More and more Europeans do maintenance on their marriage
The Archdiocese of Vienna has received 600 registrations for marriage preparation seminars this year. More and more couples want to be well-prepared before they enter the marriage boat.
According to the Archdiocese, the number of registrations for the seminars is about 15 per cent higher than in the first part of 2021. The Archdiocese has been offering the courses already for 60 years.
The seminars –which are in English– are meant to provide support in preparation for the "sacrament of marriage", the Archdiocese writes on its website. The trainings deal with topics such as communication and conflict within a relationship. Each seminar is led by a couple from the church who has been married for several years. Couples can take the course in one day or spread it out over a few evenings.
Stephan Fraß-Poindl, responsible for the seminars in Vienna, calls the seminar an "oasis in everyday life." He notices that couples appreciate having some time for themselves, their relationship and their faith. "Preparing for a wedding is often very stressful and intense. Sometimes, the essentials, the relationship to my partner and God, can get out of sight."
In Sweden, two experts advise on how to prevent infidelity in relationships. Psychologist Laila Dahl and couples therapist Angela Ahola themselves have experienced the pain of an unfaithful partner, Dagen writes. Now, they want to help other couples to achieve faithful love that lasts a lifetime.
The two, who also wrote books on relationships, have six tips for keeping a marriage strong and healthy.
Get to know your own needs and those of your partner. Infidelity often starts when a partner feels that his or her needs are unmet, Ahola and Dahl explain. Therefore, it is important to know the needs in your relationship so that you can meet them. Ask yourself what kind of affirmation you need, how you want to be listened to etc. This may take some practice and time, and the courage to talk to each other. Keep your marriage exciting. The experts believe that security and excitement are necessary for a relationship. However, they also notice that a lack of excitement may cause partners to seek that elsewhere. Therefore, they advise couples to "invest in finding renewal in their relationship."
Don't let your emotions build a nest on your head Even though no one can escape temptations, it is crucial that spouses do not act upon them, Ahola and Dahl write. "Thinking about someone is not the same as acting, but if you start fantasising about someone else, you should choose how much you want to 'feed' the new fantasies."
Cultivate the 'we-feeling'. To avoid growing apart, couples should invest in activities that bond them together. "It is important to remember what it was that united you and what the common denominators are."
Touch each other. Physical touch does not always have to be sexual intercourse, according to Dahl and Ahola. "Sometimes the small touches in everyday life can be at least as important as sex to experience closeness in our relationship and to our partner", they write.
Develop together. It is natural that life changes, the relationship experts point out. And every change presents a potential crisis for a relationship. However, "if we as a couple choose to actively work on our closeness by being open and vulnerable to each other, we can together overcome the crises that life throws at us."
Myths are relationship killers
Too high expectations of your marriage and spouse can destroy your relationship. Jesus.ch demasked five common misconceptions about marriage.
The honeymoon must be perfect. Fact is that many honeymoons are not as romantic as fairy tales. Couples are exhausted from their wedding and have different expectations. That means that conflicts are inevitable. However, that is no problem; the honeymoon is only the beginning of an intimate relationship, not the climax.
Marriage is not the happy ending. Tying the knot is not the last high of your relationship. Spouses who want to keep their marriages happy should fall in love with their partners over and over again.
Marriage is a prison. Marriage is God's invention for man not to be alone. Marriage is always challenging, but it can still be a great blessing. Therefore, spouses should continue to look for the positive in their marriages.
My partner is my better half. Partners will make each other happy at first. However, they are not there to heal old injuries or keep each other on cloud nine. Only God is able to understand us to our deepest core, not our partner.
My marriage was a wrong decision. Spouses should not think they would be happier with someone else. Dreaming about a romantic ideal makes that one cannot enjoy the moments from now. "Marriage is not about being happy at all; it's about sticking together in good times and bad."
Split among European Methodists because of marriage
Divorce rate spikes among older couples