For dating couples, work and finances are key sources of stress, or external events which cause an emotional or physical reaction

In today’s fast paced society, it is impossible to avoid stress in our lives. For dating couples, external sources of stress around work, career and income are overriding stresses that couples try to deal with. When relationships are new and with compatibility high, relationship stressors or issues with their partner are ordinarily lower down the priority list.

Based on results from the first 20,000 couples to complete PREPARE/ENRICH, the top 5 stressors for dating couples were: 

    Your job
  1. Feeling emotionally upset
  2. Inadequate income
  3. Your partner
  4. Too much to do around the home

For dating couples, work and finances are key sources of stress, or external events which cause an emotional or physical reaction and changing one’s reaction to stress is often the only option. 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.

An Australian study has shown that there is a strong link between experience of financial hardship and personal psychological distress (Creed, et al, 2006).

One point made by the authors is that financial distress reduces a person’s capacity to plan and interferes with planning for a meaningful future. It is this that primarily reduces psychological wellbeing.

A question that emerges from the findings is to what extent are financially troubled cohabiting couples affected by their financial distress? Is it possible that their relationship satisfaction is reduced by financial stress?

An analysis of a sample of 520 PREPARE/ENRICH couples reveals that individual income is positively and significantly correlated with couple positive couple agreement scores in a number of key categories. The greater the income the higher the couple satisfaction.

This seems to indicate that financial hardship (associated with lower levels of income) interferes with and inhibits planning and implementation of activities and goals that are finance-related or costly. For lower income couples, setting up and managing budgets becomes difficult and couple conflict becomes more likely. Also, engaging in costly leisure activities and spending time with friends and family in such activities becomes more difficult for financially troubled couples.

PREPARE/ENRICH has several resources to help you unpack and mine the assessment results around money.

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

Reference:

  • Creed, P.A., & Miller, J. Psychological distress in the labour market: Shame or deprivation? Australian Journal of Psychology, 2006, 58, 31-39

#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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The Top 5 Stressors for Couples: Married couples report higher stress levels than dating or engaged couples

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 Couples 

Based on results from the first 20,000 couples to complete the PREPARE/ENRICH Customised Version, 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

  1. Your job
  2. Feeling emotionally upset
  3. Inadequate income
  4. Your partner
  5. Too much to do around the home
  • Engaged Couples: 
    1. Your job
    2. Financial concerns
    3. Cost of wedding
    4. Lack of exercise
    5. Lack of sleep
  • Married Couples: 
    1. Your spouse
    2. Your job
    3. Feeling emotionally upset
    4. Inadequate income
    5. Too much to do around the home

    Tune in for part 3 next week.

    Do you need help with an issue or problem? Our approach helps to generate deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations can restore insight and understanding about one another.

    Tune in for more tips next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.workofheart.net.www.workofheart.net.au

    More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

    It seems impossible to avoid stress in our lives: 2 basic ways to cope with stress

    In today’s fast paced society, it is impossible to avoid stress in our lives. A recent 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).
    1. 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 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 colours a couple’s perceptions of their marriage.

    References:

    • Australian Psychological 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.

    More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

    For more information about PREPARE/ENRICH, contact: https://www.prepare-enrich.com.au/for-couples or call is on (02) 9520 4049.

    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.

    Wellbeing in the workplace: Enjoy all of your life

    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 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 productive employees.
  • For our relationships equally, it is essential that we continually review and draw our 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.
  • More tips at www.couplecheckup.com.au, tune in next week…

    Do you need a boost in your relationship?

    Take the Couple Checkup

    Simply click on the Get Started button below relevant to your relationship – it couldn’t be easier. Once you have finished the questions you should receive your comprehensive personalised report in about 30 seconds.

    The CoupleCheckup relationship assessment has been proven to assist couples for over 40 years. Looking for a facilitator to work with you, then contact us.

    The CoupleCheckup generates deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations restore insight and understanding about one another. The Couple Checkup can help to revive a relationship and increase intimacy.

    The CoupleCheckup is an online couple assessment based on the PREPARE/ENRICH couple inventories. The Checkup assessment and Checkup report are designed to go directly to couples at any stage of their relationship (dating, engaged or married). The online system allows for dynamic customization of the assessment to each couple based on how the couple answers background questions. The goal is for the Couple Checkup to reach a more diverse group of couples, to empower couples to deal with issues on their own and to emphasize prevention over remediation.

