From the Editors
It’s all very busy here at SmartLoving! Next week, we are heading to Malaysia to train 50 new couples for the Engaged programme. We’re also in the middle of re-filming the course which should be ready by September. In addition, there will be a BreakThrough Workshop in Wagga and a Marriage Seminar in London next weekend.
Keep us in your prayers!
In Faith and Love,
Francine & Byron Pirola
Feature Article: Making a change for the better
By Francine & Byron Pirola
Change is difficult. It can also be complicated. Despite our best intentions, sustained change often eludes us. We’ve had many spouses tell us that their husband or wife promised to change and things were good for a while but then there was a relapse. Their good intentions were not enough to sustain their energy for change.
So what can you do when you really need a change to stick? The most basic starting point is to work out what really needs to change. It sounds obvious, but sometimes we focus on the wrong things to change and so the results are disappointing which in turn undermines our motivation.
Is there a healthy way?
Consider David who is in the habit of getting a bit crude and insulting after a few too many drinks. After an embarrassing social event in which his wife stormed out, he is filled with remorse and promises he’ll never do that again. For a month, everything is fine. His wife starts to feel that maybe this time it will last, then there’s another devastating blowout.
Instead of promising to hold his tongue, if David looked at what was happening to him before he started talking crudely, he’d get a better insight into the kind of change that will work. In this case, alcohol is a contributor but that’s not the main problem. If he examined why he drinks to excess, he would discover that it happens when he feels inadequate, like after the boss has chewed him out or his father has criticized him. David would have more success holding his tongue if he found a healthier way of dealing with his emotions of inadequacy, such as learning how to assert himself appropriately with his father and boss. Then he’d feel stronger and less powerless when things go badly with the boss or his dad.
Seeing things in a new light
Let’s take another example; Sharon chronically nags and undermines her husband which leads him to withdraw and emotionally shutdown. She resolves to cease her nagging criticism. For the first few days she consciously bites her tongue when under the impulse to nag. She manages to refrain from saying the critical words, but her whole demeanor and body language is conveying her meaning just as effectively. Her husband continues to withdraw under the assault of her passive aggressive attitude. She concludes the situation is hopeless – no matter what she does, her husband is unreformable (so much for trying to change herself).
Instead, Sharon needs to change her attitude rather than her behaviour. If she starts to think about her husband differently, consciously suspending judgment and searching out his more noble qualities on which to focus, rather than obsessing about his weaker points, her attitude towards him will shift and her intended behaviour will follow more easily. She’ll start to see his goodness more and his shortcomings less, which makes it easier to quit the nagging.
Changing behaviours without addressing the underlying attitudes will seldom work. Whatever personal change you want to see in your marriage, remember: if you want the change to endure, start with a change in attitude before you tackle a change in behaviour.
This weekend Mark & Jenny Mannering will be hosting the Workshop in Wagga Wagga. Book in now to secure your place
If you would like to host an event in their parish or would like further information, you can call our office on 02 9319 6280.
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Tune in to Wollongong’s weekly Catholic radio show, The Journey on Pulse 94.1FM every Sunday from 11am, to hear a variety of Catholic speakers including Fran & Byron Pirola.
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SmartLoving @ Home
A series of DIY sessions you can use at home or in a small group. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee, you can download the file at the time of purchase and use the material on your computer, mobile device or make a print copy.
Grateful | When gratitude is present in a marriage, the couple’s good humour and welcoming generosity make their homes places of hospitality and warmth for all their visitors.
Responsible Honesty | It’s more than not telling lies; in marriage it requires an willingness to share deeply and vulnerably.
Sexuality as Gift | Learning to appreciate our sexuality and build the sexual atmosphere between us.
The Ambitious Couple | What is the role of ambition in marriage?
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