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Keeping couples on course


Is love enough? That is the million dollar question facing couples as they prepare to go down the aisle.

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Fortunately for those about to embark on the vocation of marriage, Centacare Catholic Family Services offers relationship courses to support couples on their journey.

Presented in the Archdiocese for more than a quarter of a century (previously under the title of marriage education), the Is Love Enough? program tackles some of the big issues that face couples.

Run over a Friday evening and all day Saturday, the course covers a broad range of topics, with much of the content based on the research of psychologists Julie and John Gottman. Some of the areas discussed include what each individual brings to their relationship; how family contributes to who they are; understanding emotions and personalities; communication; how to nurture a relationship; shared dreams; conflict; safety; parenting; money; and spirituality.

According to course presenter and Centacare relationship educator, Ceri Bruce, participants are often surprised by how much they learn about themselves and how beneficial the course is to their relationship.

“Often you get all caught up in the wedding plans and you forget about the relationship,” she said.

“I always say to the couples, this is your opportunity to share with each other in a really structured and supported way.

“In all the years I have been presenting the course I have not had anybody leave or not actually engage with the content. Most of the feedback we receive is like, wow, I never thought I would get anything out of this, but it’s been amazing!”

Ms Bruce (pictured) said content for the course was continually being revised and reviewed to meet the changing times.

“For example, we have incorporated how technology has changed and impacted relationships,” she explained. “But while we try to keep it contemporary, some of the foundational things in a relationship – such as commitment, love and trust – never change.”

Most couples are referred to the course by their parish priest, however Ms Bruce said anyone was able to attend, no topic was off limits and “everyone’s views are important”.

Interestingly, she said it seemed that couples who attended the course were more likely to seek counselling support when there was conflict in their relationship.

“It is the people in a relationship who learn to manage conflict well that seem to sustain their relationship,” Ms Bruce commented.

The next ‘Is Love Enough’ group session is scheduled for Saturday October 29, 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Centacare also offers a relationship course for couples preparing for marriage in which they can attend one-on-one with a relationship educator. This course provides a great springboard to start discussions regarding expectations, communication patterns, managing differences, conflict resolution, children, religion, culture and finances.

Entitled ‘Time for Us’, content is tailored to suit the individual circumstances of each couple, with sessions run on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings.


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