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Getting to Know You All Over Again A Learning & Growing Exercise for Couples By: Gil & Erlinda Camus May 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Getting to Know You All Over Again A Learning & Growing Exercise for Couples By: Gil & Erlinda Camus May 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Getting to Know You All Over Again A Learning & Growing Exercise for Couples
By: Gil & Erlinda Camus May 2011

2 Introduction A little over two years ago we became empty nesters after our daughter’s completion of her educational goals. While growing up, we kept her under our wings, loving, nurturing and preparing her for the day when she would eventually leave the safety and comforts of our nest. Wings that were once clumsy and immature became equipped and sturdy enough to fly into the horizon so that she may fulfill her dreams and pursue her aspirations in life. When she was gone, we were suddenly left to ourselves, then we realized that our busy lives have drawn us apart. We no longer knew each other. Our busy and demanding lives kept us disengaged with one another. Communications were like hearing garbled messages on a broken telephone line that needed immediate repair. We looked at each other’s eyes and longed to get to know each other all over again. Getting to know each other enhances awareness, promotes understanding and encourages forgiveness. When one is able to understand and forgive, it develops deeper love and it reinforces commitment. Promotes Understanding Develops Deeper Love Enhances Awareness Encourages Forgiveness Reinforces Commitment May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

3 Objectives Encourage connection between husband and wife.
Reinforce marriages by getting to know more about each other. Enhance sensitivity, understanding and appreciation. Promote learning and growing together as husband and wife. Keep marriages exciting and interesting. Remind one another of why you fell in love with each other in the first place. Work on differences lovingly, respectfully and proactively. May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

4 Activity Guidelines Be open. Be respectful.
Listen attentively. Listen with your heart. Demonstrate sensitivity . Practice empathy. Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes. “Seek first to understand then to be understood.” Communicate with a loving heart and an open mind. Avoid blaming or digressing from the objective of the exercise. Compromise when a response differs from yours. This may be a future topic for dialogue. Have fun getting to know your spouse all over again. May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

5 Instructions This activity is done separately from dialogue.
Select question(s) to answer from the attached sample questionnaires. Each spouse answers the same question(s). Exercise is done in the couple’s privacy, similar to dialogue. Note: Attached are sample questions only. You may create questions that would be helpful in getting to know each other better. Show sensitivity when creating questions. Write - Each spouse writes their responses to the question(s) for a given time (5 minutes per question). Exchange - Gently exchange questionnaires with your spouse after the time limit. Silently read your spouse’s responses twice in complete silence (1st time from the head, 2nd time from the heart). Share – Each spouse takes turn providing feedback about husband’s/wife’s responses listening attentively to understand, speaking respectfully and asking questions if unclear. Assign a time limit (5 minutes per question). Focus on the intent of this exercise: Getting to know each other better in a loving and respectful way. May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

6 Getting to Know You Topics
1.Self Discovery Family of Origin Personality 2. Environment 3. Friendships 4. Romance Period B4 Marriage 5. Romance Period Wedding Day 6. Adjustment Period 1st Few Years 7. Building Blocks The more that I get to know you, I’m able to love, commit, understand, and forgive. I see the light with hopefulness, serenity and joy in my heart. May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

7 1. Self Discovery - Family of Origin
“The term “Family of Origin” refers to the family that you grew up in – your parents and siblings. It may also include grandparents, and other relatives who lived with you during part of your childhood. These people strongly influence who we become.” “Men and women who grew up in relatively healthy, functional families are able to make adjustments in a marriage relationship. “ “Adult awareness will help you not to repeat negative patterns modeled during the formative years. Once you become aware of the patterns of your family of origin, you can change them.” It’s not easy, but awareness, willingness and commitment will pave the way for positive transformation. Source: For Your Marriage - An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

