Connecting Families: A Relationship Enhancement Program


Love involves
respect, commitment and most of all deeply caring about another’s well-being.
Connecting Families Penn State Cooperative Extension
Understanding the Couple Relationship, Session 1 8 2004
My partner should know what my needs are. No one can read another’s mind. Needs
should be verbalized in clear language, sometimes repeatedly. If the need is something a
partner can provide, they first must know what it is.
Conflict means the lack of love. Conflict is an inevitable aspect of all relationships. If
conflict is dealt with appropriately it can be healthy for a relationship. Working through
conflict helps the couple learn new strategies to resolve issues in the future.
¡ My partner needs to earn enough
money to provide for our families
¡ In-laws are not important.
5. Continue with review and discussion of
typical marriage myths.
Instructor’s Notes
My partner needs to earn enough money to provide for our families needs. Today most
couples are not independently wealthy when they marry. Most frequently it takes two
incomes to provide for a family. A lot of decisions must be made that involve money. It is
critical to clearly communicate about financial issues and continually work at having a
jointly agreed upon financial plan for your family. Money is the number one issue about
which couples fight.
In-laws are not important. Like it or not, marriage brings formal relationships with an
extended family. Realistically, it is important to remember that a couple can establish
independence from in-laws, but they will always be a part of your life.
¡ Color how we perceive an event.
¡ Are beliefs about “what should be.”
Unmet expectations create
disappointment, frustration and
6. From not only the culture but also our
past experiences, we each develop a set of
expectations that we have about what “a
good marriage is.” Using Slide 6, define
what an expectation is. Expectations are
beliefs about “what should be.” When
expectations are not met or do not come
true, one most typically reacts negatively.
Often in close relationships, unmet expectations can lead to the “naming and blaming
game” in which a partner blames the other for their disappointment, frustration and anger.
If we are not aware of our expectations, they can be powerful drivers that lead to
dissatisfaction and ultimately to constant unhappiness.
Connecting Families Penn State Cooperative Extension
Understanding the Couple Relationship, Session 1 9 2004
“A Good Marriage” Expectations
¡ Boundaries
¡ Investments
¡ Control
¡ Power
7. Define what are commonly held
expectations for marriage, using Slide 7
and the Instructors Notes. Ask the group
to take a few minutes to decide what
their expectations are about these critical
components of a relationship:
Instructor’s Notes
Boundaries: What makes you a couple? What level of independence is each partner to
have? What are the tasks and roles each is responsible for in the relationship?
Investments: How much time and effort does each put into the relationship? How does
one show investment?
Control: Who makes the decisions? Who decides various issues involved in the
relationship – such as the children, the house, how the money is spent? Who decides what
the couple does? Who takes charge of the children?
Power: Who ultimately is responsible for issues? Who pays the bills?

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Veronica S. Haggerty


"A strong, healthy relationship can be one of the best things that can happen to you. However, it can also be one of the biggest drains on you if the relationship is not working. Relationships are like bank accounts. The more you put in, the more you get back. Falling in love is the easy part, but long term relationships take work, commitment, and a willingness to adapt and change through life as a team. Learn about ways to keep a healthy relationship strong, or begin to today to work on repairing trust and renewing love for a relationship on the rocks".

Location: New Hope, PA
Credentials: MA, MFT, RN
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