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Our engagement photo - 1982While I was scanning photos today for my post on dreaming about destination weddings, I started thinking back to my wedding. It’s funny, it was almost 28 years ago, but I remember every stressful thing that happened that day and leading up to it. One of the things that really sticks out in my mind was Couple’s Counseling. It was required by the church or we wouldn’t be allowed to marry there. Since a church wedding was important to my husband’s parents, I agreed to go.

We were required to attend several meetings along with other couples. It’s hard enough to talk about your issues with strangers, but the pastor was a good friend’s father, so it was doubly stressful. However, the time spent talking about money, kids, expectations, etc., actually made us realize we didn’t know as much about each other as we thought.

I’ve always been grateful for the time spent exploring how we were going to make our relationship work as a married couple, even if it was uncomfortable.  It brought up some issues we didn’t want to deal with and a few we didn’t even know were a problem since we’d never talked about the subject before.  I credit  that time spent, before we took our vows, to discuss and figure out the tough issues that might have become a relationship breaker later on. And perhaps that’s why we’ve grown together in our marriage instead of apart. We’re not the people we were when we got married, we’re further apart politically and socially than we were before, but we’ve grown to accept the differences and move forward together.

In the years since then, we’ve relied heavily on books to get us over rough patches, especially when it came to raising our children. I’ve also gotten individual counseling a few times for work-related issues, but we’ve not done couples counseling again. We certainly would should the need arise.

Where do you go for advice and help? Do you have close friends or family to help you through tough times? Where do you go for tips on how to have a great a long-lasting relationship? All these topics and more can be discussed on http://twoofus.org. It’s a website for every stage of life and every phase of a relationship.

Las Vegas, sometime in the late 90's or early 2000'sFor older folks like us there’s an empty nest syndrome help section. I found myself identifying with this statement, “Sadness, depression, and loss of identity or purpose” is how experts define empty nest syndrome. The “empty nest syndrome” is an analogy used to describe the changes in roles that parents, especially mothers, experience when their children grow up and leave home (the nest).

I know not all parents feel the same way about children growing up and leaving.  It’s nice to have a place I can go to read about it and find ways to help myself refocus my life from being child-centered to whatever my new life will hold.  The website offers suggestions on how to talk with my husband so that he can understand why this is so hard for me when it’s not for him.  I offers ideas on how I can ask for support and how I can accept that because he’s not as upset about it, it doesn’t mean he didn’t love lbeing a dad.

But if you’re at the beginning of your relationship journey, there’s help with dating as well as tips on keeping your relationship fresh, There’s help for parents, one of our most stressful times, as well as information on how to turn off the electronics and connect again.

Actor Hill Harper Starts “The Conversation Party” (video)

The purpose of “The Conversation Party” is to move away from the virtual world and getting back to the real world. Inviting people over to learn and share about each other. This can be done with family, your kids, friends, or just the two of you. It’s to get the conversation started again and the focus on each other.

Why not check out TwoOfUs.org and explore the relationship advice available on the site. Current topics include, “Can you forgive someone for cheating?” and “How do I tell my partner I want to work on improving our relationship?“. If these don’t interest you, you may just find help for something that you have been struggling with. I know I’ll be going back to read more about the empty nest. It seem to get harder every day and not easier for me and it’s time to move on.

What’s your most common relationship itips on keeping your relationship freshssue? Money? Kids? Time?

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The National Healthy Marriage Resource Center (NHMRC) is a national resource and clearinghouse for information and research relating to healthy marriages. We strive to be a “first stop shop” for marriage and family trends and statistics, marriage education and programming, scholarly research, and the latest news and events. In particular, the NHMRC also provides training and technical assistance presentations and documents for federally funded Healthy Marriage Initiative grantees.

The NHMRC supports the Administration for Children and Families, furthering its commitment to promote and support healthy marriages and child well-being by providing research and program information and generating new knowledge about promising and effective strategies.