They say that love is blind, but it makes much more sense to go into marriage with your eyes open, writes Catherine MacFarlane of Oxford Marriage Care. When did you last talk about you as a couple? Are you finding you are taking the “happy ever after bit” for granted because you are caught up in the thrill of the wedding day?
It’s a sobering thought that one in two children born today will see the breakdown of their parents’ relationship. Statistics are one thing, but every relationship breakdown causes pain and suffering, not only to the couple themselves but for their children and their wider family. You may have experienced this yourself and want to make sure it doesn’t happen to you.
So how can this be prevented? Enduring relationships need nurturing and cultivating. Marriage Preparation is a one-day workshop for groups of up to 12 couples. The programme equips you with insights on how to build and maintain happy relationships, avoid various pitfalls and gives support to help you build the best possible future together.
During the day you are encouraged to consider things that will help cultivate a lifelong relationship and understand how relationships grow when important issues are dealt with in a constructive and loving way.
People who have attended told us that you don’t know you need it until you have attended. The course gives an insight into how to deal with conflict and teaches you that you can change how you react.
We also offer a programme tailored to individual couples called FOCCUS, where couples complete a questionnaire online, followed by up to two one-and-a-half-hour sessions with a trained facilitator who will explore with you how your relationship works and its strengths and potential issues in a safe, supportive and confidential environment.
We are seeing more couples than ever on these courses. I think young people are looking at relationships that have broken down in the past and want to understand how to make it work.
Most people plan for the big things in life and getting married is no different.
A marriage really takes time as much as anything, writes Bob Adams, who celebrated his diamond wedding anniversary with Ann in June. I sometimes read about people who meet up and get married within weeks or months.
When Ann and I got married I was already in the forces, and I was immediately sent to Germany and we spent the first two years of our marriage apart.
We only saw each other a couple of times in those years, so it was a testing time on both sides.
These days it doesn’t seem as though they have nearly so much time.
Young people have so much choice and looking back we never had that choice.
Maybe once a week there would be a dance band at the town hall, there would be football once a week. Drinking was very rare, certainly not every weekend, maybe at the occasional function.
Now there is something different to do every night of the week, and everything moves so fast, which puts pressure on people.
You wouldn’t get young people today staying in night after night.
Neither of us ever said, ‘I am going to do this or that’; we have always agreed together.
Divorce is such an everyday thing these days. Couples who have been together six months say, ‘We’re just going to drift apart’.
I don’t know if you can look at the effort that has been put into a marriage during that time.
Most people in those days were brought up learning domestic skills, girls learnt cookery and things at home. I was brought up learning carpentry.
Those things are useful to have.
But, we have also been very fortunate. Ann has backed me in everything I have wanted to do and she is very interested in all the sports I do.
We have always wanted to do the same things together.
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