It comes as to no surprise to me that a recent major study confirms that education of couples about marital relationships and family life improves the chances of a happy and fulfilling marriage. How Do You Keep A Marriage Going?
After grad school, I was the director of family life education for a large Philadelphia counseling agency. Through working there, I learned how much couples enjoy learning about relationship challenges both together and as individuals. I learned that young couples who grow up in homes where they see, feel and experience their parents' fulfilling lives together have a much better chance of creating their own happy marriages. Life is just easier for them from minute one of marital life.
I noticed that those couples who grew up with rage, distance or contempt between their parents had a far harder time living with depth, commitment and harmony. Plus, they did not have a clue about how to handle disagreements and how to express their anger. Often, minor difficulty resulted in out-of-hand arguments that doomed the life of a healthy marriage. 6 Life Lessons For Finding Fulfillment
In the family life education courses and seminars, I have continued to teach topics such as control, communication, intimacy and sexual fulfillment. I have also focused on various challenges that couples go through together in different chapters of their lives. In addition, I made it a point to teach couples when to know that counseling is necessary. I also explained when to know that a relationship could benefit from what I call an "intermission," and when an "intermission" should lead to a divorce.
Here's my take on control, communication, intimacy and the stages of marriage in a nutshell:
Control: This is a killer of relationships. Controlling partners who dictate what their partner must and must not do at all times can cause unhappy marriages. These type of controlling partners withhold love and affection if they do not get what they expect and make a fulfilling life impossible. Stop Trying To Be Supermom! 5 Tips For Finding Balance
Communication: To be successful, marriage must include some give, some take and some compromise. Sometimes things are one way and sometimes another. Sometimes, couples must find a whole new way to do something, one that they each and both can agree on.
Intimacy: In some homes, closeness and intimacy is frowned upon as unnecessary and "show offy." It is only when couples learn that it is important to be tender and kind to each other that true, natural and easy intimacy can become part of an ongoing life.
Stages of Marriage: In each of these stages, when horrible fights cannot be avoided, counseling is truly necessary. Here is what should happen at each of the four stages of marriage: