David H. Olson, Amy Olson-Sigg and Peter J. Larson who develop the Prepare/Enrich materials to help prepare couples for marriage and to help strengthen marital relations wrote an article, Find Your Relationship Strengths: The Couple Checkup. An excerpt from that article appears below.
“… what we have in America are unrealistic and unhelpful attitudes and relationship norms. We choose our mates based on initial feels of love, assuming love alone will sustain the life of a relationship. We are not committed to making marriages work, evident by the fact that most divorce occurs not because of intense or recurrent problems such as violence or infidelity, but because the relationship is no longer satisfying. Forgetting that relationships are living, growing entities, we make the mistake of assuming that a great relationship will remain great forever. When it doesn’t we forget that we can play an active and assertive role in the outcome. Sometimes we move onto a new relationship, which is often just leaving one set of problems for a set of different ones. …
Relationships are analogous to bridges, in that they are built to sustain the climate and needs of a couple at a set point in time, but time changes…families grow, transform, evolve. With bridges, weather elements cause erosion and require periodic checks and repair. If relationships are not continually maintained, they, too, erode with the passage of time and internal and external demands on the relationship.
We need to plan for relationships in an intentional and deliberate manner. A life partnership certainly requires more planning than a wedding ceremony. Couples need to commit to marriage, with eyes wide open, knowing there may be moments when it feels as though their commitment is all they have. Couples must conceptualize their relationship as the dynamic, living, growing, changing entity that it is. Hence, they must care for it knowing it is subtly changing and shifting with time.
Prepare/Enrich has developed some new materials to help strengthen couples: The Couple Checkup. Any parishioner who would like to strengthen their marital bond can ask Fr. Ted about using these materials. Fr. Ted has been trained by Prepare/Enrich for use of their materials.