Category Archives: Intentional-Relationship.com

Relationship dynamics: How Do Satisfied and Unsatisfied Couples Score in These Areas?

Based on research, PREPARE/ENRICH has discovered that there is a positive cycle linking assertiveness and self-confidence and a negative cycle linking avoidance and perceived dominance.

In the positive cycle, as a person uses more assertiveness, their level of self-confidence tends to increase. As a person’s self-confidence increases, their willingness and ability to be more assertive increases.

In the negative cycle, when one person perceives their partner as dominating, a common reaction is for that person to avoid dealing with issues. As a person uses more avoidance, they will often perceive more dominance in their partner.

There is a positive cycle between Assertiveness and Self Confidence and a negative cycle between Avoidance and Partner Dominance.

How Do Satisfied and Unsatisfied Couples Score in These Areas?

PREPARE/ENRICH research has found that satisfied couples tend to score high in assertiveness and self-confidence, and low in avoidance and partner dominance. Conversely, the tendency for unsatisfied couples is for one or both individuals to be low in assertiveness and self-confidence, and high in avoidance and partner dominance.

PREPARE/ENRICH measures two components overall satisfaction:

  1. Individual Satisfaction: Scores based on the average of each person’s Individual Scores across the core relationship categories: Communication; Conflict Resolution; Partner Styles and Habits; Financial Management; Leisure Activities; Sexual Expectations; Family and Friends; Relationship Roles and Spiritual Beliefs.
  1. Couple Satisfaction: Scores based on the average of the couple’s Positive Couple Agreement (PCA) scores across the core relationship categories.

Tune in next week to see how Australian couples rate in couple dynamics.

Stay tuned for more information on this topic next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.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 positive and negative cycles in relationships (Relationship Dynamics)

Often a goal of marriage and relationship education is to increase the assertiveness and active listening skills of one or both partners. As partners in a relationship improve their assertiveness and active listening skills, their self-confidence tends increase. As a person’s self-confidence increases, their willingness and ability to be more assertive increases. Increasing assertiveness also tends to decrease avoidance and partner dominance. When one person perceives their partner as dominating, a common reaction is for that person to avoid dealing with issues. And as a person uses more avoidance, they will often perceive more dominance in their partner.

Consider this fictional couple who have taken the PREPARE/ENRICH couple inventory: Daniel and Maria.

The relationship Dynamics section indicates low assertiveness for Daniel and high assertiveness for Maria. Daniel also tends to minimize issues (high avoidance) and is reluctant to deal with them directly, while Maria is generally able to identify and discuss issues they are having in their relationship. As a result, Daniel feels controlled in their lives together (high in partner dominance) and has lower self-confidence.

As we work with Daniel and Maria to improve their assertiveness and active listening skills, their self-confidence is expected to increase. This is the positive cycle of more assertiveness increasing self-confidence. Additionally as we work with Daniel and Maria to increase assertiveness, this will tend to decrease avoidance and partner dominance, which is a common negative cycle.

Stay tuned for more information on this topic next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.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

Couples who want and expect to have a more equalitarian relationship will struggle if one partner is overly dominant (Part 4 – Partner Dominance)

Partner dominance is problematic when a person does not want their partner to be in such a controlling position. A high score on Partner Dominance should trigger a discussion with the person scoring high.

Based on the research, PREPARE/ENRICH has discovered that there is a positive cycle linking assertiveness and self-confidence and a negative cycle linking avoidance and perceived dominance.

In the positive cycle, as a person uses more assertiveness, their level of self confidence tends to increase. As a person’s self confidence increases, their willingness and ability to be more assertive increases.

In the negative cycle, when one person perceives their partner as dominating, a common reaction is for that person to avoid dealing with issues. As a person uses more avoidance, they will often perceive more dominance in their partner.

Often a goal of marriage and relationship education is to increase the assertiveness and active listening skills of one or both partners. This series of posts discusses assertiveness and self-confidence, and avoidance and perceived partner dominance.

4. Partner Dominance:

Partner dominance assesses how much a person feels his/her partner tries to control them and dominate his/her life.

