Find out more about the Secular Version of I Choose Us on www.icu.sg
I Choose Us is a series of lessons for married couples (and engaged couples) that will help them to build their marriage on a strong foundation or to understand why they might be getting stuck and how to overcome obstacles leading to intimacy and long-term happiness. The six two-hour lessons can be taught as stand-alone sessions or in the form of a six-session workshop.
Session I – The Four Phases of Love
This session begins with an abundance of findings from credible research about how marriage affects a person’s work, health and parenting. Couples will then be taught about the four different phases of love / marriage:
- Mutual Affection
- Love Connection
For each stage, appropriate movie scenes will be shown to enhance the teaching points, and a couples’ exercise will be conducted. A message of hope will also be given to those who have experienced a turbulent period with their spouse.
Session II – Meeting Each Other’s Needs for Love & Respect
Couples will learn from research about the two basic ingredients for a healthy marriage – Love and Respect. They will be given an exercise for each “subscale” in which each partner will have a chance to rate how well his/her spouse has been able to meet his/her need for Love and Respect. For the husbands (rated by their wives) the three subscales are called:
- Considerate Listener
- Responsible Leader
- Romantic Lover
Likewise, for the wives (rated by their husbands) the three subscales are called:
- Appreciate and Admire Him
- Initiate and Enter His World
- Participate in the Bedroom
Couples will be taught practical steps about how to enter into the Love Connection stage on a daily and weekly basis.
Session III – Gaining Awareness When Your Marriage Feels Stuck
After some years of marriage, deeply entrenched beliefs and character traits may emerge and cause the marriage to fall into the Mutual Affection or Disintegration stage. This happens when couples are reacting based on their coping styles and when their schemas are getting triggered. Dr. Jeffrey Young research over the past 30 years has led him to identify 18 different schemas and three broad coping styles.
In this session, the principles above will be discussed in detail, and, with the help of appropriate movie scenes and cartoons, couples will gain awareness about their own schemas and coping styles. Couples will be able to fill out brief questionnaires that will assess the presence and/or strength of each of the 18 schemas.
Session IV – Exiting the Vortex of Conflict Escalation by Learning to be Vulnerable
Couples will learn about the three Coping Styles and which coping styles might be causing damage in their relationship. They will also be shown the distinction between destructive and constructive conflict and will be taught how to construct their own Vortex of Conflict Escalation.
Couples will then be guided about how to communicate with each other vulnerably so that they can exit from “the Vortex” on their own.
Appropriate movie scenes will be shown to help them see the power of being vulnerable with each other so that they can more often be in the Love Connection phase.
Session V – Protecting Your Marriage From Infidelity
Couples will learn about “affair-proofing” their marriage. Research and data will be shown with regards to how frequently spouses stray, what problems often cause cheating, and to underscore the importance of protecting the marriage relationship. With the use of appropriate movie scenes, couples will also be taught how to deal with an affair, how to end an affair, and how to save the marriage if a breach of trust has occurred.
Session VI – Forgiveness, Reconciliation and Repair
Many couples struggle to move past a major conflict or significant breach of trust in their marriage. In this session, couples will learn how to render forgiveness and get reconciled. With the help of appropriate movie scenes, couples will grow in understanding of the proper meaning of forgiveness so that they are able to reach genuine forgiveness and reconciliation. Couples will receive an exercise on how to process anger and resentment for future use at home. To conclude the workshop, couples will be invited to join an optional exercise, to slow dance with their spouse while the following song is played: “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman”, by Brian Adams.