Category Archives: prepare-enrich

Thank you for all you’ve done for me Mum: Every thing big and small

You’ve been there by my side through thick and thin, through good times and bad and you’ve done all those small things that a mum does. Thank you, I didn’t go unnoticed.

To my wife, who is always considering our children’s needs before her own, thanks. For every dinner, for every sock that founds it’s partner, for every drop off and pickup, thanks.

Happy mother’s day mum!

Noticing things that others do and expressing your thanks can bring instant intimacy back into your relationship.

Research has shown that successful couples maintain a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions. Considering this and noticing the small things that others do and expressing simple messages of appreciation like, “I really enjoyed dinner tonight” “you really look great today,” and, “thanks for doing the laundry!” will go a long way. As John Gottman says: making deposits into the emotional bank account will come in handy during times of stress and conflict.

Assessing your relationships with your partner and your children

The Parenting Version of PREPARE/ENRICH is designed to guide couples through the emotions of parenting by empowering them with insight into their parenting style, family dynamics, and couple relationship.

When should the Parenting Version be administered?

The Parenting Version is a good choice for any committed couple whose primary concerns are children and parenting issues. While the Parenting Version does assess some relational constructs (communication, conflict resolution, finances, partner styles & habits, and relationship dynamics), the main focus is on parenting issues.

Frequently asked questions:

  • Is it appropriate for couples in blended (step) families?
    Yes, the Parenting Version is customized by the couple based on background questions they answer regarding children.
  • Can it be used with single parents?
    No, like all PREPARE/ENRICH assessments, the Parenting Version is a relationship assessment which assumes the couple is in a committed relationship with one another.
  • How many children/teens can be considered as part of the assessment?
    In addition to global parenting/child/teen statements, the Parenting Version provides each parent the opportunity to evaluate their style of parenting with one to four children. If couples are parenting more than four children, they should select the children most relevant to the parenting issues they are managing.
  • Do the children/teens also complete the assessment?
    No, the Parenting Version is only completed by the parents. However, the facilitator will need the first name, gender and ages of the children in order to type them into the system so the couple can answer questions about the children.
  • What information is needed to set up a couple?
    The facilitator will need the couple’s information (first name and email address) and the following information about each child: first name, age, and gender. The Facilitator will also have the option to include the Family Spiritual Beliefs scale.
  • Would it be appropriate for parents of a newborn?
    No, the parenting scales address issues of discipline, rules and parent-child communication.
  • Can it be used in a group setting?
    Yes, it could be used in a parent education/support/enrichment group setting.

Getting Started:

For Parents:

  • To get started with the Parenting Version of PREPARE/ENRICH, you will need to locate a qualified facilitator of relationship and parental education. PREPARE/ENRICH Certified facilitators can be located in your area by contacting PREPARE/ENRICH or by using the search facility on the website: For Couples

For Facilitators:

  • To get started with the Parenting Version of PREPARE/ENRICH, you will need to become PREPARE/ENRICH Certified by attending a Workshop.
  • Once trained, Contact Us to activate the Parenting Version in your facilitator account.
  • The cost to activate the Parenting Version is $40

The PREPARE/ENRICH Parenting Version is Now Available: Register here >

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 the Parenting Version or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich

Moving too quickly and not allowing themselves time to really get to know one another: Exploring Unrealistic Expectations of Marriage (Part II)

If a couple believes that nothing could cause them to question their love and already know everything there is to know, why wait? Some couples move too quickly towards engagement and marriage, not allowing themselves time to really get to know one another.

Almost intoxicated by love, engaged couples are often known for being infatuated with one another. They tend to be confident that they’ll never have problems or that existing problems will just fade away with time, they’ll never question their love, never experience a drop in romance, and already know everything there is to know about their partner. They truly are love struck.

The Problem with Unrealistic Expectations

While the phenomenon of being love struck is quite normal, it can also be a setup when experienced in extremes. There are several problems associated with unrealistic marriage expectations.

    Moving too quickly: 

    It may be the norm for engaged couples to be love-struck, embracing romanticised notions regarding love and marriage or perhaps it may just be that humans are designed to function at a physiological level.

