Marriage Check-Ups - 2/10/07

Smartmarriages smartmarriages at
Sat Feb 10 13:32:53 EST 2007

Offering free marital/relationshp check-ups as part of Marriage Week is a
great idea. You can devise your own check list, use one of the marital
inventories, or use the new instrument David Olson new will introduce in
Denver: the quick, on-line Couple Check Up.

> 302- Friday afternoon, June 29
> PREPARE to Last ­ TOOB
> David Olson, PhD, Peter Larson, PhD
> This comprehensive program for premarital and newlywed couples includes a new
> online Couple Checkup & comedic DVDs by the McElroys. Use in groups, retreats
> or with individual couples.


Open your marriage, say 'Ah'
Free relationship checkups find little problems before they get big
Winnipeg Free Press - Manitoba, Canada
Sat Feb 10 2007

AFTER a dozen years of happy marriage, Kim and Rick Scherger, who live in
East Kildonan, wanted extra insurance they won't end up as divorce

"Every marriage goes through its ups and downs," says Kim. Through their
church they'd heard about a free relationships checkup at the Aurora Family
Therapy Centre, and decided to try it out. "We wanted to find out if there
was something else we could do to make things even better.

"We want to be a good statistic."

Now they're celebrating 15 happy years together, closer than ever, thanks to
what they learned during the checkup.

"Most couples who come in have healthy relationships and take the checkup as
an enrichment experience," says Linda Cantelon, therapy program director at
the Aurora Family Therapy Centre, which has been offering the free
relationship checkups in the week around Valentine's Day for four years now.

The checkups, which attract as many as 100 couples a year, begin with each
partner filling out a questionnaire, which is then analyzed by a therapist
who shares the results.

The questionnaire covers the gamut of factors affecting intimate
relationships: "in-laws, money, household chores, sex, commitment to
marriage, how often they play together, talk privately, give and receive
compliments, feel respected," says Cantelon.

Couples learn their strengths as well as weaknesses or limitations they
might want to work on, she says.

"We had a couple of surprises," from the session, says Kim, "but nothing

"We're more aware of problems, managing things before they get big," says
Rick, the communications co-ordinator for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario.

"Now we're more intentional about communicating with each other," he says.

One problem crystallized by the checkup was a difference in communication

"We knew there was a problem, because little things would become bothersome
and then would escalate," says Rick.

Kim manages up to two dozen people in her job as executive director of
Luther Village, the church's summer camp. When Rick talked about a problem,
she'd want to fix it, and wanted the same from him when she had a problem.

Rick just wanted understanding, not advice.
Their conflicting styles led to frustration.

"Now we can catch it before it becomes a problem," Rick says. He can ask Kim
just to listen, and she can ask directly for advice.

Rick also appreciated the way the checkup reveals each person's viewpoint.
"In marriage you just do stuff and don't usually even think about it. It's a
benefit to know how your spouse views you."

Now they make time every day for real interpersonal communication, not
limited to talk about the day-to-day hassles of a two-career couple busy
parenting daughters MacKinley, nine, and five-year-old Eden.

"We make time after the kids have gone to bed," says Kim.

"And we try to do something together one time a week," says Rick.

Couples who complete the checkup are given advice about how to tackle small
problems, pointed in the direction of relationship enrichment programs
through churches and community groups, or helped to find therapy if there
are serious issues.

The free relationship checkups are available through Aurora Family Therapy
Centre to Feb. 23. Couples can call 786-9251 to register.

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