    For more information on the use and analysis of the Couple Checkup or to simply use the tool, please contact: www.couplecheckup.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #couplecheckup #strongerrelationships

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

    School holidays: A time restore and connect

    Don’t settle for three or four days off. Short periods are fine, but they’re not sufficient. If you have an intense job, it takes at least two consecutive weeks away from work to fully restore yourself.

    1. Take More Vacation time
    In a world of ever-increasing demands, people are spending less time out of the office and taking fewer days off. Fall victim to this trend, and it will harm your health and productivity. Instead, do the following:

    2. Take every day of vacation you’re given
    Don’t hold it over and don’t tell yourself that you don’t have the time. You’ll get more done at a higher level of quality if you take time off and come back to the office rested.

    3. Truly disengage when you’re away
    If you don’t, you won’t be getting the full benefits of time off. If you have to answer email, set aside one short chunk of time to do so.

    Today’s Tip was adapted from “More Vacation is the Secret Sauce” by Tony Schwartz.

    Tune in for more tips and ideas to improve your relationship next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.workofheart.net.au

    More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

    It is in the interest of every organisation to assist employees to strengthen and build strong relationship skills at work and at home

    We all know that work and family life are intertwined and research supports this demonstrating that employees who are highly committed to their roles as parents and spouses benefit companies. Conversely, employee performance and satisfaction occur easiest when outside influences like family are considered through workplace contracts and the provision of flexible work arrangements.

    Whilst Australia has seen a declining rate of marriage since 1947 – similar to other western nations – today more than 70% of women will marry in their lifetime, 1 in 5 marrying at least twice, with 4 in 5 couples living together before marriage (an increase from less than 1 in 5 in 1975). Lasting an average of 12 years, 1 in 3 of these relationships will end in divorce, most occurring in their primary producing years, around 45 for men and 43 for women in 2016 (ABS, 2016).

    Marriage however still confers certain unique benefits. Based on a wealth of academic research, married people tend to have healthier lifestyles, live longer, have more satisfying sexual relationships, have more economic assets, and have children that tend to do better academically and emotionally. When relationships go right, couples who stay together tend to be happier, healthier and ultimately wealthier (Waite & Gallagher 2000).

    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:

    • 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.

    Tune in for more tips next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.workofheart.net.au

    Why PREPARE/ENRICH?

    For over 35 years, PREPARE/ENRICH has led the way in helping couples explore and strengthen their relationships. The PREPARE/ENRICH program focuses on improving the quality of your relationships – starting with developing a strong sense of self. With our mission to equip marriage champions, couples, and families, the evidence-based skills and insights lay the foundation for people to foster healthy relationships.

    For more information about PREPARE/ENRICH, contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au

    More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

    Married people tend to have healthier lifestyles, live longer, have more satisfying sexual relationships

    Whilst Australia has seen a declining rate of marriage since 1947 – similar to other western nations – today more than 70% of women will marry in their lifetime, 1 in 5 marrying at least twice, with 4 in 5 couples living together before marriage (an increase from less than 1 in 5 in 1975). Lasting an average of 12 years, 1 in 3 of these relationships will end in divorce, most occurring in their primary producing years, around 45 for men and 43 for women in 2016 (ABS, 2016).

    Marriage, however, still confers certain unique benefits. Based on a wealth of academic research, married people tend to have healthier lifestyles, live longer, have more satisfying sexual relationships, have more economic assets, and have children that tend to do better academically and emotionally. When relationships go right, couples who stay together tend to be happier, healthier and ultimately wealthier (Waite & Gallagher 2000).

    Conversely, when relationships go wrong, couple distress is strongly linked to problems with individual health and well-being (Lebow et al 2012).

    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).

    References:

    • Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) – Marriage and divorces, Australia 2016.

    • Waite, L., & Gallagher, M. 2000: The case for marriage. New York: Doubleday.

    Tune in for more tips next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.workofheart.net.au

    Why PREPARE/ENRICH?

    For over 35 years, PREPARE/ENRICH has led the way in helping couples explore and strengthen their relationships. The PREPARE/ENRICH program focuses on improving the quality of your relationships – starting with developing a strong sense of self. With our mission to equip marriage champions, couples, and families, the evidence-based skills and insights lay the foundation for people to foster healthy relationships.

    For more information about PREPARE/ENRICH, contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au

    More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com