    People and relationships are always changing. Almost all relationships begin happily, but many do not remain so. When couples are first getting to know one another, mutual curiosity creates an atmosphere of sharing and personal reflection. After some time together, there is a tendency to believe they know their partner and conversations shift from each other to events, other people, or ideas.

    Don’t sound the alarms or be overly critical but understand that couples may need to be more realistic about what they should expect from their relationship.

Marriage Expectations is a challenging, yet fun area of discussion for premarital couples, however whilst these couples often have a lot to discuss as they prepare for marriage, healthy dialogue about expectations is critical. The key question for exploration for engaged couples is:

“My partner is the only person with whom I could have a happy marriage.”

by Peter Larson, Ph.D.

Tune in next week for part 3.

Source: Peter Larson, Ph.D. 
References: Olson, D. H. (2004). PREPARE/ENRICH Counselor’s Manual. Minneapolis: Life Innovations.

Slater, L. (2006). True Love. National Geographic. February, 32-49.

#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

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My partner is the only person with whom I could have a happy marriage: Exploring Unrealistic Expectations

It may be no surprise that seriously dating and engaged couples are more prone to “agree” or “strongly agree” with statements such as “We are as happy as any couple could possibly be!”

Almost intoxicated by love, engaged couples are often known for being infatuated with one another. They tend to be confident that they’ll never have problems or that existing problems will just fade away with time, they’ll never question their love, never experience a drop in romance, and already know everything there is to know about their partner. They truly are love struck.
Unrealistic Expectations of Marriage: Recent Findings and Couple Types 

In reviewing data from a sample of 15,000 couples who have taken PREPARE/ENRICH, scoring revealed that marital couples often have lower scores in the Marriage Expectations, with an average score on Marriage Expectations at 35%. In other words, the average couple expresses healthy agreement on just 3 or 4 items out of 10. In the case of Marriage Expectations, healthy agreement often means both partners need to disagree with a naïve or unrealistic notion. The data demonstrates that it is common and perhaps even normal to be oblivious to the natural challenges and difficulties that accompany marriage.

Addicted & Obsessed?

Science is beginning to explain the phenomenon of being love struck. One recent article (Slater, 2006) summarised several intriguing findings on the topic. Helen Fisher, a professor from Rutgers University, has used MRI technology to study couples who report they are “madly in love”. While in the MRI machine, subjects were shown two photographs, one neutral and the other of their lover. The results showed that the pictures of the loved ones evoked a powerful chemical reaction in the pleasure centres of the brain, lighting up the neuronal receptors for a neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Dopamine is associated with intense energy, focused attention, exhilaration and motivation. Certain addictive drugs, such as cocaine, can activate the same regions and chemicals in the brain. In other words, brain physiology suggests couples can feel “addicted to love”.

It may not be unusual for such couples to feel like they have found their one true soul mate, the only person on earth with whom they could have a happy marriage. Italian researcher, Donatella Marazziti, explored the similarities between being passionately in love and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The neurotransmitter, serotonin, seems to be the culprit in OCD. Marazziti looked at three groups of subjects, one group of “lovers”, one group suffering from OCD, and another group free from mental illness and passionate love. Results showed that the levels of serotonin in both the OCD groups’ blood and the lovers’ blood were 40 percent lower than in the normal subjects. In other words, there were similar chemical markers in OCD and being madly in love. We’ve all seen young couples who seem to be obsessed with one another, spending every moment possible together. Perhaps this is why premarital couples taking PREPARE/ENRICH expect all of their needs for companionship, even after marriage, to be met by their partner.

It may be the norm for engaged couples to be love-struck, embracing romanticised notions regarding love and marriage or perhaps it may just be that humans are designed to function at a physiological level. Don’t sound the alarms or be overly critical but understand that couples may need to be more realistic about what they should expect from their relationship.

Marriage Expectations is a challenging, yet fun area of discussion for premarital couples, however whilst these couples often have a lot to discuss as they prepare for marriage, healthy dialogue about expectations is critical. The key question for exploration for engaged couples is:

“My partner is the only person with whom I could have a happy marriage.”

