THE NEWSLETTER OF PREPARE-ENRICH AUSTRALIA DECEMBER 2001
HAVING SECOND THOUGHTS, OR ‘RETURNING THE RING’
Some time ago John Wheeler (our Northern NSW Trainer) suggested that we conduct a survey in order to assess the extent of cohabitation among premarital couples taking PREPARE and the extent to which some couples postpone or cancel their plans to marry after taking PREPARE. John helpfully designed the survey forms and we sent them out with processings between December 2000 and June 2001. We appreciate the fact that 186 administrators returned completed surveys to our office. This number represents about 31% of the administrators using PREPARE in that six-month period. These administrators had worked with 1,948 PREPARE couples and 257 PREPARE-MC couples. Results relate to the years 1999 and 2000. The main findings were:
Cohabitation: The average rate of cohabitation for all the couples surveyed was 59% with a wide variation (the rate ranged from zero for some administrators to 100% for others). This figure is just below the 69% cohabitation before marriage figure published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for 1999 (ABS Publication # 3310.0, 2000). It is not surprising that our figure is lower given the very high number of religious celebrants using PREPARE. Our survey confirms that the majority of couples are now living together before marrying.
One implication is that Administrators need to be aware of the need to facilitate work on the particular issues cohabiting couples are encountering – not the least of which are their motivations for changing the status of their relationship and their attitudes (both positive and negative) towards this change. The benefits of using ENRICH rather than PREPARE for cohabiting couples, were discussed in the December 2000 issue of the Diary.
Postponement or cancellation of the marriage: Of the couples taking PREPARE - 38 (1.95%) postponed their marriages and 54 (2.77%) did not proceed with their marriage. Of the PREPARE-MC couples, 13 (5.05%) postponed their marriages and 11 (4.28%) did not proceed with their marriage. The relatively higher rate of postponement/cancellation for PREPARE-MC couples is statistically significant. Perhaps this is due to the extra pressures associated with one or both of the partners having children from a previous relationship.
The rates of postponement and cancellation are low (broadly 5% for PREPARE and 9% for PREPARE-MC), but it is clear that such decisions may often represent wise decisions made by couples who have come to recognize that they are not yet ready or able to enter into a marriage commitment. It is not unreasonable to speculate that the likelihood of postponement or cancellation decreases as the wedding date approaches. John Wheeler’s comment to me is apt: “The chances that a couple will be able to jump off are very slim once the wedding industry wheels are really rolling.”
An important implication for Administrators is that we need to do our utmost to encourage couples to participate in PREPARE programs as early as possible. In another recent survey of 500 Australian PREPARE couples, 45% of these couples were taking PREPARE within two months of their marriage date. This is so close to the ceremony that such couples are too strongly locked-in to marrying irrespective of what the PREPARE feedback might reveal.
REMINDER: END OF YEAR CLOSING
Please remember that the Prepare Office will be closed over the Christmas period from 19th December to 6th January (inclusive). May we take this opportunity to send our Season’s greetings and to express our hope that the New Year will be a real blessing for all Administrators and their families.
The standard cost of processing continues to be $38.50 (includes GST) but please call our office to obtain a price for discounts for multiples. Please pay invoices promptly. We are doing our best to maintain the present rates despite increased costs, so please help us to keep unnecessary costs to a minimum.
IS MARRIAGE DECLINING IN AUSTRALIA?
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released in 2000 (ABS Publication # 3310.0, 2000) reveal some interesting trends when a ten-year comparison is made:
The report suggests that, if trends continue into the future, Australians will spend less time in their lives married or widowed and more as never married or divorced. This points to the need for marriage educators to work towards improving the quality of relationship for those who continue to value marriage. “Quality always outweighs quantity”, but might it also be true to say that quality models of marriage are likely to have a positive impact on quantity and quality for future generations?
VERSION 2000 UPDATE TRAINING
We are still processing the old Version of PREPARE and ENRICH but cannot keep doing this forever! We are continuing to offer Update Training Days in as many locations as we can. However, recently we have had to cancel a number of Country Training Days owing to poor response. Please check the dates on the back of this Diary and plan to attend a Training Day soon. A mail-out is often done in Country areas as well so please take advantage of a Training Day in your area as we may not be back for 6 months or more.
If there is no Training Day in your area and you are willing to provide a venue please contact the PREPARE Office and we will endeavour to arrange for a Trainer to come to you.
We apologise to our valued Tasmanian Administrators. We still have not been able to recruit a new Trainer for Tasmania. If you are going to be interstate, and can attend a Version 2000 Update Training Day whilst there, this may be your quickest way to be retrained.
We may be able to have one of our mainland Trainers do training in Tasmania next year. If this is the case you will be notified from the PREPARE Office of the date and we would encourage you to take advantage of this.
Our aim however, is to find a Trainer for Tasmania - if you know of a PREPARE Administrator who may be interested, or you may be interested yourself, please contact Mrs Chris. Craddock at the PREPARE Office Monday - Friday 3 - 5 p.m.
PHOTOCOPYING OF ANSWER SHEETS
We appreciate that in an emergency you may need to use a photocopied Answer Sheet for your couple. However, we have recently been receiving numerous photocopies and this makes a lot of extra work for our valued processing staff!
We would appreciate it if you could check your supplies of Answer Sheets well in advance of your session and if you need extra supplies phone the Office and we will be only too happy to supply you with a sheet or two.
In future, photocopied Answer Sheets will be processed after our normal work for the day, which may mean a delay in posting to you.
MORE DO’s AND DONT’s WHEN SENDING ANSWER SHEETS
REGIONAL TRAINING IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA
WA trainers are currently available to travel to the following regional locations: Albany, Bussleton, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie / Esperance. Please could local contacts raise this possibility at their networking meetings and contact Elizabeth Dalzell on 08 9284 0190 as soon as possible if there is interest in order to arrange dates for 2002. On these occasions, we would offer both Prepare and Enrich on two consecutive days with the opportunity for individuals to attend either one or both. Other appropriate professional development sessions in the relationship education area could also be negotiated. We will endeavour to minimise travel costs by linking these dates with other existing travel plans. We are also available to run programs in the North West, however an airfare would need to be covered in the cost.
FOR THOSE IN PASTORAL MINISTRY:
If you are interested in topics such as…
… then you might consider purchasing Beyond Rivalry – Psychology and Theology as Complements, a new book written by Dr. Alan Craddock (a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Sydney and National Coordinator of Prepare-Enrich). This book describes and applies a constructive form of relationship between the disciplines of Christian theology and psychology - Psychology and Theology as Complements. This view is contrasted with four other viewpoints: Psychology as Foe, Psychology as Support, Psychology as a Partner in Integration and Psychology as Contaminant. While not directly a Prepare-Enrich resource, the two chapters on leadership in the church and family draw on the ideas associated with the concepts of cohesion, flexibility and balance, all of which play an important role in the Prepare-Enrich materials.
If you wish to order a copy simply telephone (02) 9545 4566. The cost is $24.95 (including GST and postage). We will mail you a copy and invoice you accordingly.
CHANGE OF ADDRESS
Please be sure to notify of your new address and telephone number if you move. If you forget to do so there are likely to be significant delays in getting processing back to you.
Training and Skills Development Days - January to June 2002
These are posted in the previous link on this webpage.