There is considerable evidence in U.S. samples demonstrating couples who have an equalitarian relationship tend to have a more successful marriage (Olson and DeFrain, 1997). There are, however, exceptions. These include couples in which both partners genuinely want more traditional relationship roles, often based on their religious beliefs or their cultural heritage. The traditional relationship is one in which the male is the leader of the family.

Engaged couples who want and expect to have a more equalitarian relationship in terms of Relationship Roles will struggle if one partner is overly dominant. Married couples may also struggle with their Roles and Responsibilities when one partner is dominant and the other feels the imbalance.

As partners in a relationship improve their assertiveness and active listening skills, their self-confidence will increase. This is the positive cycle of more assertiveness increasing self confidence. Increasing assertiveness also tends to decrease avoidance and partner dominance, which is a common negative cycle in couples.

Stay tuned for more information on this topic next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.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

When two people have higher levels of self-confidence, the couple has a higher probability of having a successful relationship (Part 3 – Self-Confidence)

Self-confidence is seen as a valuable integrative concept because it is easier to change than self-esteem and focuses heavily on the positive attitude of being able to control your own life.

Based on the research, PREPARE/ENRICH has discovered that there is a positive cycle linking assertiveness and self-confidence and a negative cycle linking avoidance and perceived dominance.

In the positive cycle, as a person uses more assertiveness, their level of self confidence tends to increase. As a person’s self confidence increases, their willingness and ability to be more assertive increases.

In the negative cycle, when one person perceives their partner as dominating, a common reaction is for that person to avoid dealing with issues. As a person uses more avoidance, they will often perceive more dominance in their partner.

Often a goal of marriage and relationship education is to increase the assertiveness and active listening skills of one or both partners. This series of posts discusses assertiveness and self-confidence, and avoidance and perceived partner dominance.

3. Self-confidence: Self-confidence focuses on how good a person feels about himself/herself and his/her ability to control things in their life.

Self-confidence was developed by combining aspects of “Self Esteem” and “Mastery”. Self-esteem is defined as how positive people feel about themselves. Mastery is the belief people have about how much control they have over what happens in their life.

When two people have higher levels of self-confidence, the couple has a higher probability of having a successful relationship. It is, therefore one of the goals of marriage and relationship education programs – to increase self-confidence. This can be achieved by helping both people become more aware individually and assertive with each other.

Taking responsibility for messages by using “I” statements is one way to increase self-confidence. In making constructive requests, be positive and respectful in communication.

Here is a practical example: “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.”

As partners in a relationship improve their assertiveness and active listening skills, their self-confidence will increase. This is the positive cycle of more assertiveness increasing self confidence. Increasing assertiveness also tends to decrease avoidance and partner dominance, which is a common negative cycle in couples.

Stay tuned for more information on this topic next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.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

There is increasing evidence that an avoidant style creates problems in close relationships (Part 2 – Avoidance)

Based on the research, we have discovered there is a positive cycle linking assertiveness and self-confidence and a negative cycle linking avoidance and perceived dominance.

In the positive cycle, as a person uses more assertiveness, their level of self confidence tends to increase. As a person’s self confidence increases, their willingness and ability to be more assertive increases.

In the negative cycle, when one person perceives their partner as dominating, a common reaction is for that person to avoid dealing with issues. As a person uses more avoidance, they will often perceive more dominance in their partner.

Often a goal of marriage and relationship education is to increase the assertiveness and active listening skills of one or both partners. This series of posts discusses assertiveness and self-confidence and avoidance and perceived partner dominance.

Avoidance: Avoidance is a person’s tendency to minimise issues and his/her reluctance to deal with issues directly.

Avoidance tends to be highest in people who are passive or non-assertive. Conversely, people who are very assertive tend to be low on avoidance. There is increasing evidence that an avoidant style creates problems in close relationships.

People who score high in avoidance tend to report they feel dominated by their partner, dislike the personalities of their partner, and dislike the way they communicate and resolve conflicts with their partner.

