|MAIN ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE
END-OF-YEAR HOLIDAY CLOSING
Please note that the PREPARE-ENRICH Processing Centre will close on Friday 15th December 2006 and reopen on Wednesday 3rd January 2007.
REMINDER - PROCESSING FEE IS $44
In February 2006 we made the first increase in the base cost of processing since 1999. The $35 processing charge was set in 1999 and the GST added to this in June 2000, taking the GST inclusive charge to $38.50. Between June 1999 and June 2005, our net costs have increased by almost 15% due to constant increases in the expenses associated largely with wages, printing and postage. Our intention is to maintain the new processing charge for a lengthy period of time (as we have done before). We always aimed to make the processing cost comparable to that of a modest meal for a couple – we feel sure that $44 (for a couple) is still well and truly within those limits.
FAREWELL AND WELCOME TO TRAINERS
ACT. Southern NSW
It is with regret that we say farewell to our ACT/Southern NSW trainer Albert Hile. Albert has been a Prepare-Enrich user since 1993 and has been the trainer in this region since 1999. Albert has combined his role as our trainer with his work as a counsellor and supervisor of counsellors in Canberra. Thank you Albert for the many training days you have run in the last 7 years and we wish you well in your retirement – you deserve it!
We welcome as the new trainer for the region Jennifer Strachan.
Jennifer has been using PREPARE-ENRICH in her counselling practice for many years providing help in the areas of personal/relationship and marriage preparation and enrichment. She is a trained counsellor/therapist and has over 20 years experience as a Clinical Counsellor/Therapist, Adult Educator, Chaplain, Pastoral Worker, Clinical Pastoral Counsellor and Mentor.
Jennifer has qualifications in Christian counselling, Individual & Relationship Counselling and a Bible College Certificate from Morling College.
Thank you Jennifer for joining the team. You can contact Jennifer on email: email@example.com or mobile 0409 038 850.
We farewell Stephanie Cooper as trainer in this region. Stephanie took on this role earlier this year when our long-term trainer John Wheeler moved to Sydney. Stephanie’s work commitments have altered and she is no longer able to run training days. Thank you Stephanie for your work this year and we wish you well for your future.
We have not appointed a trainer to this region but hope to do so early in 2007.
We are delighted to welcome our new trainers Bruce & Julie Southwell who will be running training days in Darwin and Alice Springs.
Bruce has been an Anglican Minister in NSW for many years and is now the minister at St. James, Sanderson. He has been using the PREPARE-ENRICH tool for the past 20 years and will bring many years of experience to the training role.
Julie is also a PREPARE-ENRICH user and relational counsellor. She has experience in running workshops in her role as coordinator for the counselling and parenting programmes of Resolve, the Counselling and Mediation division with Anglicare, NT.
We are sure that this “dynamic duo” will provide a great training/information service for PREPARE in the region.
Bruce and Julie can be contacted on email: firstname.lastname@example.org and phone 8927 2788. Two training days have been organised and the dates can be found in the section for training.
HOW IS PREPARE-ENRICH AUSTRALIA TRAVELLING?
A number of Administrators have asked how the organization is going, given that fewer Australian couples are marrying and those that do are marrying later and are less likely to be married by a religious celebrant (this has always been the greater proportion of our administrators).
The National figures for the last three financial years and for each
of the inventories are provided below:
These figures indicate that we are holding steady, but for increased growth we need to work harder on training new Administrators, especially as many of our original group of Administrators (from the late seventies and early eighties) are now retiring.
We would appreciate it if you could draw the attention of potential Administrators to our website and the training day details on that site.
Please let your colleagues know about PREPARE-ENRICH and tell them about
our website (www.prepare-enrich.com.au). By clicking on the training link
on the Administrators' homepage they can locate a workshop or find contact
details for a Trainer in their area, and can read information about all
the PREPARE materials and resources.
