Tag Archives: intimacy

Intentional Parenting: 8 ways to be intentional with the time you have to spend with your family

Many people make resolutions around their own lifestyle changes that will improve their quality of life. While we tend to make unobtainable goals, many people still have a go, and some succeed. Researchers call this feeling the “fresh start effect”. They have found that we tend to motivate ourselves into good habits by using a new beginning (like the start of the week, month, year, season, etc.) as a marker to put past behavior behind us and focus on being better. It brings opportunity to reflect on the previous year and anticipate what you want the New Year to look like.

Here are a few ideas which may get you thinking of how you can do “small things often” and turn towards your partner to show them you are loving them intentionally. In turn these small things will add to your emotional bank account, deposits that create a stronger bond in your partnership.

A goal for you might be about the quality of time you spend together versus the quantity.

We have come up with 8 ways to be intentional with the time you have to spend with your family. Try using these motivations in your own household.

  1. Spend 1:1 time – If you have more than one child how can you make them feel special and loved? Spend time with them individually! Kids crave one-on-one time with their parents. It makes them feel special, you get to connect and catch up with that child, and it can strengthen your bond. Make sure both parents take turns. Some examples: have one child run errands with you, take a walk around your neighborhood, do your chores/projects together, play a favorite game with them, use your time in the car driving your child to activities.

By setting intentions for family time, it takes pressure off of you and your family to accomplish those unreasonable resolutions. Use this year as an opportunity to create a fresh start. Be intentional with your family.

Remember that these motivations aren’t all or nothing. Some days you will succeed in some areas and lack in others, and that’s okay. The purpose of setting intentions is to make your goals obtainable for you and your family.

References

  1. Hengchen Dai, Katherine L. Milkman, Jason Riis (2014) The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior. Management Science

#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

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Encouraging Intimacy: Couples whose relationship lacks intimacy may benefit from being encouraged to engage in constructive emotional disclosure

It has long been proposed that self-disclosure and empathic responding form the basis of good quality intimate relationships.

A study by Alexandra Mitchell and her colleagues in 2008 examined 102 couples who completed intimacy measures following videotaped discussions about relationship problems and crises occurring both within and outside the relationship. They reported that “…men’s own disclosure and empathic responding predicted their feelings of intimacy, whereas women’s intimacy was predicted by their partner’s disclosure and empathic responding.

Self-disclosure and empathic responding appear to be important behavioral determinants of intimate feelings, but the manner in which they influence intimacy differs according to gender.”

This suggests that aspects of empathic responding may influence intimacy in men and women differently. The authors summarised these differences as follows:

  • Men’s caring predicted their own intimacy, whereas their understanding and validation did not. Men may feel more effective in responding to their partner’s vulnerability and, therefore, closer to their partner when they express affectionate concern for their partner rather than just understanding and acceptance of their partner’s disclosure.
  • Women felt more intimate when their partners exhibited understanding, validation, and caring.

One practical implication of this finding is that couples whose relationship lacks intimacy may benefit from being encouraged to engage in constructive emotional disclosure discussions more frequently, particularly as a means of regaining closeness after relationship damage has occurred.

Men will feel a greater sense of intimacy from responding to their partner and expressing caring towards their partner, and their partners will feel a greater sense of intimacy because of this.

Reference:

Mitchell, Alexandra E, Castellani, Angela M, Herrington, Rachael L, Joseph, Jana I, Doss, Brian D, Snyder, Douglas K (2008). Predictors of intimacy in couples’ discussions of relationship injuries: An observational study. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 21-29.

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

More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

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

Take this quick marital check-up today and improve your relationship tomorrow

Go quickly down the following list of statements and indicate honestly your level of agreement beside each one. Compare your responses with those your spouse has made independently on another sheet. For those items where you both ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ try to think of an example to share with your partner.

Note the items for which your response differs from your partners and in the next few days schedule a time (preferably after a meal) to talk constructively together about the topic and what you both could do about it for the benefit of the less satisfied partner. Similarly, arrange to talk as constructively as you can about items that both have marked ‘disagree’ or ‘strongly disagree’.

Select ‘Strongly disagree’, ‘Disagree’, ‘Undecided’, ‘Agree’ or ‘Strongly agree’

  1. I am very satisfied with how my partner and I communicate
  2. We are creative in how we cope with our differences
  3. We feel very connected to one another
  4. My partner seldom seems too controlling
  5. My partner is able to understand my opinions and ideas when we discuss problems
  6. Our sexual relationship is satisfying and fulfilling to me
  7. We have a good balance of leisure time spent together and separately
  8. My partner’s friends or family rarely interfere with our relationship
  9. We usually agree on how to spend money
  10. I am satisfied with how we express spiritual values and beliefs

If there are a number of these, please consider getting the help of a qualified third party; don’t risk these issues becoming terminal. NB. Don’t attempt to discuss more than any one topic in a sitting.

