Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Free Classes, Free Gas

posted by Michele Olson
It gets your attention.
Sometimes it's something worthwhile, other times...you feel ripped off. Here is one instance where you can look at the word FREE and let go of any time you've ever hoped something FREE would be great and were disappointed. This will not leave you shaking your head, but instead smiling ear to ear when you consider the positive skills it can bring to your life.
All classes for married couples are FREE for the summer at thinkmarriage.org !
It's true. Yes, that's a $69 value...so cha ching cha ching! But that's not all..the first 20 couples that register in a county and complete the course will receive a $50 gas card once the class is done.
Free Classes. Free Gas.
And you can choose from classes like Family Wellness, 10 Great Dates for Married Couples and Marriage L.I.N.K.S!
Complete details are on the registration area of our website.
There really won't be a better time than this to enhance your marriage with greater skill, spark and fun.
What are you waiting for?
P.S. Tell your friends!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Bottom Line Bill

Our neighboring state of Minnesota has an interesting article in their monthly publication aptly named Minnesota Monthly. The focus of the article is on Bill Doherty, the director of Marriage and Family Therapy in the department of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota.
I’m sure he has something much shorter on his business cards, because he is also the author of 13 books, including Take Back Your Marriage.

As you’ll learn in the article, Bill, a marriage therapist by trade, is all about salvaging marriages. He talks about our unrealistic expectations of marriage in our consumerism society. He also talks about the great benefits that marriage brings…so many in fact, that he wants couples to really know the facts of what they’re giving up if they choose to divorce. He is reminding us about the counselors roll in staying “values neutral” when a couple comes in for a session. He admits that if there are problems, most therapists are trained to focus their energies on supporting the individual in decision making…and that may be divorce. The problem is; couples in turmoil may not be hearing all the options available.

Perhaps you have first-hand experience with this dilemma.

Read the article and feel free to comment on what you think.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Do You Know Your Spouse?

posted by Michele Olson

Do You Know Your Spouse?

That might seem like a silly question, but let this little story explain:

While attending a marriage seminar on communication, David and his wife listened to the instructor declare, "It is essential that husbands and wives know the things that are important to each other."
He addressed the man, "Can you describe your wife's favorite flower?"
David leaned over, touched his wife's arm gently and whispered, "Pillsbury All-Purpose, isn't it?"

You get to write the ending to that story any way you would like!

The truth is, we are all evolving and changing as people through circumstances, outside influences and the very art of aging. It's important to "keep up" with each other and aware of where each other is in our heads. That takes desire, time and skill. A great way to stay on track is to take the time to attend a healthy relationship, marriage education workshop. If you live in Wisconsin, visit thinkmarriage.org and click on the classes tab...if you are from another state, check into what is available in your area. There are great opportunities happening across our country and you don't want to miss out.

Your marriage can be one of the best experiences and most precious things in your life. But, like every good thing you pursue, it will take some effort. Marriage education is a tangible, fun, interesting way to work on your relationship.

What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Does Divorce Make People Happy?

posted by Michele Olson
Do you remember the famous line about divorce from the popular advice columnist Ann Landers? She advised that the benchmark for getting a divorce or not was answering the question "Am I better off with our without this person?"
You could also interpret that as....would I be happier if I was divorced?
We're not talking here about the cases of domestic violence, which are in their own category...or cases of any type of abuse...but rather the typical couple who have no glaring social ill. In 2002, a team of family scholars chaired by Linda J. Waite of the University of Chicago decided to study the question: Does divorce make people happier? What resulted was a study and a report entitled Does Divorce Make People Happy? Findings from a Study of Unhappy Marriages.
They looked at couples who rate their marriage as "unhappy" and then re-interviewed them five years later. With different pathways chosen they were able to follow unhappy spouses who chose divorce, separation or stayed married. Common sense would point to the fact that if you're unhappy and you get divorced, you will be happier compared to those who stayed married "unhappily". Surprisingly the study showed that..no...people weren't happier. It's an interesting study and I recommend you read it to find out what they studied and how they came to this conclusion.
I look forward to your thoughts on the study.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fun and Games with a Purpose