8 1. Family of Origin Exercise (5 mins
1. Family of Origin Exercise (5 mins. to answer multiple choice questions) Affection was: A. Shown warmly and often B. Rarely shown in public C. Other __________________________ Relationships were: A. Close. We had many times of fun together. B. Cordial, but each person primarily recreated by themselves C. Strained When my parents disagreed or fought: (circle 1 or more that applies) A. They yelled and screamed B. One usually gave in to the other C. They compromised D. They separated to cool off E. One or both used the “silent treatment” F. I wouldn’t know. They never fought in front of me. Decision making was done by: A. Father B. Mother C. Both parents in consultation D. Everyone in the home (including the kids) E. Default (Nobody seemed to make decisions. Life just happened.) On Sunday or religious holy days we would: A. Go to religious services together B. One parent would attend services, the other stayed home. C. Neither parent was involved in an organized religion. Reference: For Your Marriage - An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Privacy was: A. Respected B. A sign of secretiveness and selfishness Money was: (circle 1 or more that applies) A. Saved for a rainy day B. Spent only on necessities C. We were always in debt D. Used freely for recreational pursuits E. Other ______________________________ My home was usually: A. Neat and clean B. Comfortably cluttered C. Other __________________________ Household chores were divided according to: A. “Women’s work” or “Men’s work” B. Who had the most time or skill at the chore C. Both parents took equal responsibility D. Parents & children helped out Responsibility for keeping the home picked up belonged to: A. Everyone picked up after themselves B. Mother or father picked up after the kids C. I never noticed. It was never an issue. D. Nobody picked up. (It was pretty messy.) May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

9 1. Self Discovery – Family of Origin Questionnaire (5/5 per question)
Response How was affection for each other demonstrated in your family? Do you believe that you were loved? If so, what contributed to that belief? How was appreciation and recognition demonstrated in your family? Was appreciation shown to you? If so, how was it expressed? How was respect demonstrated in your family? In your opinion/judgment were you respected? How did you show your respect to others in the family? How did your family spend time together on a daily basis and during weekends? May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

10 1. Self Discovery - Family of Origin Questionnaire (5/5 per question)
Response Who do you think/believe had the strongest influence on you while growing up? What dynamic in that family member or your family (as a group) might have led to this influence? Currently, do you think that this is still true for you? Describe your relationship with your father while growing up? Describe your relationship with your mother while growing up? Who were you closest to in your family and what contributed to that closeness? Do you think the family member you had a strong connection with would answer that he/she experienced a close relationship with you too? What is your relationship with that person like, now? May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

11 Question (There is no right or wrong answer to questions below )
1. Self Discovery – Personality (3 mins. to answer multiple choice questions) Question (There is no right or wrong answer to questions below ) Response Select one item applicable to you and why? Your behavior is guided by fate, luck, or other external circumstances. Your behavior is guided by personal decisions and efforts Which is your preference? Select one item applicable to you and why? Busy and exciting weekend Relaxing weekend Are you more on the popular side Are you more on the loner side Get bored being alone Like time to be alone Being onstage Being with the audience Action first Thought first Talk first Think first Awareness Acceptance Adjustment Attitude Approach May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

12 2. Environment - Growing Years
“The various environments that children encounter in day-to-day life have an impact on their overall behaviors and attitudes. From the classroom to home life, environments can either be a positive or negative influence. “ “An environment filled with sadness and negativity can seriously affect a child's behaviors. While children are usually upbeat by nature, an atmosphere that constantly focuses on the bad things in life can quickly change the child's natural tendencies for positivity.” “An overly restrictive environment can hold a child back from being who he truly is, thereby causing disruptive or emotional behavioral outbursts. “ “Children that grow up in a household filled with chaos are bound to have behavioral problems. “ “Similar results occur if the child is enrolled in a school that lacks routine or scheduled activities. Regular routines including mealtime, chores and organized activities help children have steady and appropriate behavior. A clean environment also helps to foster positive behaviors by providing space and structure.” Reference: Does the Environment Affect a Child's Behavior? By Rebecca DeLuccia-Reinstein May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

