Lesson 2 What is our Potential NOTES

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Lesson 2 What is our Potential NOTES

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  2. 2. The types of couples were clustered in four groups:1. Vitalized, the happiest and most desirable state2. 2. Harmonious, they lived in relative harmony3. Conventional: they fit together like wearing an old shoe! But they are not living life to the fullest.4. Conflicted. Stormy relationship, but not devoid of happiness. Would benefit from outside help.5. Devitalized: These were troubled couples that will soon crash and burn if they don’t find help soon.6. They were scored on eight important areas of skills for building healthy marriages. Note how the conflicted couples do quite well on role sharing: i.e.: He does the dishes & she mows the lawn. 2
  3. 3. 1. VitalizedMany very high scores.Very high couple agreement and happiness with most aspects of their marriage.Strong "internal" dynamics (e.g., communication, financial management, and sharedspirituality).Strong "external" dynamics (e.g., family, friends, and relationship roles).Not slipping into complacency.Not taking each other for granted. 3
  4. 4. 2. HarmoniousMany High scoresSTRENGTHSHigh couple agreement and happiness with many aspects of the marriageStrong "internal dynamics" related to shared leisure time, communication, andsexuality.KEY GROWTH DIMENSIONS/CAUTIONSHigh scores provide a solid base from which to grow, but you need to be proactive.Parenting (not shown in the graphs, but included in your Checkup Report) likely needsimproved cooperation, agreement, and follow-through. In stepfamilies, stress inparenting can be detrimental to your marriage. 4
  5. 5. 3. ConventionalSTRENGTHSModerate scores across most areas.Strong aspects include role definitions and spiritual convictions.KEY GROWTH DIMENSIONS/CAUTIONSCritical "internal" skills like communication and conflict resolution need attention.Emotional closeness and intimacy may be lacking.Give more attention to the couple relationship and a little less to children, friends,and extended family. 5
  6. 6. 4. ConflictedSTRENGTHSStrongest areas are roles and spirituality.KEY GROWTH DIMENSIONS/CAUTIONSBecause "internal" skills like communication and conflict resolution are lacking,cooperation, closeness, and handling clashes in personality will be difficult. Attentionmust be given to key areas like communication and conflict. 6
  7. 7. 5. DevitalizedSTRENGTHSMainly growth areas.Few couple strengths exist.Any existing moderate strengths should be improved first.KEY GROWTH DIMENSIONS/CAUTIONSFocus on any positive behaviors of your partner and praise them. Take time to talkand try to resolve current issues.If no improvement, seek marital therapy.Couple therapy intensives can be found at www.SuccessfulStepfamilies.com. 7
  8. 8. Couple therapy intensives can be found at www.SuccessfulStepfamilies.comthe most visited and largest web site for Christian stepfamilies in the world. Hereyou will find hundreds of FREE articles, inspiring stories of hope, conferenceinformation, and practical resources providing strength for your journey and answersto your questions.Created by author, therapist, and stepfamily expert Ron L. Deal, this site providesresources for single parents, dating couples with kids, stepfamilies, and the churcheswho serve them. 8
  9. 9. Getting Close:The doing and feeling of closenessVibrant Couples:. Feel confidence and trust in each other and feel secure with each other.. Include each other in important decisions.. Share leadership within their relationship.. Have a mutual respect for each other.. Have similar likes and interests.. Are committed to spending time together on a regular basis and intentionally plan ways to betogether.. Feel the freedom to ask each other for help.. Choose to be loyal to each other.. Balance time with family and friends so as not to take away from their relationship.Closeness also involves balance. Every healthy relationship has a balance of time spent together andtime apart. Couples have both a desire to be together (spending time together is a priority) and arespect for the individual interests, pursuits, and freedoms of their partner. In strong relationships,individuals place emphasis on the "self as well as the "we."They strive for an appropriate amount of sharing, loyalty, intimacy, and independence. This dance ofintimacy is not easily achieved. It demands attention and good communication since couples naturallyhave times in their relationship when they spend more time together and generate many closefeelings, and other seasons of the relationship that demand more personal space. Taken together,these natural rhythms of marriage combine to create a "balanced" relationship, but couples shouldalways guard against spending too much time at either extreme.Over time, unbalanced relationships overemphasize either the distance in the relationship(disconnected) or the need for closeness and mutual dependency (overly connected).lt is theseextremes that couples need to guard against. Each extreme has an emotionally debilitating impact onrelationships. Too much distance and one or both partners feel excluded, vulnerable, expendable, orlonely. Too much closeness and someone (or both) feels smothered, disrespected, or controlled. 9