A USA Study: Cohabiting Couples Higher Risk for Divorce
Authors: David H. Olson, Ph.D. (Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota
Overview of Cohabitation Study:
This national study compared 1,000 cohabiting couples who took PREPARE-CC (Cohabiting Couples) and 1,000 non-cohabiting couples who took PREPARE. The premarital couples were classified into one of four couple types (from most to least happy): Vitalized, Harmonious, Traditional and Conflicted (see Table below).
There were significantly more non-cohabiting couples (57.2%) that were
Vitalized compared to the cohabiting couples (45.7%). Our longitudinal
studies have demonstrated that Vitalized couples are happier and have the
lowest divorce rate (Fowers, Montel and Olson, 1996).
There were significantly more Conflicted couples in cohabiting couples (16.4%) than the non-cohabiting couples (7.2%). Our previous longitudinal studies have demonstrated that only 17% of the Conflicted have a happy marriage 3 years after marriage. Further, over half (53 %) of the Conflicted couples are separated or divorced after three years.
In summary, this study clearly demonstrates that cohabiting couples have a much higher risk of divorce than non-cohabiting couples. Cohabiting couples have a smaller percentage of the more successful couple types (Vitalized and Traditional) and a larger percentage in the most problematic couple type (Conflicted).
Our Programs Can Help Cohabiting Couples Improve Their Success Rate:
The good news is that cohabiting couples can improve their type of couple relationship and, thereby, increase their chances of a successful marriage. A study by Luke Knutson and David Olson (2003) on the impact of the PREPARE Program for premarital couples clearly demonstrated that couples can improve their couple type (move one to two types better) by taking the PREPARE Couple inventory and receiving 6-8 hours of feedback and premarital education.
Knutson, L., & Olson, D. (2003). PREPARE Outcome Study. Marriage & Family: A Christian Journal, 6, 529-546
Fowers, B., Montal and Olson, D. (1996). Predicting Marital Success based on Couple Types. Journal of Marital & Family Therapy, 22, 103-111
Postscript: How does this compare to Australian data?
Author: Alan E. Craddock, PhD., National Coordinator (Prepare-Enrich Australia)
Direct comparisons with the USA data are not possible because the Australian PREPARE-CC data cannot readily be analyzed in the same way due to our method of processing the data and the different norms used for PREPARE processing in Australia.
However, one kind of reasonable, but far from exact, comparison can be found in the sample of 500 Australian PREPARE couples in Alan Craddock’s study Origins: Family Experiences of Premarital Couples, 2005. In general, the differences between cohabiting and non-cohabiting couples across the four Australian couple research types generated in that study were not significantly different after statistical analysis.
The specific Australian type that most closely resembled the American conflicted type was the non-religious conflicted type. In the Australian study, 19.5% of cohabiting couples were of this type compared to 12.3% of non-cohabiting couples. These figures are similar to the trend identified by Olson and Larson, but only occur for this couple type.
Be careful though, the Australian-USA comparison is not exact, it is
simply offered as an approximation. In particular, the Australian research
typologies were derived directly from a cluster analysis of the specific
sample data and reflect some cultural differences. Religious commitment
seems to make much more of a difference in the Australian data when the
types are derived directly from the sample data.
An Australian study has recently been published that indicates that relationship education reaches only a minority of marrying couples. (Halford, W. Kim; O'Donnell, Charlotte; Lizzio, Alf; Wilson, Keithia L., Do Couples at High Risk of Relationship Problems Attend Premarriage Education? Journal of Family Psychology, 2006, 20, 160-163.)
What is important is that couples with certain relationship risk factors are underrepresented among those attending premarriage programs. These factors include non-religious and cohabiting couples. The authors comment that: “A number of strategies might enhance overall relationship education accessibility, and some strategies might be specifically addressed to attracting underrepresented high-risk couples.”
The authors suggest a number of important strategies:
This is why the PREPARE-CC, PREPARE-MC, MATE and ENRICH inventories
are such important and useful complements to the basic PREPARE inventory.
