PREPARE/ENRICH Australia Blog

Tips for PREPARE/ENRICH facilitators (5): Navigating Problems Associated with Unrealistic Expectations - Consider the Context

When couples hit the inevitable challenges of marriage, they may be tempted to believe that they have made a mistake and “the one” must still be out there somewhere. The truth is there are likely several people on this earth with whom one could have a successful relationship.

Almost intoxicated by love, engaged couples are often known for being infatuated with one another. They tend to be confident that they’ll never have problems or that existing problems will just fade away with time, they’ll never question their love, never experience a drop in romance, and already know everything there is to know about their partner. They truly are love struck.

The Problem with Unrealistic Expectations

While the phenomenon of being love struck is quite normal, it can also be a setup when experienced in extremes. The following tips for PREPARE/ENRICH facilitators can assist in navigating the problems associated with unrealistic marriage expectations.

Tips for PREPARE/ENRICH facilitators:

5. Consider the Context: 

Do not rely on the assessment alone for the complete picture. Consider the following two couples who both strongly agreed with the item, “My partner is the only person with whom I could have happy marriage.”

One couple, deeply committed to their faith tradition, each spent years praying for the “right person” to enter their life. They met and dated for over a year, and got engaged only after a great deal of counsel and consideration. Believing that God had brought one another into their life, they felt deeply committed to one another. Both families felt very positive about their marriage plans. As a facilitator, it would not be productive to discourage or criticise the commitment this couple is feeling. Exploring family of origin, communication and conflict styles should enable a constructive discussion.

On the other hand, a second couple was matched by an online dating service, engaged within a month of meeting one another, and felt they had found their one true “soul mate”. While their families disapproved, they were planning to be married as soon as possible and believed they already knew everything there was to know about one another. As a counselor, you would want to challenge this couple to consider their motivation and expectations. Equally exploration about family of origin, communication and conflict styles should enable a constructive discussion.

Marriage Expectations is a challenging, yet fun area of discussion for premarital couples, however whilst these couples often have a lot to discuss as they prepare for marriage, healthy dialogue about expectations is critical.

by Peter Larson, Ph.D.

Tune in next week for more interesting ideas and tips.

References: Olson, D. H. (2004). PREPARE/ENRICH Counselor’s Manual. Minneapolis: Life Innovations.
Slater, L. (2006). True Love. National Geographic. February, 32-49.

Source: Peter Larson, Ph.D.
References: Olson, D. H. (2004). PREPARE/ENRICH Counselor’s Manual. Minneapolis: Life Innovations.
Slater, L. (2006). True Love. National Geographic. February, 32-49.

#PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

For more information on PREPARE/ENRICH or to simply set up a couple on the tool, please contact: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich

 

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