Author Archives: intentional-relationship.com

About intentional-relationship.com

Intentional-Relationship.com is a destination designed to assist you towards growing stronger, healthier, happier relationships at Home, at Work and in the Community. The relationship and advise on offer aims to ensure you begin and remain intentional about making your family, work and community relationships a priority.

Are you concerned about doing more than your share of the household tasks?

Exploring relationship roles and your expectations about how household responsibilities will be shared is vital towards understanding each other’s preferences for traditional or equalitarian roles in your relationship.

Are you concerned about doing more than your share of the household tasks.

  • Have you shared this concern with your partner?
  • Why do you feel that you are doing/will do more than your share of the tasks?
  • What do you feel is a fair share of the household tasks?
  • What can both of you do now to resolve this issue?

We expect to divide household tasks based on our interests and skills rather than in traditional roles.

  • What roles did your parents choose in regards to household tasks?
  • What do you see your role to be?
  • What do you see your partner’s role to be?

If both partners are working, and one partner is doing a greater share of household tasks for example, then this inequity needs to be raised with your partner.

  • Have you shared with each other what you would like for your roles to be regarding household tasks? 

If not then you need to start talking, else you may need to or seek assistance from a marriage educator or relationship counselor.

One approach is to complete the PREPARE/ENRICH assessment or Couple Checkup. Each tool is customised to your relationship type and helps identify each other’s unique strengths and growth areas. For the PREPARE/ENRICH assessment, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills. For couple checkup, the assessment and resulting reports are self-administered.

Contract: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich

For more information on the use and analysis of the Couple Checkup or to simply use the tool, please contact: www.couplecheckup.com.au #couplecheckup #relationship

 

Take the Couple Checkup

The Couple Checkup 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 Couple Checkup 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.

Are you sharing the household responsibilities in your relationship? If this is an issue for you, you may need to explore each other’s family of origin

Exploring relationship roles and your expectations about how household responsibilities will be shared is vital towards understanding each other’s preferences for traditional or equalitarian roles in your relationship.

  • How do you plan to balance your work with household tasks and responsibilities? 
  • Are there certain tasks that neither of you like to do? 
  • What would need to happen in this area to make it feel most fair?

Often our traditional or equalitarian behaviours are bought into out relationship from our family of origin. If you expect to have an equal relationship, where you and your partner share household responsibilities or you feel that you would be happier if there was a more even balance in your relationship, then you should explore family of origin in more depth.

When it comes to roles and responsibilities, both partners should be willing to adjust.

  • What adjustments do you feel a wife must be willing to make?
  • What adjustments do you feel a husband must be willing to make?
  • What type of adjustments are you not willing to make?
  • Have you talked about the adjustments both of you will have to make when you are married?

Have you shared with each other what you would like for your roles to be regarding household tasks? 

If not then you get talking, else you may need to or seek assistance from a marriage educator or relationship counselor.

One approach is to complete the PREPARE/ENRICH assessment or Couple Checkup. Each tool is customised to your relationship type and helps identify each other’s unique strengths and growth areas. For the PREPARE/ENRICH assessment, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills. For couple checkup, the assessment and resulting reports are self-administered.


Contract: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich

For more information on the use and analysis of the Couple Checkup or to simply use the tool, please contact: www.couplecheckup.com.au #couplecheckup #relationship

 

Take the Couple Checkup

The Couple Checkup 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 Couple Checkup 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.

Are you sharing decision making in your relationship? If this is an issue for you, you may need to explore each other’s family of origin

Exploring relationship roles and your expectations about how decision making and responsibilities will be shared is vital towards understanding each other’s preferences for traditional or equalitarian roles in your relationship.

Often our traditional or equalitarian behaviours are bought into out relationship from our family of origin. If you expect to have an equal relationship, where you and your partner share leadership and decision making or you feel that you would be happier if there was a more even balance of power in your relationship, then you need to explore family of origin in more depth. 

“In our marriage, I expect my partner to consult me when making important decisions.”

Consider the following questions:

  • Who made the decisions in your home growing up?
  • How do you make important decisions today?
  • Would you be willing to allow your partner to make all the important decisions?
  • How would you feel if you were not included in making important decisions?

Exploring family of origin

When it comes to roles and responsibilities, both partners should be willing to adjust.

  • What adjustments do you feel a wife must be willing to make?
  • What adjustments do you feel a husband must be willing to make?
  • What type of adjustments are you not willing to make?
  • Have you talked about the adjustments both of you will have to make when you are married?

If not then you may need to or seek assistance from a marriage educator or relationship counselor.

One approach is to complete the PREPARE/ENRICH assessment or CoupleCheckup. Each tool is customised to your relationship type and helps identify each other’s unique strengths and growth areas. For the PREPARE/ENRICH assessment, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills. For couplecheckup, the assessment and resulting reports are self-administered.

Contract: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich

For more information on the use and analysis of the CoupleCheckup or to simply use the tool, please contact: www.couplecheckup.com.au #couplecheckup #relationship

 

Take the Couple Checkup

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 CoupleCheckup 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 CoupleCheckup to reach a more diverse group of couples, to empower couples to deal with issues on their own and to emphasize prevention over remediation.

Exploring family of origin: Family experience is a significant predictor of difficulties in a couples relationship

As shown in a previous article, there can be little doubt that the experience of family of origin is an important area for investigation among couples taking PREPARE/ENRICH or any relationship assessment.

A booklet by Dr Alan Craddock (National Coordinator of PREPARE/ENRICH Australia and Honorary Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology, The University of Sydney) has been written solely for PREPARE/ENRICH Administrators. 

This booklet is entitled Origins: Family Experiences of premarital Couples and has three main aims:

1. To identify the different types of premarital couples in a large national sample of Australian couples participating in the PREPARE/ENRICH program. In particular, the aim is to identify and explore the main differences between highly satisfied (vitalised) and more troubled (conflicted) premarital couples.

2. To examine the differences in family background of vitalised versus conflicted premarital couples in the National sample. Of major interest is any link between negative experiences within family of origin in the past (separateness, rigidity and exposure to abuse) and present difficulties in couple relationship.

3. To explore the practical implications of these findings, particularly when working with conflicted premarital couples. General strategies for working with conflicted couples are also described.

The study represents the drawing together of trends and patterns identified in the data from over 500 Australian PREPARE/ENRICH couples, with a view to identifying areas for work with conflicted premarital couples. These areas for work are not based on biased speculation but are identified by means of careful investigation of the research data. An addendum is included in which the relevance of this material to the Customised Version is described.

Origins: Family Experiences of premarital Couples is available for purchase for $12 (including postage and GST).

If you have any questions regarding work with couples and family of origin or you simply need assistance setting up your couple, please call us on (02) 9520 4049.

Strengthening Relationships Since 1979

Exploring family of origin: Couples from rigidly-enmeshed families – authoritarian parenting were significant predictors of both healthy and unhealthy forms of perfectionism

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.

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 any one of the PREPARE/ENRICH inventories. 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. PREPARE/ENRICH facilitators 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 next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.workofheart.net.www.workofheart.net.au

#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

Exploring family of origin: Couples from rigidly-enmeshed families – A significant predictor of Feelings of Shame and Sense of Parentification

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.

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.

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 any one of the PREPARE/ENRICH inventories. 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. PREPARE/ENRICH facilitators 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 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

#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

Exploring family of origin: Couples from rigidly-enmeshed families – a significant predictor of discomfort in adult relationships

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.

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 any one of the PREPARE/ENRICH inventories. 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. PREPARE/ENRICH facilitators 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 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

#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