MORE RISK FACTORS: EXPOSURE TO ABUSE AND WARINESS ABOUT MARRIAGE
The previous articles have pointed to factors potentially associated with at-risk couples. Another risk factor is wariness and lack of confidence about marriage that stems from exposure to abuse and violence. A survey by the Australian Institute of Criminology (Indermaur, D. Young Australians and Domestic Violence, 2001) reported that close to one-quarter of a sample of 5,000 Australians aged between 12 and 20 had witnessed an incident of domestic violence against their mother/stepmother.
Furthermore, one of our research projects involving 500 Australian participants in the PREPARE program indicated that 18.8% of men and 23.3% of women reported abuse occurring between their parents within their family of origin (Craddock, Alan E., Origins: Family Experiences of Premarital Couples, Sydney, Hillfort Resources, 2004). Experience of abuse might shape an image of marriage that is negative and pessimistic and this could lead to lack of confidence about experiencing success and satisfaction in marriage. This is a “wariness factor” for couples considering whether or not to marry. The effect could be even greater if the person was also a victim of parental abuse.
The Australian PREPARE research has also shown that couples with experience of abuse in the family of origin are significantly less satisfied in their premarital relationships. When we also add in the impact of increasing levels of violence in the community we find a strong basis for “marital wariness” – fear of being hurt in an intimate relationship and heightened sensitivity to violence as one increasingly common way of dealing with threat and frustration. Being in an intimate relationship may be seen as also being especially vulnerable to violence.
Hence, our marriage education programs need to become more sensitive
to these issues. They need to provide better opportunities for couples
wary and damaged by experiences of abuse to develop positive and more helpful
beliefs, feelings and behaviours in relation to their own marriages.
Civil Marriage Celebrants are required to encourage couples to attend pre-marriage programmes. Celebrants often contact the Prepare Office to obtain contact details for Prepare Administrators in their area.
We are compiling a list of Prepare Administrators who would be willing to offer the Prepare programme to such couples. Thanks to those of you who have already responded to our request in the last Newsletter.
If you would like to have your name added to this list please email
or phone the Prepare Office. This list will not be published - it
is for our office use only. If we had a request from a civil celebrant
in your area we would provide them with your contact details
Extending and maintaining your skills : Knowledge and skills need to be maintained and there are two ways of helping this process. The first is using the materials regularly and the second is becoming involved in some ongoing skills development work. We are now offering some training opportunities for existing administrators to further develop their skills and knowledge.
For a current list of Skills Development programs that are available go to:
At the beginning of each month we place a brief (usually one page) article
on our website focusing on a matter or theme that is likely to be helpful
to PREPARE-ENRICH administrators. Sometimes this is a brief summary
of relevant research, sometimes a practical suggestion, and sometimes a
way of thinking about couples' issues. It is good to get into the
habit of reading these monthly hints. The current hint, and an archive
of all the hints posted in previous months, can be accessed from the Administrators'
main page. News item updates are also included.
The experience of family of origin is an important area for investigation among couples taking PREPARE. Dr Alan Craddock (National Coordinator of PREPARE-ENRICH Australia and Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology, The University of Sydney) has recently completed a small booklet called Origins: Family Experiences of Premarital Couples. This booklet, written solely for PREPARE-ENRICH Administrators, is based on an analysis of 520 Australian couples who have taken PREPARE and has three main aims:
1. To identify and explore the main differences between highly satisfied (vitalised) and more troubled (conflicted) premarital couples.
2. To examine the differences in family background of vitalised versus conflicted premarital couples in the National sample. Of major interest is any link between negative experiences within family of origin in the past (separateness, rigidity and exposure to abuse) and present difficulties in couple relationship.
3. To explore the practical implications of these findings, particularly when working with conflicted premarital couples. General strategies for working with conflicted couples are also described.
The cost is only $12 and this includes postage and GST.