13 2. Environment – Growing Years Questionnaire (5/5 per question)
Response Describe your home environment while growing up (i.e. positive/negative, encouraging/unsupportive, open/restrictive, organized/chaotic) Describe your school environment while growing up (i.e. strict, conservative, traditional, liberal, dynamic). 1st Grade to 8th Grade High School What school activities and after school activities did you engage in while growing up. May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

14 3. Relationships: Friendships
Maintaining trustworthy and wholesome friendships is an ingredient that sustains the health, social well-being, growth, and support system of married couples. Maintain friendships who: Care about you, your marriage, your family, your health and your well-being Keep you grounded Increase your sense of belonging and purpose Give moral support Improve your self-worth Help you during challenging times Encourage you to change for the better or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits Reference: mayoclinic May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

15 3. Relationships: Friendships Questionnaire (5/5 per question)
Response Describe your best /closest friends while growing up? What did you think you had in common? Describe your best/closest friend(s) now? What do you think you have in common? What are your thoughts / conclusions on the significance of friendships in your life? As you grew older (more mature and/or wiser) did your emotional responses change in regard to friends or friendships, in general? May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

16 4. Stage of Marriage: Romance Stage Before Marriage and Wedding Day
“Most are familiar with the 1st Stage of Romance. Life was so wonderful we couldn't stand to live without the other. We had fallen in love and knew that this was the person we wanted to spend the rest of our life with. Little differences between us were cute and endearing. “ Reference: Retrouvaille.org During the wedding day, romance is in the air, hearts filled with love and happiness, dream of being together in marriage has come true. Rekindling those special and happy moments of your romance stage and your wedding day allow couples to use those times as means of reinforcing and revitalizing your marriage. May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

17 4. Romance Stage – Before Marriage Questionnaire (5/5 per question)
Response What attracted you to your spouse prior to marriage? Describe your relationship with your spouse prior to your marriage? Describe a happiest time prior to your marriage (i.e. first date, engagement proposal) Describe how you spent your time together prior to marriage. What was the strongest feeling that you felt whenever you saw each other? May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

18 5. Romance Stage - Wedding Day Questionnaire (5/5 per question)
Response Describe your wedding day. What strong feelings did you feel on that day? Describe your spouse when you saw him/her for the first time during your wedding day. What was the strongest feeling that you felt? Describe your exchange of marriage vows. What strong feelings did you feel while exchanging your marriage vows. What was the song that touched you the most during your wedding ceremony? What was the strongest feeling that you felt when you heard the song? What was the music played for the groom & bride’s first dance during the reception? What was the strongest feeling that you felt when you danced to the music with your spouse? May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

19 6. Adjustment Period – The First Few Years
“THE FIRST 5 YEARS - The beginning years of marriage are filled with many new challenges. An important way to work through these challenges is to spend time discussing how to best work together to face issues that arise. “ “A common mistake newly married couples make is that they don’t sit down together and establish their priorities,” said Kathy Passauer. “Areas the couple should examine when setting priorities are faith, money, time with family, having children, time alone together, sexuality, careers and household chores. If couples do not talk frankly and listen openly to each other’s hopes and dreams, things can easily veer off course. “You can wake up five years later and ask, ‘Why are your dreams so different from mine?'” her husband Fred said. “ “The first five years of marriage, you’re groping in the dark,” he said. Instead of blaming each other when problems arise, spouses need to learn that the solution may be that they themselves need to invest more time in doing things differently.” Reference: Building a solid foundation: A Marriage's First Five Years, Jennifer E. Reed, Catholic News Service, 1/8/07 May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

20 6. Adjustment Period - The 1st Few Years Questionnaire (5/5 per question)
Response Briefly describe the first 5 years of your married life. What did you learn during this period? During the first 10 years in your married life, describe a significant and happy event. What was the strongest feeling that you felt ? During the first 10 years of your married life, what did you do to promote a loving and cohesive relationship? Do you think/believe that your spouse felt loved & connected with you during the first 10 years? What will you do to progressively allow your spouse to feel loved and connected with you? May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

