I should have written this review months ago when it was fresher in my mind. Oh well! We watched this ABC Production over a few days in June and enjoyed it.
‘Enjoyed it’ is the wrong term actually, ‘found it helpful’ is a better one. There is not much enjoyment in watching the way marriages have deteriorated over time with unhelpful communication, destructive conflict management and poor attention to family of origin issues.
However it has much to offer. Four couples come to meet with experts and each other to address the issues that have pushed their marriages to the brink of survival. Over four episodes spanning 8 weeks, they are assisted to see unhelpful patterns, to work through hurts and resentments and to face each other honestly. No matter what stage your marriage is in, I would imagine there are many things covered here that you would see reflected in your own relationship – the realities of having a young family, work pressures and unmet expectations.
We found it helpful to be reminded how quickly resentments and bad habits can spiral when unaddressed. All the principles applied by the experts were sensible and similar to things we all know we should do – listen properly, speak positively and fight fairly, to name but a few.
One of the tips that I thought was really useful for an issue that particularly needs addressing is the idea of writing a letter to each other. Firstly, the letter written by the partner who is ‘at fault’ (bad use of language but you know what I mean). This was a long detailed letter with explanation but also asking for forgiveness. This was read out - a great idea, because then you get tone right. Then, the other spouse could draft their own letter of forgiveness and a commitment to move forward. (Actually it might not have been exactly this, but I took it away as a helpful idea!) In areas of large conflict or large transgression this may be a helpful way of both being able to address what happened, how it affected each of you and how to move forward, yet the process of writing out what to say in advance adds the ability to temper what you say and not react ‘in the heat of the moment’.
As pretty much all the marriage stuff we look at are Christian books, this DVD series provides another useful tool, being both non-religious and visual, therefore I could see the appeal for other applications. If a couple were really in crisis, professional help would be much better. But for those who want to stay on top of things and be proactive in this area, it might provide enough conversations starters and tools to get you going and hopefully keep you on track to a happier marriage.