Couple Checkup with laptopMore tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

Modern couples want a more satisfying and intimate relationship

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. 

The problem is that, much like a river, a relationship may look relatively stable, but deeper examination reveals undercurrents that change from moment to moment. This explains how a couple can, after many years together feel as though they no longer know one another.

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 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.

Couple Checkup with laptopMore tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

The 5 big areas for conflict in relationships: Children

Finances, Work (in and out of the house), Sex, In Laws and Children are the five big areas that dominate conflict in most relationships. Ensuring timely and open communication and pragmatic approaches to discussing issues that arise will ensure our relationship is sustained for the long-term.

All Relationships including those with your spouse and children (and others) tend towards entropy, disorder and dissolution. Marriage and divorces can be disastrous for those concerned, especially for children. Being intentional and principle centred can revitalise and enrich your marriage, ensuring your marriage is sustained and endures.

This series of blog posts explores each of the five big areas for conflict in relationships, emphasising that by taking intentional steps to discuss and resolve these issues, they will have a lasting effect.

5. Children: Baring and raising children can have a significant impact on your relationship and in some cases completely dominate it. Having a shared understanding of the impact of children on us physically, socially and mentally is crucial for the long-term success of our relationship.

Establishing boundaries and ensuring appropriate time with your partner is important – and sticking to these shared rules is mandatory.

If much of the conflict that occurs in relationships arises out of conflicting expectations, uncover them and discuss a solution. Be aware of your partners personal goals and your goals as a couple and a family. Goals provide meaning and direction in life, and striving for goals provides a sense of purpose.

Define your family tree and discuss the various relationships. Work towards a shared understanding of how and when these interactions will take place. Ensure one-on-one time is scheduled with each child.

Additionally, household tasks and the allocation of those is critical in the arduous role of a parent. Discuss and script an approach balance that works for your relationship. Remain open to change and decide an approach that is balanced for both you and your partner.

Discuss family, those interactions and feelings regularly (weekly). Keep the lines of communication open and support your partner. Work with your partner and ensure they are number one.

Do you need a boost in your relationship? The PREPARE/ENRICH relationship assessment has been proven to assist couples for over 40 years. Looking for a facilitator to work with you, then contact us.

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.

More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

The 5 big areas for conflict in relationships: Sex

Finances, Work (in and out of the house), Sex, In Laws and Children are the five big areas that dominate conflict in most relationships. Ensuring timely and open communication and pragmatic approaches to discussing issues that arise will ensure our relationship is sustained for the long-term.

All Relationships including those with your spouse and children (and others) tend towards entropy, disorder and dissolution. Marriage and divorces can be disastrous for those concerned, especially for children. Being intentional and principle centred can revitalise and enrich your marriage, ensuring your marriage is sustained and endures.

This series of blog posts explores each of the five big areas for conflict in relationships, emphasising that by taking intentional steps to discuss and resolve these issues, they will have a lasting effect.

3. Sex: Our relationship with our life partner, is one of the most important and exciting relationships we will have and whilst it is one of constant change, learning and improvement, it is easy to get caught up in the demands of life to find we are living our lives narrowly focusing on everything other than our partner.

Whilst the quality of our sexual relationship often reflects the quality of our overall relationship, neglecting or forgetting our marriage – and the needs of our partner for affection and intimacy – can have dire and expected consequences. If neglected there is a greater risk of an affair both for the one feeling neglected and the partner neglecting the other and none of us are exempt from the risk of an affair.

Affair proof your marriage and establishing boundaries is vital: for example, don’t get into a situation where your relationship could be at risk. Your relationship with your partner is important and exclusive. Protect each other by:

  • Build each other up
  • Fill emotional needs
  • Set boundaries – avoid meetings, dinners etc with people of opposite sex
  • Keep sex alive – to love is to give
  • Be careful with emails
  • Pornography – to be avoided.
  • Always keep your sexual relationship interesting. Remember anything we constantly repeat will lose impact. Try to vary place and be creative, vary who initiates it.

    Through continued commitment and loyalty we can tackle the ups and downs of our marriage together. Don’t allow the daily grind to become the focus to the exclusion of your marriage. The most important thing you can start doing is to focus on your partner and your sexual relationship. Affair proof your marriage and establish boundaries and be creative. You will get there if you are willing to invest the time and effort. Be proactive and do this for your marriage today.

    Do you need a boost in your relationship? The PREPARE/ENRICH relationship assessment has been proven to assist couples for over 40 years. Looking for a facilitator to work with you, then contact us.

    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.

    More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com