21 7. Building Blocks - Promotes Cohesiveness, Growth, Stronger Relationship
The 5 “D”s Desire: Recognize a Need for Change Attitude Matters Dialogue: Share Feelings Leads to awareness & understanding Discuss: Issues & thoughts, desires, needs concerning them Decide: Compromise, Decide to Love & Decide on Same Goal Do: Take action to create change. Motivation to not fall into paralysis 1. Our Foundation & Footings: Love Vows Commitment 2. Our Framing: Decision to Commit Decision to Love Decision to Forgive Decision to Trust 3. Plumbing (Cleansing): Dialogue Conflict Management Spirituality 4. Electric (Energy) Sex Fun Intimacy Affirmation 5. Our Roof and Exterior Walls: Community 6. Interior Decorating: Our Needs Our Values Our Interests Reference: Retrouvaille, Post Program Workbook May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

22 7. Building Blocks Questionnaire (5/5 per question)
Response How do you make your spouse know that you are fully connecting with him/her? How do you honestly share your thoughts, feelings and opinions with your spouse? How do you listen to your spouse’s thoughts, feelings, and opinions without judgment? How do you nurture intimacy in your relationship with your spouse? How do you encourage spirituality in your relationship? What do you do to maintain balance in your daily living when it pertains to family, work, activities and spirituality? May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

23 7. Building Blocks Questionnaire (5/5 per question)
Response In order not to put anyone else above your spouse, how do you fulfill your spouse’s needs? What are your spouse’s favorite hobbies & interests? What do you do in order to show interest in your spouse’s hobbies and interests? How do you show interest in your spouse’s work, activities and family? May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

24 7. Building Blocks Questionnaire (5/5 per question)
Response What can you do to contribute to an atmosphere of security within your relationship – especially for the benefit of your spouse? What do you do to make your time spent together enjoyable? How do you demonstrate respect in your relationship? How do you respect each other’s individualities? How do you take care of your spouse’s health and well-being? May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

25 7. Building Blocks - Likes/Dislikes/Interests Questionnaire ( 5 mins
7. Building Blocks - Likes/Dislikes/Interests Questionnaire ( 5 mins. answer/5 mins. share) Question Response What is your spouse’s favorite color? What is your spouse’s favorite dish? What is your spouse’s favorite place that he/she frequently goes to? What favorite romantic song(s) reminds you of your spouse? What is your spouse’s favorite outdoor activity? What is your spouse’s favorite indoor past time? What are your spouse’s favorite TV show(s)? What is your spouse’s favorite season of the year? What do you think are your spouse’s happiest events in his/her married life with you? What is a place that your spouse has not seen and would like to visit someday? May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

26 Conclusion: Getting to Know You is Loving You More Each Passing Day
Life has become our best teacher as we now realize that life and love takes a lot of hard work. What was previously written in our book of life and love is a thing of the past. The choices and decisions that we make will determine the story yet to be written. In this new chapter of our lives, we will hold each others hands with profound love, a stronger sense of commitment, enthusiasm and gratitude. I am having the time of my life experiencing a more profound love interwoven with spontaneity, laughter and getting to know you conversations besides routine matters. I love hearing your stories about your younger years, adventures, accomplishments, lessons learned, career achievements, family of origin as well as your concerns. As your lifetime partner and loving confidante I am very much interested in learning more about you. I feel needed and special when you entrust your life stories with me. When you open your heart and your mind to me, I feel loved and I know that I am an important part of your life. May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

27 Lyrics of “Getting to Know You”
Getting to feel free and easy When I am with you, Getting to know what to say Haven't you noticed Suddenly I'm bright and breezy? Because of all the beautiful and new Things I'm learning about you Day by day. Day .. by ... day. May 10, 2011, Version 2.1

28 Bible Verse: 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. May 10, 2011, Version 2.1


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