posted by Michele Olson
There are all styles of learning but one of the most popular is interactive games. poweroftwo.org does a wonderful job of using online interactive web games to teach about relationships. With a plan to grow in the future, right now the site focuses on expectant parents. Currently there is an even more distinct focus about domestic violence. Whether the subject matter directly applies to you or not, check out the site. It's very well done and interesting to see how they accomplish learning through this style...online.
For anyone reading this who needs help in the area of domestic violence, Visit ndvh.org or call toll free 1-800-799-7233 or you can remember it as 1-800-799-SAFE.
Check out the site and let us know how you liked the games!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Father's Day to All the Dads!

posted by Michele Olson

Happy Father’s Day to Dad’s everywhere from thinkmarriage!

Here’s something interesting to share: there is a new campaign geared to African American Fathers from the National Fatherhood Initiative called: What's Your Legacy? They are also promoting a media campaign designed to inspire African American fathers (or men who are thinking about having children) to consider marriage for its benefits to the well-being of their children. Based on inspirational stories, the campaign serves to encourage their younger peers to consider how important marriage will be in their journey to build a legacy for their own families.

The campaign is also supported by the brand new website featuring the interactive African American Marriage Wall. This Wall allows visitors to add a “brick” that contains text and photos telling their families marriage story. This is truly a place to build a legacy for future generations. Because it’s in the very beginning stages, now is a great time to add a story.

To all Fathers everywhere…thanks for all you do!
Do you have any great “Dad” stories you would like to share?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Giving Circles

Posted by Michele Olson

Times are tight and the average person doesn't have a lot of extra money to give. That's why an article I read in the Dec. 07 issue of Family Circle is even more important. The idea is that groups of people, mainly women in the article, get together to pool their money. This can be just spare change or more as the case may be. The point is...when people are upset about things happening and they want to do something, there is often greater strength in numbers. It's happening so much that it now has a name: Giving Circles.

As the article states, a group meets every other month and each member contributes about $10. They put their passion into action and brainstorm ways to help and how they will contribute their monies. Imagine the fun along the way of just getting together over a potluck as your gathering becomes something important in the big picture and something you can all share in!

The article if filled with tips on ideas to start your own Giving Circle. If you're looking for a great cause...of course we at thinkmarriage volunteer to be the recipient of your Giving Circle!

Read the article and let us know your thoughts!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

To Get a Good Nights Sleep...Work on a Happy Marriage!

posted by Michele Olson

Those scientists...they're always out there studying something that may be just a no-brainer. If you are happily married it turns out you are more likely to have a better night's sleep than your less content counterpart.

The study included results in falling asleep and staying asleep. A bigger question might be for employers...how productive are your employees who are having marital discord? This study tells us they aren't sleeping well. That's probably just the beginning of the pain. If you want to know the cost to your company of divorce, we can provide you a worksheet.

But we're not here to point fingers. We just want to acknowledge what is and be a help as well. We can bring all kinds of interesting and fun classes to your workplace that can help keep marriages and healthy relationships on track...the type of skills that might help people get a better nights sleep. Just send an email and we'll get you the divorce worksheet and more info on bringing classes into your place of business. Here's the link to read the complete story on how a happy marriage helps you sleep.
To sleep ...perchance to dream....

Friday, June 06, 2008

An Easy Way to Get Involved

posted by Michele Olson

Did you realize that you can contribute to thinkmarriage through ebay?

You can!

ebay has a "giving arm" called Mission Fish. If you are an "ebayer", why not consider listing some items that when sold will benefit the mission of thinkmarriage?

You can visit our Mission Fish/ebay page to get started. We have a friend of thinkmarriage who found us on mission fish, liked what we are doing to support healthy marriages and started listing items to benefit our non profit work. And, he's from California! It would be wonderful if we could get some folks right here in our state of Wisconsin who use ebay and would like to do something that can help. It doesn't have to be big ticket items (although those are great too)...anything you want to sell on our behalf is much appreciated.