  10. 10. From Page 75For many then, becoming more flexible in their relationship equals an increase inemotional risk. If you find yourself struggling with this fear, remember that withoutrelational risk, there can be no relational gain.A stepfamily is no place for a rigid person. By nature, because of their complexity,remarried families require multiple changes throughout life. Inflexible people-whohave rigid ideas of how family life should be-find themselves feeling worn out by thenever-ending changes that result when multiple households, parents, and differinglevels of bondedness with children collide. For example, stepmothers often reportthat they had no idea how difficult it would be to have their husbands ex-wife haveso much influence over their familys schedule. "Just when I think I know what ourweekend is going to be like, he gets a phone call from his ex and everything changes. Iwish I had more control over my own life." That is a very familiar feeling for manyremarried couples. Yet, since multiple-household families have multiple forces ofinfluence, the ability to adapt-to take life as it comes-becomes a point of survival formany. With multiple forces of influence, people with rigid approaches to life findthemselves constantly battling what they cannot control. But a flexible person is ableto adapt, bend as needed, and get through the change. Even better is when bothpartners can adjust to change.Our study found that in 94 percent of happy couples both partners showed awillingness to change (compared to just 44 percent of unsatisfied couples). Managingchange is a couples matter, not just the task of one of the partners. When bothadapt, the net result for the couple is a sense of unity as together they move aroundthe forces of life. 10
  11. 11. Couple Flexibility: Making Life Work (Text p 73)HAPPY COUPLESAre creative in how they handle differences (80%) and are open to exploring newsolutions with each other.Compromise and seek win-win solutions; they consider the others opinions and areopen to being influenced by the other. (96%)Work together to organize their daily life, schedule, and household. (84%)Work as a team to make decisions; they seek unity in leading their household. (96%)Are humble and willing to change when necessary. (94%)UNHAPPY COUPLESHave a rigid mentality to problem solving and get stuck. (72%)Seek to personally win and may fear giving the other too much control. (48%)Cannot seem to get organized. (61%)Make most decisions independently of the other. (41 %)Find change difficult or only one person is willing to adapt as needed. (44%) 11
  12. 12. Common UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONSUNREALISTIC EXPECTATION #1The biggest (and most unpleasant) surprize in stepfamily situations(P 89)1. Getting married and creating a stepfamily might be stressful, but whats theproblem?Here is the REALITY---Dating is so comfortable – marriage is real life---stress in step families is double that of first marriages---Instant children add new stressUNREALISTIC EXPECTATION #2If we love each other, the children will follow close behind:Here is the REALITY---Some children welcome new family: some dont---We as parents need to accept where our children are at and continue to build trustand respect for each child.(continued next page) 12
  13. 13. UNREALISTIC EXPECTATION #3If we are in love and our marriage is STRONG, children outside forces and ex-spouseswill not divide us.Here is the REALITYonly 50% of unhappy step couple relationships felt secure in their marriage whentheir spouse spent time with his or her childrenconversely, 82% of High quality couple relationships were unified in feeling securewhen their partner was with his or her children. This may mean that each step parentmay have to make sacrifices on behalf of the childrenUNREALISTIC EXPECTATION #4Emotional resolution of Previous losses and Painful relationships means they wontaffect us in the future.Here is the REALITY“moving on” doesnt mean you or your mates baggage has been left behind.Before marriage he told me what was wrong with his first wife After the wedding, hecompared me to what she did right!63% of step couples fear another relationship breakup58% Don’t think both partners have worked through all the issues and hurts from thepast relationships 13
  14. 14. High vs. Low Quality Step Couple Relationship factorsFeelings of:Jealousy (fear of being replaced)Suspicion – Having trouble believing your partnerWorry – How your mates previous sexual experiences compares to yoursFear – afraid of another relationship breakup.When these feelings are present, they predict with a 93% degree of accuracy as toour ability to have a High or Low quality Step couple relationship. 14

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