hengchen Dai, Katherine L. Milkman, Jason Riis (2014) The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior. Management Science.

    Tune in for more tips and ideas next week.

    Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the new 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

    For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or support with a couple or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships

    PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

    comment Add Comment

    Text, Twitter, Tweet… is your smartphone use causing arguments and endangering those around you?

    We have seen how smartphones can enhance our lives, but there is a fine line where use can be perceived as antisocial, causing arguments and endanger those around us.

    We are all increasingly enthusiastic users of this technology and doing so across a growing range of social (and solo) situations, always or very often when spending time with friends, walking or watching TV.

    A recent report suggested that almost a quarter of mobile consumers use their phones ‘always’ or ‘very often’ talking to friends and when eating at home, or eating out with family or friends. And a disturbing 1 in 10 of us use our smartphones when crossing the road or driving.

    Consider your use of mobile technology, and consider those a round you. Is your behaviour anti-social, causing arguments or potentially endangering those around you?

    Source: Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey, 2016

    http://landing.deloitte.com.au/rs/761-IBL-328/images/tmt-mobile-consumer-2016-final-report-101116.pdf.

    Tune in for more tips and ideas next week.

    Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the new 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