Thanks in advance and let your other ebay friends know too!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Thoughts From a Judge

posted by Michele Olson

A Judge Who Cares About Marriage

What happens when a judge cares about marriage?
In June, 1996, James Sheridan founded the organization, Marriages That Work in Lenawee County, Michigan, to address the problem of divorce. He spearheaded a gathering of local ministers and civil officials who perform weddings to work on the issue and invited Mike McManus of Marriages Savers® as the primary speaker. The group met on February 14, 1997, becoming the largest gathering of the type in the history of the county. The result was striking: sixty six members of the Lenawee County clergy and all thirteen civil officials authorized to perform weddings agreed to require education in communication skills and dispute resolution, in addition to taking a premarital inventory, before they would perform weddings.
This was the first time in the United States all the civil officials in a county have joined together to require premarital education. The media went wild. James Sheridan was interviewed by over a dozen radio talk shows from across the United States, the BBC in England and Germany. Articles appeared in publications quoting Sheridan extensively in Europe, England and many cities in the United States. He was interviewed on ABC Good Morning America, The CBS Evening News, The ABC Evening News along with local news shows from Detroit and Toledo. He was also an invited guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Thoughts from Judge Sheridan:
What we have to keep in mind is that the marriage movement is a process, not an event. Each of us has to do the small part we are able to do. Collectively, these small steps will make a big difference. I am a great believer in what I call "the straw theory of life." You have obviously heard the phrase: "the straw that broke the camel's back." Question: what causes the back to break? Answer: the back is already loaded down with straw and that last straw is one too many. I believe each of us is obligated to throw our "straw" on this problem. If we don't, the pile will never build up and the "last straw" the one that "breaks the camel's back" will never be reached. The good news is I can see more and more straws being thrown. It is a long, slow, tedious effort, but the pile is growing. What we have to do is not get discouraged, but keep throwing our straw at every opportunity.
- Judge Jim Sheridan

Hey! Are you doing your part to prevent the “last straw?”

To hear our interview with Judge James Sheridan…visit the media page of thinkmarriage.org

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Men Afraid of a Bad Marriage

posted by Michele Olson

A recent Yahoo article talked about Bachelor Carl Weisman, a 49 year old who conducted a survey of 1,533 heterosexual men. He was doing research for a book geared to give women insight into why some smart, successful men opted to stay single -- and help lifelong bachelors understand why they are still the solo man at parties.

He concluded that most men were not afraid of marriage -- but they were afraid of a bad marriage.

"Men are 10 times more scared of marrying the wrong person than of never getting married at all," Weisman told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Wisconsin Radio Network asked me to comment on the story. You can read and hear my comments by clicking here.

What is your take?

Do you think Carl is off base…or do you agree with his point of view?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Preventing Affairs Resource

posted by Michele Olson

Affairs are devastating. That's the bottom line. They bring on pain that you wouldn't wish on anyone...always to someone. Through a domino effect they can break the hearts of a wide circle of people. Wouldn't it be smart for every married person to have a resource to understand how to prevent an affair in the first place? That resource is available in a book, aptly named Preventing Affairs by Peggy Vaughan. Still available in PDF format at DearPeggy.com, it's just become available in a printed/bound version through through amazon.com. Peggy also has other excellent books on marriage as well as some great articles on her website.

If you are personally affected by an affair...you will benefit from this book. And for every married person...it serves as a smart choice to realize we need to protect our marriages.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Wisconsin Constitutional News

Posted by Michele Olson

It can be hard to keep up with everything happening on a state and national level. Not every issue gets a big headline in the newspaper. So it's helpful when you can read a press release that summarizes rulings that you should be aware of. No matter what your opinion on the matter is...we want you to be informed.

On May 30th, a Dane County Circuit Court judge ruled that Wisconsin's Marriage Protection Amendment does not violate the "single purpose" or single subject provision of the Wisconsin Constitution. Wisconsin Family Council, who was represented by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief for oral arguments before Judge Richard Niess. To read a press release from Wisconsin Family Council regarding this ruling, click here.

Feel free to blog what you DO think and we'll keep you posted as we get more news on this important subject.