Connecting Families: A Relationship Enhancement Program

with the same assumptions.
Not having the same assumptions leads to different behaviors and reactions. Men most
typically withdraw when criticized, or put in a pressure situation. Women on the other
hand want to openly talk about the issue at hand. So the woman pushes the conversation
which often is viewed by the male as nagging or whining. The husband withdraws more or
blows up. What are the man’s assumptions and what are the woman’s? As a group, identify
what they could be. Becoming sensitive to our own assumptions and those of our spouse is
a mechanism to improve our relationship. Introduce the Assumptions Situations Activity to
illustrate the concept.
Assumption Situation Activity
Using the materials provided in the Assumptions Situations, Session Materials 2,
distribute the situations to teams of two individuals. Ask the teams to decide who will
represent the man’s perspective and the women’s perspective. Each team is to identify the
assumptions that the male and female in the relationship have about their relationship. As
a team, they are to identify the conflict issues. At the end of the activity, reinforce that
understanding one’s and your partner’s assumptions helps a couple to have a happier
relationship.
Values, expectations and assumptions are
hidden components of every relationship
9. Use Slide 9 to reinforce the important
role values, expectations, and
assumptions play in a relationship.
Values, expectations and assumptions are
powerful hidden components of every
individual. The be liefs that they create
are part of us. Beliefs guide our behavior
and actions. If we can understand the
motivations behind our actions, we can
begin to see our relationships in a
different light. When we understand
“why” for certain reactions and behaviors,
we can change our response. We can
begin to talk with our partner about
alternate ways to handle differences.
Connecting Families Penn State Cooperative Extension
Understanding the Couple Relationship, Session 1 11 2004
-
-
Your Relationship
¡ Is influenced by values,
expectations and assumptions.
¡ Knowing each others values,
expectations and assumptions
helps to maintain positive
relationships.
¡ Is built upon jointly held values,
expectations and assumptions.
10. Using Slide 10, summarize by reviewing
how our values, expectations and
assumptions come into play in our
relationships. We can manage our
relationship better by openly talking
about them. Through conversation, we
come to agree on some jointly held values,
expectations, and assumptions. This
builds the foundation for a stronger
relationship.
Connecting Families Penn State Cooperative Extension
Understanding the Couple Relationship, Session 1 12 2004
Handout 1
RELATIONSHIP VALUES SHEET
1 7
2 8
3 9
4 10
5 11
6 12
Connecting Families Penn State Cooperative Extension
Understanding the Couple Relationship, Session 1 13 2004
Handout 2
Expectations in Action
Directions : List the expectations that you have for marriage. After listing as many as you can
think of, check to whom those apply.
EXPECTATIONS WHO DOES IT AFFECT?
1. ______________________________________ Me ____ My Partner ____ Both ____
______________________________________
2. ______________________________________ Me ____ My Partner ____ Both ____
______________________________________
3. ______________________________________ Me ____ My Partner ____ Both ____
______________________________________
4.. ______________________________________ Me ____ My Partner ____ Both ____
______________________________________
5.. ______________________________________ Me ____ My Partner ____ Both ____
______________________________________
6 ______________________________________ Me ____ My Partner ____ Both ____
______________________________________
7. ______________________________________ Me ____ My Partner ____ Both ____
______________________________________
8. ______________________________________ Me ____ My Partner ____ Both ____
______________________________________
9. ______________________________________ Me ____ My Partner ____ Both ____
______________________________________
10. ______________________________________ Me ____ My Partner ____ Both ____
______________________________________
Connecting Families Penn State Cooperative Extension
Understanding the Couple Relationship, Session 1 14 2004
Session Materials 1
RELATIONSHIP VALUES SLIPS
Directions : For the relationship values activity, reproduce this sheet and the relationship values
sheet. Cut values into separate slips, place in an envelope, and clip to each participant’s
relationship value sheet. Have participants move the slips on the relationship values “board” until
they reach a final decision about the order and placement of each value. Then have them write
their selections in the spaces provided on the relationship values sheet.
RESPECT LOVE & AFFECTION
SEXUAL RELATIONS COMPANIONSHIP
TRUST CHILDREN
FUN SENSITIVE SPOUSE’S NEEDS
SUPPORT FINANCIAL
COMMITMENT INDEPENDENCE
Connecting Families Penn State Cooperative Extension
Understanding the Couple Relationship, Session 1 15 2004
Session Materials 2
Assumptions Situations
Directions : Reproduce and cut each situation into an individual handout slip. Conduct the
activity by asking teams of two individuals to represent the male and female perspective in each
situation.
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Joe likes to just stay home and relax with Mary Ann. Mary Ann likes to go out because she
spends so much time home with the children. He says to her “Let’s spend the evening together.”
What is his assumption of a “relaxing evening?” What is her idea of a “relaxing evening?”
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Judy does most of the house work on a weekly basis, however, John spent the weekend mowing
grass and weeding the flowers. John says to her “Boy you should be proud of me for doing all of
this work.” What is his assumption and what is her’s about who does all of “this work.”
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Both Fred and Jane work full time to support their family. Fred is really upset that Mary spent so
much to buy a swimming pool for the kids. He says to her “Couldn’t you find something
cheaper? We are not made of money you know that.” What are his and her assumptions.
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gary’s wife is sick and tells him that he needs to stay home to baby-sit for the children instead of
going to work. He is really upset. What are his and her assumptions?
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bill’s mother is always coming over and cleaning up the house. He keeps telling Judy that she is
not being a “good housekeeper and wife.” They frequently fight about this. What is his and her
assumption?
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ann’s son’s teacher called to report that he was caught smoking which is against school policy.
Ann thought she had smelled smoke on his clothes but Dan just said “not to worry.” What are his
and her assumptions?
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
John works in an office that is relative ly stress free. June teachers middle school. She comes
home exhausted everyday. John wants to go out and do “fun” things several nights a week. June
complains that John is not being considerate by expecting her to go out so much. What is his
assumption and what is hers?
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Norman’s wife asks him frequently to stop on his way home to pick up a few items at the grocery
store. This really bothers him because she shops at least once a week for groceries. He usually
comes in and complains about having to stop. She gets mad and the evening is filled with
tension. What is his assumption and what is hers?
"--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mary spends time every evening talking to her friends and sister. Doug just turns her off,
watches TV and

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