Tag Archives: Couples

Stress levels of Australian couples impacting physical health: Everyday communication patterns might be fine for everyday matters, but when you are negotiating a wedding, it’s good to be at your best!

Engaged couples are typically embroiled in the countless details of planning their wedding service and reception. They are also faced with the pressures of a very high price tag.

In many ways, planning a wedding provides the first big set of decisions a couple will make together and tests their ability to function as a team. From finances to family, and communication to conflict, the wedding preparations trigger many of the issues a couple will face throughout their married life providing a symbolic practice field for their relationship.

Differences and disagreements are as inevitable in wedding planning as they are in marriage itself. This is a good time to learn how to deal with them. Here are some strategies you might find helpful to work through with your wedding plans or to discuss with the couple you are working with:

  • Consider the Big Picture
    The standard tools of effective communication taught in Couple Checkup are particularly important when there is tension between couples. Examples are speaking for yourself using “I-statements” rather than attacking the other person, listening to understand before proposing solutions, and choosing the best time and place to talk about difficult matters. Everyday communication patterns might be fine for everyday matters, but when you are negotiating a wedding, it’s good to be at your best!

Tune in for part 5 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.au

    More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

    Take the Couple Checkup

    Take the Couple Checkup

    Simply click on the Register 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.

    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.

    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 #relationship

    Stress levels of Australian couples impacting physical health: Planning a wedding provides the first big set of decisions a couple will make together and tests their ability to function as a team

    Engaged couples are typically embroiled in the countless details of planning their wedding service and reception. They are also faced with the pressures of a very high price tag.

    In many ways, planning a wedding provides the first big set of decisions a couple will make together and tests their ability to function as a team. From finances to family, and communication to conflict, the wedding preparations trigger many of the issues a couple will face throughout their married life providing a symbolic practice field for their relationship.

    In looking at data of PREPARE/ENRICH engaged couples, the cost of the wedding is the number 3 overall stressor for engaged couples. Two other items from the wedding items also made the top 10; Decisions about wedding details was number 7, and Feeling overwhelmed by wedding details was number 10 out of the 25 stressors reported by engaged couples.

    Differences and disagreements are as inevitable in wedding planning as they are in marriage itself. This is a good time to learn how to deal with them. Here are some strategies you might find helpful to work through with your wedding plans or to discuss with the couple you are working with:

    • Consider the Big Picture
      The standard tools of effective communication taught in Couple Checkup are particularly important when there is tension between couples. Examples are speaking for yourself using “I-statements” rather than attacking the other person, listening to understand before proposing solutions, and choosing the best time and place to talk about difficult matters. Everyday communication patterns might be fine for everyday matters, but when you are negotiating a wedding, it’s good to be at your best!

    Tune in for part 4 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.au

      More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

      Take the Couple Checkup

      Take the Couple Checkup

      Simply click on the Register 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.

      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.

      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 #relationship

      Stress levels of Australian couples impacting physical health: Top 5 Stressors for 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

      Married Couples and Stress 

      Note the item rated as the number one stressor by married couples is Your spouse. This was the number one stressor cited by both men and women.

      Married couples who take PREPARE/ENRICH are often being seen in a counselling situation. It is not uncommon for individuals experiencing relational conflict to believe their problems would be solved if their partner would only change. Not only do they believe this, they often express it. Experienced counsellors are used to the finger pointing which often accompanies the initial sessions of marital therapy.

      Unfortunately, one partner cannot change the other and this approach leaves individuals totally disempowered in the relationship. In fact, the more one individual focuses on the other person’s behavior, the more resentment, anger, and resistance they typically receive in return.

      It is much more productive to help these couples work on things that are in their control including the way they speak to one another, the way they resolve conflict, and the way each individual chooses to react to their daily stressors and interactions with their spouse.

      Tune in for part 3 next week – Wedding planning and stress levels.

      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

        Take the Couple Checkup

        Take the Couple Checkup

        Simply click on the Register 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.

        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.

        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 #relationship

        Stress levels of Australian couples is impacting physical health: 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).
          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.

