Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Marriage Checkup

Last Saturday, hubby and I attended a marriage seminar. This is the second marriage seminar/conference that we've gone to since getting married 4.5 years ago.

When I told my co-workers on Monday what I did over the weekend, they questioned as to why I would do such a thing? My answer: My marriage is in pretty good shape, and I want to keep it that way.

You go to the doctor to do a regular checkup to see if you're healthy. If there's something wrong, then you take steps to fix it. In business, you continually check upon your customers to see if they are happy and that you have a good relationship with them.

So why not have a regular marriage checkup? Why wait for you to be unhappy about your marriage before doing something about it? Marriage is hard work, and no one I know is ever given a user manual to figure out how to get through with it. We can only learn by example and trial-and-error. I am certainly no expert, and I can't say I'm really an expert of my own marriage, so why not get as much help as I can? I'm not perfect, and neither is hubby.

Going to these seminars has given me good ideas as to how develop my relationship with my hubby. The great thing is that hubby is also there, so he hears the same things I hear. I know that we have challenges coming in the next 5, 10, 15, 20, 50 years down the road, so I want to continue to build a strong foundation now.

I find that going to these seminars so helpful. I've been to counselling once in my life (for non-marriage issues), and this is different. I've been given practical tips on communication, sex, and how to deal with issues when they arise, stuff that you don't normally hear in counselling sessions. The first one we attended even had homework for us, but it forced us to talk about and answer questions that we normally (as well as most couples) don't talk about. I suppose you can view it as a user manual for marriage.

The main speakers of these seminars are marriage counsellors, and have been for many, many years, so they've seen it all. They've also seen people heal their marriages, so their advice is certainly worth their weight in gold. What I particularly appreciate hearing is stories about their own marriages. It goes to show you that everyone does deal with the same issues and even those who are the "experts" are also human and just as fallible as we are.

So I strongly encourage any one of you, no matter how long you've been married, or what stage your marriage is at, to try one of these seminars. They have claimed that there were people who attended pretty much as a last resort, and if this didn't work, they would have gotten a divorce. Many have said that it has saved their marriage (not to say that they didn't have a hard road afterwards to fixing their marriage, but at least now they have a focus and a common goal).

Whether or not you believe that, I can believe it because I've come away with positive tools and ideas that anyone can use to continue to strengthen their marriage. Believe it or not, a lot of stuff is pretty common sense, it sometimes takes someone else to point it out.

Please note that the ones that I'm listing here are Christian seminars, although many non-Christians do attend. If you're not comfortable with the idea, don't click on the links.

The one we attended on Saturday: Dr. Gary Chapman
Family Life Canada


Anonymous said...

Marriage is hard work? Really?

Disagree I must. Marriage is like a nice romantic walk in the park. It's all based on compatibility.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous poster.

I don't think marriage is hard work either. If you are a 100% compatible, there is no work to do.

hubby said...

I, like many other married people I know, used to have those delusions (when were single). If you are married and can say these things based on experience, congratulations. Otherwise, it is hypothetical...but I supposed it is a pleasant dream.

Ms.Smarties said...

I've been married for three years now (together for 5.5 yrs). I don't know whether it's the norm or not, but I can honestly say that marriage has not been hard work at all for me. We spend so much time together and never get tired of each other. Truly sickening ;-).

hubby said...

That's great! Anecdotally, I would say that it is not the norm, so good on you both! My response to the anonymous posters was from the point of view that speaking of "100% compatibility" is good for philosophers and mathematicians, but not that realistic when it comes to real human relationships. (I don't post very often to this blog, but once in a while I feel compelled to, especially when it's a topic I care deeply about)

Ms.Smarties said...

Why don't you believe in compatibility? I wrote my MA thesis on relationships (more specifically online dating). Studies have shown that "birds of a feather flock together". Compatibility is hugely important to successful relationships.

I do feel that we're 100% compatible, 19 times out of 20. It's still 100%. Marriage would be hard work otherwise. If we had different goals different and values, we would be arguing constantly.

Anyhow, I should stop spamming Irene's blog!

Irene said...

ms smarties, don't stop spamming me, I feel I'm more popular that way =P

Wow, I never thought that my post (which was poorly written in my mind) generated so much hubub.

I see that people here may be referring to different things, or may have different points of view of the same thing. I'm cool with that.

However if you are going to leave a comment (I'm referring to the two unnamed people above), please articulate your thoughts a little better. A one-liner doesn't explain what you really are referring to, I'm interested as to what you base your definition of "compatibility" on. I would be surprised if it's the same as mine.

hubby said...

I am not saying that I do not believe in compatibility. I am also not saying that compatibility is not important to successful relationships.

What I am challenging is the use of "100%" when describing how compatible someone is with another. What measure is used for someone to say that they are 100% compatible as opposed to 75% compatible?

In the absence of an objective definition, 100% implies perfection to me, and I do not know anybody who claims their relationship is perfect.

One person can "feel" they are 100% compatible based one set of criteria, but if given another set of criteria, find their response less than 100%.

A stats prof once told me that statistics is more of an art than a science (in contrast to mathematics). I deal with this kind of thing all the time at work, where people want to make decisions based on evidence, so long as the evidence is presented in a way that supports what their own gut-feelings were to begin with. The numbers can be calculated and presented in many different ways and still be "correct", but in my view no more sound than their own "feelings" were to begin with.

Anonymous said...

Main Entry: com·pat·i·ble
Pronunciation: k&m-'pa-t&-b&l
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Medieval Latin compatibilis, literally, sympathetic, from Late Latin compati

1 : capable of existing together in harmony (compatible theories) (compatible people)

Irene said...

Hmmm, so what happens if the couple who lives in harmony, suddenly becomes disharmonious? Are you suggesting that a truly harmonious (or compatible) couple never fight? Never face stresses or temptations? Never have a disharmonious situation forced upon them that they have to deal with? Don't tell me that never happens.

BTW Anonymous, are you married? I'm curious.