Especially with a disability, you need a happy partner
By Herb Drill
She walked into the foyer of the restaurant wearing a pretty, feminine peach-colored top. Her hair hung straight down in back to her shoulders with bangs in front. A prettier version of Liza Minelli was his first impression. Then, he felt the “chemical reaction,” the rush of adrenalin.
He knew she had three young children and that her first husband had died of cancer. They dated, lived together, got married.
As if marriage isn’t chaotic enough, especially with kids who knew their birth father, a story in The Wall Street Journal suggests one wedding present in particular: a gift certificate for a marriage skills class called "Relationship Enhancement." The Journal told of such a gift from - SURPRISE! - a bride’s mother. The bride was “kind of taken aback.”
In generous retrospect, the gift could be viewed as one which keeps giving communication skills classes. It seems more people, especially parents, are giving marriage-education classes to newlyweds and engaged couples, and for “occasions such as anniversaries and the birth of a child.”
After all, The Journal surmises correctly, relationship skills will most likely be more useful than a Cuisinart and less dangerous!
Class prices vary depending on length and location - church basements or Vail resorts - and usually are given before groups. Many classes aren't faith-based and stress - no pun intended - teaching “how-to” of conflict resolution. No one has to be reminded of the high U.S. divorce rate, possibly due to the lavishness of today's weddings, with couples tending more to planning the event than considering the marriage which succeeds the honeymoon.
By giving such a gift, The Journal observes, “there's certainly the risk of offending couples by presenting them with a coupon for a communication class. The reality is that communication and conflict-resolution skills can strengthen relationships.” In addition, the Gottman Institute in Seattle offers this “Marriage 101” primer: Have high standards and “refuse to accept hurtful behavior from one another;” edit yourself by avoiding every angry thought when discussing touchy topics; learn to exit or repair an argument before it veers out of control; shift the topic to something unrelated; use humor; emphasize you're on common ground, and actually learn from football and give the “time-out” signal for a cooling-off period.
Just think of all the arguments which will be avoided before the National Football League games begin each Sunday and before someone like Rush Limbaugh gets a chance to open his ignorant right-wing mouth.
Most of all, remember the gift-giver had the impression the couple love each other!
Jacksonville, Fla. resident Herb Drill is the feature writer for www.notaccessible.com and is a charter member of the now international Society of American Business Editors and Writers. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com.