        Stress and Couples 

        A recent 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 colors a couple’s perceptions of their marriage.

        References:

        • Australian Psychologicsl 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

        Take the Couple Checkup

        Take the Couple Checkup

        Simply click on the Register 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.

        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.

        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 #relationship

        Couple Assessment can help identify couple strengths as well as growth areas

        Often a huge surprised for couples is when they learn what strengths they have and what impact this has on their relationship.

        Following on from last weeks post, the following are ten ways that couple assessment can increase the impact of any marriage or family education program:

        3. Assessment can help identify couple strengths as well as growth areas.

        A major component of the PREPARE/ENRICH assessment is that it identifies couple strengths in addition to specific relationship issues for the couple. One goal of the program is to not only identify strengths, but to help build couple strengths. Couples are often surprised to learn what strengths have been identified by the assessment.

        Tune in next week… Read about the 10 ways Couple Assessment can improve your relationship education program.

        Contract PREPARE/ENRICH Australia 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.

        Need more information, email me now shane@intentional-relationship.com

        Tune in next week for more relationship tips @ Intentional-Relationship.com

        Reach out to someone today and day thank you or ask… RU OK?

        It’s time to say thanks to all the people who are there for us!

        By celebrating their contribution to creating a more connected world, you’re letting them – and others – know that conversations DO make a big difference. 

        Encourage more people to trust their gut instinct and start a conversation with anyone they’re worried about.

        Staying connected and having meaningful conversations is something we can all do. You don’t need to be an expert – just a great mate and a good listener. So, if you notice someone who might be struggling – start a conversation.

        Tune in next week for more relationship tips @ Intentional-Relationship.com

        Reference: www.ruok.org.au

        Couple Assessment provides a Comprehensive Picture of the Couple Relationship

        Assessment provides a comprehensive picture and a wealth of information about a couples relationship. Assessment is a critical component of most professions but professionals working with couples or families have often failed to take advantage of these assessments.

        Physicians typically run a variety of diagnostic tests before they make their final decision on treatment. Teachers use examinations to determine a students achievement level. Police Officers use radar to determine the speed a car is driving. Engineers use stress tests to determine whether a structure will be functional for the task.

        Following on from last weeks post, the following are ten ways that couple assessment can increase the impact of any marriage or family education program:

        2. Assessment provides a comprehensive picture of the couple relationship.

        A good couple assessment will provide a wealth of information about a couples relationship. As an example, the PREPARE/ENRICH assessment includes over 30 scales that tap into the most relevant aspects of a couples relationship. There are 10 core scales that include the following:

        1. Communication
        2. conflict resolution
        3. financial management
        4. leisure activities
        5. sexual relationships
        6. role relationship
        7. spiritual beliefs
        8. personality issues
        9. parenting and
        10. family and friends.

        There is assessment of the couple system and family system (based on cohesion and flexibility), a major stress scale and six scope personality scales.

        Tune in next week… Read about the 10 ways Couple Assessment can improve your relationship education program.

        Contract PREPARE/ENRICH Australia 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.

        For more tips and reminders, tune in next week… Read about the 10 ways Couple Assessment can improve your relationship education program.

        Need more information, email me now shane@intentional-relationship.com

        Tune in next week for more relationship tips @ Intentional-Relationship.com

        References: 

        Knutson, L. & Olson, D. H. (2003) Effectiveness of PREPARE Program with premarital couples in community settings. Marriage & Family Journal, 6, (4), 529-546.

        Larson, J.H, Vatter, R.S., Galbraith, R.C., Holman, T.B. & Stahmann, R.F. (2007). The relationship evaluation (RELATE) with therapist-assisted interpretation: Short-term effecets on premarital relationships, Journal of Marital & Family Therapy, 33, (4), 364-374.

        Worthington, E.L., McCullough, M.E., Shortz, J.L., Mindes, E.J., Sandage, S.J. & Chartrand, J.M. (1995) Can couple assessment and feedback improve relationships? Assessment as a brief relationship enrichment procedure. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 42, (4), 466-475.