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When life hands you lemons… Managing the unexpected occurrences in relationships!

The Victorian State Committee and National Committee is thrilled to introduce a wonderful line up of great topics and sensational speakers at the upcoming Marriage and Relationship Educators National Conference (MARENC) 2019, to be held at the Cardinal Knox Centre, East Melbourne, August 2-3 2019.

With topics ranging from Wellbeing and Happiness, Internal Family Systems and Grief and Loss and Stress, the 2019 MARENC promises to bring new thinking and ideas for professional development for both professional and voluntary practitioners interested in the field of marriage, relationship and family education.
$159 Members
$199 Non-Members

Great speakers on topics such as Internal Family Systems, Grief and Loss and Stress and Changes in couples over the decades.

Registration is available now. Click here to register for this exciting educators’ conference.

Register Now

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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: dance together

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.

4.  Dance together: It could be a night out dancing to your favorite local band, a small dance in the kitchen while you are making dinner, or a recreation of your first dance at your wedding. Try sitting down and finding a new song that represents your relationship as it stands today to dance to tonight.

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

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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5 ways to celebrate your relationship: Capturing moments together

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.

1.  Take pictures: Throughout most moments of the day, you probably have your phone, ready to snap a quick photo to share on Instagram. Remember to take a few photos of just you and your partner for just you and your partner. Capturing moments together gives you a visual reminder of love and reinforces “togetherness.” Bonus: Later down the road, you can make a photo album of you and your partner to remember those past moments you shared.

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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Granting Forgiveness: Taking time to grant 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 Granting Forgiveness:

  1. Acknowledge your pain and anger. Allow yourself to feel disrespected.
  2. Be specific about your future expectations and limits.
  3. Give up your right to “get even,” but insist on being treated better in the future.
  4. Let go of blame, resentment, and negativity toward your partner.
  5. Communicate your act of forgiveness to your partner.
  6. Work toward reconciliation (when safe).
  • Tune in for more tips and ideas 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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    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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    Active listening is the ability to let your partner know you understand them by restating their message

    Now you’ve had your say, what does it then mean to be on the other side?

    Good communication depends on you carefully listening to another person. Active listening involves listening attentively without interruption and then restating what was heard. Acknowledge content AND the feelings of the speaker. The active listening process lets the sender know whether or not the message they sent was clearly understood by having the listener restate what they heard.

    Examples of Active Listening:

    “I heard you say you are feeling ‘out of balance’, and enjoyed the time we spend together but that you also need more time to be with your friends… and you want to plan a time to talk about this.”

    “If I understand what you said, you are concerned because you want to go skiing next winter. But you think I would rather to go to the beach. Is that correct?”

    When each person knows what the other person feels and wants (assertiveness) and when each knows they have been heard and understood (active listening), intimacy is increased. These two communication skills can help you grow closer as a couple.

    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

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    Improving assertiveness and active listening increases couple intimacy

    Assertiveness is the ability to express your feelings and ask for what you want in the relationship and is a valuable communication skill. In successful couple relationships, both individuals tend to be quite assertive. Rather than assuming their partner can read their minds, they share how they feel and ask clearly and directly for what they want.

    Assertive individuals take responsibility for their messages by using “I” statements. They avoid statements beginning with “you.” In making constructive requests, they are positive and respectful in their communication. They use polite phrases such as “please” and “thank you”.

    Examples of Assertive Statements:

    “I’m feeling out of balance. While I love spending time with you, I also want to spend time with my friends. I would like us to find some time to talk about this.”

    “I want to take a ski vacation next winter, but I know you like to go to the beach. I’m feeling confused about what choice we should make.”

    Now you’ve had your say, what does it then mean to be on the other side? Learn about active listening next week.

    When each person knows what the other person feels and wants (assertiveness) and when each knows they have been heard and understood (active listening), intimacy is increased. These two communication skills can help you grow closer as a couple.

    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

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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