John Gottman (1994), a prominent researcher on marriage, described three common styles of relating in couples. One of his three types of couples was the avoidant couple.

Avoidant couples tend to minimise conflict and often don’t resolve their differences, agreeing to disagree. Gottman has found an avoidant relationship is one style that can endure, but states, ‘…there is a low level of companionship and sharing in the marriage.” He goes on to report, “Another hazard of this type of marriage is that it can become lonely” (Gottman, 1994, p. 46). Individuals in such marriages may often feel disconnected, misunderstood, and ill-equipped to deal with conflict should it arise.

As partners in a relationship improve their assertiveness and active listening skills, their self-confidence will increase. This is the positive cycle of more assertiveness increasing self confidence. Increasing assertiveness also tends to decrease avoidance and partner dominance, which is a common negative cycle in couples.

Stay tuned for more information on this topic next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.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

Positive and Negative cycles in Relationships: Linking assertiveness and self-confidence and avoidance and partner dominance (Part 1 – Increasing Assertiveness)

Based on the research, we have discovered there is a positive cycle linking assertiveness and self-confidence and a negative cycle linking avoidance and perceived dominance.

In the positive cycle, as a person uses more assertiveness, their level of self-confidence tends to increase. As a person’s self-confidence increases, their willingness and ability to be more assertive increases. Increasing assertiveness also tends to decrease avoidance and partner dominance, which is a common negative cycle in couples.

When one person perceives their partner as dominating, a common reaction is for that person to avoid dealing with issues. As a person uses more avoidance, they will often perceive more dominance in their partner.

Often a goal of marriage and relationship education is to increase the assertiveness and active listening skills of one or both partners. This series of posts discusses assertiveness and self-confidence and avoidance and perceived partner dominance.

Assertiveness: Assertiveness is the ability to express one’s feelings to their partner and the ability to ask for what they would like.

Assertive communication involves the honest expression of one’s thoughts, feelings, and desires. Assertiveness is self focused and, therefore, is marked by use of “I” and “me” statements rather than “you” statements.

Assertive people are able to ask for what they want without demanding it or infringing on the rights of others. Assertive people tend to feel better about themselves because they are able to express themselves.

One important goal is to try to become more assertive with each other. Increasing assertiveness will positively affect the other three relationship dynamics. If each person becomes more assertive, this will increase a person’s self confidence, reduce the partner’s dominance and reduce the tendency to use avoidance.

When both partners are assertive with each other, this tends to increase the level of intimacy because they are able to share their honest feelings and ask for what they want and, thereby, increase the probability they will connect and understand one another’s needs.

As a person’s self confidence increases, their willingness and ability to be more assertive increases.

Stay tuned for more information on this topic next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.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

Relationship dynamics: Assertiveness and self-confidence relate to each other in a positive cycle

The Relationship Dynamics section of PREPARE/ENRICH allows couples to identify tendencies each partner displays within their relationship across the four interrelated areas of Assertiveness, Self-Confidence, Avoidance and Partner Dominance.

The following series of blog posts will discuss each area and the techniques used to explore these concepts with couples, in order to use the Relationship Dynamics section to its full potential. First, let’s define the four interrelated areas that make up Relationship Dynamics:

  1. Assertiveness – the ability to express one’s feelings and ask for what one wants in the relationship
  2. Self-Confidence – how good one feels about oneself and their ability to accomplish what they want in life
  3. Avoidance – the tendency to minimise issues and reluctance to deal with issues directly
  4. Partner Dominance – how much one feels controlled or dominated by their partner.

Understanding the positive and negative cycles… Assertiveness and self-confidence relate to each other in a positive cycle. The idea is the more assertive a person is, the more self-confident they are, which allows them to be more assertive, and so on. The positive cycle strengthens both dynamics by the nature of how they are interrelated.

Cycles are not always positive though… Avoidance and partner dominance relate to each other in a negative cycle. The more avoidance a person introduces into the relationship, the more they allow space for their partner to dominate, which perpetuates the avoidance, and so on. Thus a negative cycle is occurring.

Stay tuned for more information on this topic next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.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