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Prepare for a lifetime of “I choose You Everyday”

Summer is here, and that means its wedding season! After a couple of years of isolation, we are all ready to kick up our heels and dance the night away to celebrate love with friends and families. I am always amazed at the time and effort that goes into planning these amazing celebrations of Love and Commitment. It makes me wonder though, how much of this planning goes into what happens the day after, or even the year after? Which is why I am a big fan of premarital counselling; specifically, how it gives you the tools to uncover the potential pitfalls facing all newlyweds.

An average wedding costs about $40,000 just for the day and takes 200-500 hours to plan. Depending on the couple, these numbers can fluctuate greatly. Couples planning their dream day will budget for the wedding attire, rings, flowers, decorations, transportation, food, drinks, banquet hall, entertainment, and honeymoon. Very few will budget for premarital counselling.

Couples may begin premarital counselling on someone’s suggestion, or because it was another item to check off on a long list of wedding-to-dos, often left to the last minute as a low priority. However, making premarital counselling intentional allows you to get more out of your marriage and perhaps prevent major challenges down the road. Premarital counselling prepares you for a realistic perspective on marital expectations, it is an investment into your marriage and your future.

Premarital Counselling sessions focus on areas such as marital expectations, communication, finances, conflict resolution, family and friends, children, parenting, blended families, personalities, spirituality, sexual expectation etc. These sessions can help you practice crucial relationship skills, so that you can be more aligned on major aspects of your relationship, creating a stronger foundation on which to begin your marriage. Couples are challenged to explore their values, greatest fears, speak their truth, be vulnerable with each other, and share parts of themselves that they might not have done during the romantic dating phases. An experienced therapist will support you, guide you, and even dig a little deeper and explore personal traumas that may affect the marital relationship. The aim is to get you started on a solid foundation.

This might be too much and even too personal, but isn’t that what you are getting into, a personal intimate relationship with each other? This journey can be fun filled, laughter inducing, serious, and even tearful at some stages. However, it looks, it is an absolute “must do” on the planning list.

At Elpizo, we offer twelve (12), 90-minute sessions to discuss the abovementioned topics, and to aid the couple in creating a marriage plan. Your investment: 12 weeks, 18 hours, and a financial investment of about $3,000-$4,000, which you claim back on your health insurance. The time to start a plan for your lifetime partnership is now. Prepare for a marriage of “I chose you, every day”. Be informed, be intentional, build a solid foundation, begin from a place of knowledge, transparency, and alignment in creating a successful marriage. Congratulations for taking this bold journey of premarital therapy. We look forward to seeing you!

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Valentine’s Day Tips for Couples & Singles

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, which means you may be feeling some pressure to make the day memorable or work on improving your relationship this month. If you are single, you may be feeling extra lonely without as much connection and interactions with the people you care about in your daily life. With this global pandemic, we know how much our individual and partner relationships may be struggling with these challenges. Trying to balance these feelings around the holiday dedicated to appreciating your relationship or yourself may be hard, but we have some tips we want to share to help aid the overwhelming feelings so you can focus on growing whether you are in a relationship or single! 

For The Singles

First, here are the five best things about being single right now: 

  1. Opportunity to know yourself, recognize your personal strengths and celebrate your independence.
  2. Time and freedom to accomplish the things in life you want without having to consider someone else’s schedule, hopes and dreams.  Use it wisely. 
  3. The positive outlook that you still have the opportunity to choose your mate. The world is your love oyster. 
  4. You can cultivate your friendships and build these to have life-long lasting power. 
  5. You learn to love yourself first and only then can you love someone else and receive their love effectively. 

February is a great time to learn about love languages, whether you are with someone or working on improving yourself! 

Do you ever think about how you show love and how you like to receive love? Most people show their love and affection for their partner in the same way they like to receive it as we make an inherent assumption that everybody wants to be shown love in the same way we do. In his book, The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman (2015) identified five key ways that people like to be shown love. Take this love languages quiz and ask your partner to do the same! You can share the quiz with your friends or family if you are currently single to feel more connected during the holiday Discuss your results so that each of you knows how best to show your love for the other!

And remember…hold on when you get love, and let go when you give it (Millan, Seligman, Cranley, McGee, Campbell, 2012). 

For The Couples

This pandemic has definitely changed the way quality time can be spent with a person. This Valentine’s Day is no different, but we have some tips that may help spark some inspiration and ease on how to connect with your partner and grow in your new situations! 

Here are some tips for relationships struggling with distance:

  • Plan a romantic phone call or video chat with your favourite dessert and drink nearby 
  • Share three things you love and appreciate about your significant other 
  • Talk about something you both would be excited to do once you reunite 
  • Share your favourite memory together 
  • Let them know you miss them, and that you can’t wait to see them when it’s safe to do so!

Here are some tips for relationships struggling with being in close proximity: 

  • Plan a relaxing alone time activity for your significant other to show your appreciation 
  • This could be a candlelit bath, grabbing them their favourite book and meal, or giving them time to wind down in the comfiest part of your living area 
  • You can find a way to get out of your space by spending time outside together on a walk, in the park or supporting any local spots that are open right now
  • Doing this small gesture of allowing them to relax and recharge with their favourite things is an excellent way to show you care and love them! 

Resolving Conflict

Do you fight with your partner to win? Or do you fight to seek understanding and resolve the issue?  

When someone is addressing a problem, it can be easy to hear the language they are using as a direct attack or criticism. In those moments, we often stop hearing what they are saying and jump into “defensive” mode whereby we’re formulating our response in our head and not listening. Our defensive mode can additionally lead to offensive responses all of which creates a negative communication cycle. Nobody feels heard or understood, leading to added frustration and no resolution.  

Effective conflict resolution begins with effective communication. We must listen to each other attentively, ensure we’ve understood correctly, and respond with honesty and kindness. Doing so will allow each other to be vulnerable in a safe environment where collaboration can occur to resolve the issue.

“Communication leads to understanding leads to collaboration.”  (L. B. Pearson). 

It can be easy to get caught up in the issues, anxieties and pressures of Valentine’s Day whether you are in a relationship or single. However, during this global pandemic, the most important test has demonstrated that showing love and care for your partner or yourself is what matters most! Prioritizing these relationships right now might seem daunting, but it’s more manageable than you think, and it can start with something as simple as these tips we’ve laid out!