Course Outline for The Key to Successful Marriages and Relationships

Week 1

Lesson 1- Why Relationships Can Be So Challenging

Blame it on fairy tales. Many people believe that if you meet the right person, your life will be an unending series of blissful experiences. The truth is that no relationship can ever be conflict-free because people change over time and every relationship goes through adversity. Instead of looking for the mythical "perfect" person, we all need to realize that every relationship is different and can work as long as both people agree to cooperate. Maintaining a relationship is a skill that anyone can improve, and in this lesson, you'll start to learn how.

Lesson 2- The Seven Stages of a Relationship

People often think, "If I can just meet the right person, I'll have the perfect relationship." Meeting the right person is important, but knowing how to stay in love with that person matters more. In Lesson 2, you'll find out about the seven stages that every relationship goes through. Knowing these stages will help you to predict problems and defuse them.

Week 2

Lesson 3- Maintaining Your Identity

In every relationship, there's a "we" that defines the couple, but there are also two "I's" that define each partner. If a relationship focuses too much on "we," one or both partners can feel smothered. If a relationship focuses too much on "I," then you risk having less of a relationship and more of a casual friendship at best. In Lesson 3, we'll explore this balancing act. You'll find out how you and your partner can each fulfill your needs and still have the freedom to grow individually.

Lesson 4- Learning to Fight Fair

Disagreements are part of every relationship, but how we handle those disagreements determines the quality of that relationship. Instead of avoiding issues or constantly arguing with no resolution, you can learn the rules of fair fighting. You can even use a problem to improve your relationship! Today you'll learn how.

Week 3

Lesson 5- Recognizing Warning Signs

So many marriages end in divorce. Even in some relationships that seem intact, cheating and adultery occur. Yet if you're in a relationship, you no longer have to wish and hope that you'll be one of the lucky ones. By recognizing the warning signs and taking action, you can keep your relationship healthy.

Lesson 6- Resolving Conflict: Break Up to Make Up

While fair fighting will help you confront problems, how can you defuse and resolve conflict after it occurs? In this lesson, we'll explore repairing a damaged relationship, dealing with grudges, and rebuilding trust.

Week 4

Lesson 7- Creating a Maintenance Program

Too many people believe that a relationship should survive and thrive all by itself. However, just like a car, a relationship needs periodic care and maintenance. Today we'll talk about how to make these tune-ups effective and fun.

Lesson 8- Understanding the Role of Sex

Nothing can elevate or upset a relationship more than sex. In many relationships, it's the pinnacle of emotional intimacy. However, sex can also be superficial and purely physical, lacking any emotional closeness. In this lesson, you'll learn how to make sex enhance, not disrupt, your closeness with your partner.

Week 5

Lesson 9- How to Adultery-Proof Your Relationship

Nothing can be more devastating than when your partner cheats on you. Beyond the sense of betrayal, there are the conflicting emotions of inadequacy, abandonment, and loss. Yet adultery or cheating can be overcome or even prevented. By understanding the source of adultery, you can either avoid it in the first place or withstand the emotional turmoil that cheating can bring.

Lesson 10- Dealing With Relationship Triangles

No relationship exists in a vacuum. During the Honeymoon stage, your relationship seems to exist solely for the two of you. However, as the relationship matures, you have to juggle work requirements as well as your relationships with relatives, friends, and possibly even children. A relationship triangle happens when your relationship involves more than two people, or when money issues or other problems outside the relationship demand attention. Relationship triangles add a new dynamic because you now have two people involved with a third person or situation, which can cause confusion and conflict . . . so in Lesson 10, I'll guide you through them.

Week 6

Lesson 11- Overcoming Money Issues

While many people worry about marital infidelity, they often overlook the equally serious problem of financial infidelity, where people lie or deceive their partners about their spending habits. The problem isn't necessarily not having enough money . . . it's the way that you and your partner handle money. When one person spends while the other person saves, those conflicting values can cause major problems. Fortunately, with the right skills and knowledge, you can deal with any money issues and keep your relationship happy, healthy, and loving—regardless of how much money you might have!

Lesson 12- Break Up or Make Up?

Not every relationship is made in heaven. Of course, getting rid of a person rarely gets rid of the problem. Today we'll talk about reasons to end a relationship and reasons to hold on.

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