Congratulations on having found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with!
As a civil marriage celebrant, one of the responsibilities I am charged with is to advise couples wishing to marry about the existence of relationship education and couples counselling services.
Relationship education is optional for marrying couples, however it has significant benefits for many couples.
“Couples in healthy, mutually satisfying relationships and their children are likely to live longer, report fewer health problems, and use health and wellbeing services substantially less than people in distressed relationships.
Research has shown that relationship education and counselling can help couples improve their communication and conflict resolution skills, strengthening relationships and reducing family breakdown.
Relationship education and counselling can help couples cope with changes and challenges, such as moving in together, having a baby, getting married, or managing their money. Importantly, it equips couples with the skills to deal with challenges before they become big issues.”
A major Australian research project, called ‘Love, Sex and Waterskiing’, performed in 1992, showed that of 1,700 participants in pre marriage and marriage programs
- 83% of couples reported learning new skills
- 42% said their ideas about marriage had changed
- 5% either cancelled or postponed their wedding
- 91% reported that they would seek professional help if problems arose in their marriage
- 1/3 said that the program raised new issues for them
- 80% rated their program as good or excellent.”
There are a wide range of providers of relationship education and couples counselling services in the Perth metropolitan area, and some of these also have branches in regional centres through WA.
Here are some possible starting points for you:
- Relationships Australia – Courses & Contact details
- Anglicare WA – Relationship Counselling & Courses
- Marriage and Relationship Education Association of Australia – Resources & Contacts
A customised couple assessment completed online that identifies a couple’s strength and growth areas. Based on a couple’s assessment results, a trained facilitator provides 3 or more feedback sessions in which the facilitator helps the couple discuss and understand their results as they are taught proven relationship skills.
PREPARE/ENRICH will help you:
- Identify strength and growth areas
- Explore personality traits
- Strengthen communication skills
- Resolve conflicts and reduce stress
- Compare family backgrounds
- Comfortably discuss financial issues
- Establish personal, couple, and family goals
There are a range of WA providers for this service. Check the website to locate one near you: http://www.prepare-enrich.com.au/for-couples/
Together Forever (Relationships Australia)
A relationship course for couples who are in, or planning a more committed relationship like marriage or living together. This relationship building course covers expectations, needs, family background and communication.
This course is a useful adjunct to the Prepare/Enrich Questionnaire.
Topics covered include:
- effects of family of origin on expectations, attitudes and behaviours
- needs of both the individuals and the couple as a whole, i.e. the needs of the two separate ‘I’ and the ‘We’
- communication skills, including an awareness of each other’s actions that block communication
- using the Awareness Wheel as a tool for communication
- the part anger plays in relationships
- positive attitudes around conflict and the tools to ensure a win/win outcome
- the four stages of relationship and the subsequent tasks
- the five love languages and ways to increase and maintain intimacy
- the need to make prime time for each other, for the ‘We’ cooperative goal setting.
Format: Generally runs over a weekend. Contact: Relationships Australia on (08) 9489 6322
Building Better Relationships for Couples (Relationships Australia)
All relationships experience challenges. The more we are aware and informed about the relationships and how we relate, the greater the ability to work through any changes and problems that may arise. As we work through these differences we grow as individuals and in partnership. This course provides the opportunity for couples to find new ways of relating and learn to develop new skills to deepen the intimacy in their relationship.
The course covers: making time for each other, know your partner, the basis of friendship, relationship expectations, communication skills – looking at destructive behaviour, managing difference, conflict skills, planning ahead and managing ongoing changes.
Format: 8 sessions, with each session running for 2.5 hours.
Contact: Relationships Australia
Couple Communication Workshops (Anglicare)
The following three workshops complement each other. Come to one or two or come to all three! A special price will apply if you attend all three:
You and I
How well do you know each other? Or for that matter, how well do you really know ‘YOU’? This workshop provides an opportunity to explore how personality and past experiences may impact on your relationship with your partner.
Conflict – what is it good for? Actually, if managed with each other’s well-being and a thriving relationship in mind, conflict can be a source of growth and not the destructive force it may become if left unresolved.
Conflict Resolution for Couples
Effective communication and conflict resolution are the cornerstones of a healthy relationship.
Becoming aware of the patterns of communication you and your partner use can minimise misunderstandings. But when conflict does arise (and it usually does!) by using some tried and tested conflict resolution strategies it may actually be a source of growth in your relationship.
Languages of Love (Anglicare)
Imagine what your relationship would be like if you and your partner could identify each other’s emotional needs and meet them? This seminar introduces the five languages of love and helps you better understand how to express and receive love.
Format: 6 week course
If you more of a DIY kind of person, here is:
- a list of 50 conversations you might want to have before you get married
- a list of ‘Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying’ from the New York Times