Source: Peter Larson, Ph.D. 

References: Olson, D. H. (2004). PREPARE/ENRICH Counselor’s Manual. Minneapolis: Life Innovations.

Slater, L. (2006). True Love. National Geographic. February, 32-49. 

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

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Personality traits remain relatively stable over time, so don’t think you can change your partner.

Do you like your partner’s personality? That might sound like a ridiculous question to some people. “Of course I do! Why would I be with him/her if I didn’t?” Please note that this is not the same as “do you love your partner?”

You may (or may not) be surprised to learn that many people spend a lot of time trying to change aspects of his/her partner’s personality or secretly hope that one day their “annoying” traits will magically cease.

Research has shown that a person’s personality traits remain relatively stable over time, so while your partner may be able to make small changes, such as putting more effort into being organised or moderating competitive instincts in situations where competition is not appropriate, it is very unlikely that you will see a 180-degree change (from introvert to extrovert for example).

PREPARE/ENRICH data show that there is no correlation between personality similarities/differences and relationship satisfaction. Individuals are actually 66% more likely to pair with someone with a different personality than their own.

So what can we take away from this?

Trying to change your partner’s personality is kind of like being a “backseat driver”: It is no help to the driver, you both end up frustrated, and you might be missing out on some great scenery along the way!

You have more control over your own relationship satisfaction by learning to appreciate the personality traits of your partner that are different from yours. This does not mean you will never get annoyed or have disagreements, but just remember: those characteristics that annoy you now were probably the same ones that drew you to him/her in the beginning!

More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

Used with permission from PREPARE/ENRICH: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call us today (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.
  

Taking time to seek and grant forgiveness can play a powerful role in healing and restoring your relationship: Seeking and Granting Forgiveness 

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. Apologize and ask for forgiveness.

    6. Forgive yourself.

    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).

More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com, tune in next week…

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Material used with permission of PREPARE/ENRICH. For more information about PREPARE/ENRICH, contact us at: prepare-enrich.com.au or call us today (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.

Balancing “I” and “We”: Make new friends and keep the old ones

We all know a one couple that seems to do everything together. You know the one. They share every leisure activity, and rarely if ever, does one partner make plans that don’t involve the other. Maybe you see this in your best friend’s relationship, maybe in a relative’s relationship, or maybe in your own!

Maintaining a sense of emotional closeness with your partner is important; it is one of the major pillars of a healthy intimate relationship. That  said, you can have too much of a good thing. 

Dr. David Olson’s Circumplex Model research demonstrates that a healthy relationship requires a balance of togetherness and separateness. Closeness is important, but so is maintaining your own sense of identity and independence.

Here are some tips for achieving an appropriate balance between “I” and “We”:

  • Make new friends, and keep the olds. Sometimes when people enter a serious relationship or get married, they let other friendships fall by the wayside. Just as it takes work to maintain a marriage, friendships also require an effort. Nurture existing friendships, and keep yourself open to making new connections.

Know that spending time apart does not mean you are decreasing the overall closeness in your relationship.

When a strong emotional connection already exists, you and your partner are able to pursue your own separate interests and endeavours to help each of you grow individually, while still feeling supported by your partner and confident in your relationship.

More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

Used with permission from PREPARE/ENRICH: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call us today (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.

 

The value of relationship assessments for married couples

Relationship assessments or relationship inventories offer a number of advantages for married or long-term relationship couples who are completing these program’s.

For Couples, relationship assessments:

  • Help increase awareness of both strength and potential growth areas.
  • they help stimulate discussion concerning issues vital to their relationship.
  • they primes couples for learning valuable communication and conflict resolution skills.
  • they functions as a preventive tool to help couples become aware of important issues before they turn into major problems.

Overall the relationship assessment:

  • Provides a wealth of diagnostic information about the couple’s relationship.
  • it enhances a facilitator’s ability to work with the married couple.
  • it provides a detailed summary of important relationship issues allows specific to the couple relationship.
  • it provides a perspective on both “his” and “her” view of the relationship and the amount of agreement between them.
  • it offers an effective and efficient way to learn more about a couple.

More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

Go to: www.intentional-relationship.com