With sour economy, men are investing more in family harmony

Family Harmony
With a sour economy and difficult job market, more and more men are investing in their families.

For many South Florida families, the state of their unions is stronger than ever.

A sour economy, soaring healthcare costs, and difficult job market is leading increasing numbers of men to marriage education classes for tips and tools to bring greater harmony to their families, improve relationships with spouses and children, and strengthen their ability to weather financial challenges.

More than 5,000 men and women in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties recently participated in free classes offered by the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation as a result of a federal grant provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. A follow-up study of 400 men six months after the nine-hour class offers encouraging news for efforts to curb the rate of divorce and family breakdown.

  • 95% reported improvement in communication with their partner;
  • 93% reported improvement in regularly sharing appreciations;
  • 92% reported improvement in their ability to resolve conflicts constructively;
  • 84% reported improvement in their physical intimacy;
  • 89% reported improvement in their ability to confide emotions;
  • 94% reported improvement in their overall relationship.

Seth Eisenberg, President and CEO of PAIRS Foundation, said the program focuses on enhancing competencies in three areas:

  1. Emotional literacy;
  2. Confiding, listening and problem-solving skills for building and maintaining intimacy;
  3. Practical knowledge, strategies and attitudes for sustaining positive marriage and family life.

“The goal is to enable couples to create relationships that both partners can live with joyfully,” Eisenberg said. “To sustain relationships based on love and intimacy, each partner must be able to identify his or her own feelings and needs, communicate them in such a way that they can get met, and integrate skills that lead to constructive conflict resolution based on empathy, good will and a shared relationship vision.”

“Marriage education classes offer a road map and practical tools to be successful,” Eisenberg added. “Research shows that for most couples, it’s far more effective than traditional counseling or marriage therapy, far less costly, and an inconsequential expense compared to the price and impact of divorce.”

Classes were delivered through Broward County YMCA, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, City of Fort Lauderdale Parks and Recreation Department, churches, and agencies that help men and women, including veterans, rebuild their lives after being homeless, such as Carrfour Supportive Housing. PAIRS Foundation recently began offering classes online as well.

“The most urgent challenges facing neighborhoods and communities nationwide can be traced directly to the impact of family breakdown,” Eisenberg said. “Children are healthier, happier and better able to achieve their potential when they have the active engagement of both their fathers and mothers and the resources that come from strong two-parent families,” he said. “We’re delighted to help their parents find the road map and tools to be successful.”

For a copy of the full research report or information on upcoming classes, visit http://fatherhood.pairs.com, e-mail info@pairs.com, or call 877-724-7748.

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What is PAIRS?

Intimacy is critical to the process of developing and sustaining close relationships, now a major concern in our culture. Modernization has shifted the primary function of marriage from providing security, stability, and raising children to developing a lifetime of love and intimacy. In previous generations successful marriages depended upon duty and role competence. Modern marriages require greater interpersonal competence as well as equality between partners. Relationships are sought that not only create stable families but also provide partners with a lifetime of love and companionship.

The PAIRS (Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills) programs, developed by Lori H. Gordon, Ph.D., provide a comprehensive system to enhance self-knowledge and to develop the ability to sustain pleasurable intimate relationships. Gordon's approach integrates a wide range of theories and methods from psychology, education and psychotherapy and presents them in an educational format. PAIRS acts to bridge therapy, marital enrichment, and marriage and family development.

Programs: Courses and Workshops

PAIRS offers programs to the public led by PAIRS Trained Professionals (licensed health care professionals), and PAIRS Instructors (certified clergy and educators), trained under the auspices and supervision of Gordon and the PAIRS Foundation, the organization that officially oversees PAIRS programs, products and licensing worldwide. There are PTPs and facilitators around the world. Check “Finding an Educator” to find one near you or near one you love who may need PAIRS.

PAIRS is effective in all populations for which it has been adapted. PAIRS has relationship skills training programs for children and youth, PAIRS for PEERS, that are taught in schools, churches and agencies. PAIRS has programs for the Military, for use by chaplains and family service workers. PAIRS has faith-based programs for the Jewish, Catholic, and Christian church communities. PAIRS is currently developing programs and program delivery systems for disadvantaged youth, unmarried families, single parents, domestic violence, prison parolees, and related groups who can benefit from relationship skills training. PAIRS provides a vital ingredient to build stable marriages and healthy families with more hopeful futures for children. These programs for special groups will be taught by local agency workers and by specially trained community teachers and mentors. Research on PAIRS has demonstrated that PAIRS works for all groups under all circumstances evaluated. PAIRS is a modern technology adapted to our rapidly changing society in behalf of creating a saner, safer more loving world.

What you will learn in PAIRS

Sustaining a pleasurable intimate relationship does not work by magic. It depends upon a set of skills and understanding that can be learned. We learned most of what we know about intimate relationships through our early experiences in our families. Our personal history has a great deal of influence on what happens in our current relationships - on our behavior, our feelings, our expectations. We can change these influences if we become aware of them and wish to. It is well worthwhile to sort through what we inherited, keeping what fits for today and changing what does not.

PAIRS Competencies are specific skills that you will learn from PAIRS. These competencies focus in three areas: 1) emotional literacy; 2) conjoint partner skills for building and maintaining intimacy; and 3) practical knowledge, strategies and attitudes for sustaining positive marriage and family life. You may click on the above links to see a listing of the skills taught in PAIRS.

The Goal of PAIRS is a relationship that both partners can live with joyfully. For this to happen, each partner must become able to identify his or her own feelings and needs, and learn to communicate them in such a way that they can get met. This means communicating one's needs and desires without making the other partner feel resentful, smothered, burdened, manipulated, or inadequate. Easily and fully meeting each others' needs is the foundation of intimacy, fulfillment, and happiness.

PAIRS teaches specific easily learnable tools for successful communication such as confiding, complaining, and clarifying and for effective problems solving such as managing anger, expressing anger safely, fighting fairly for change and eliminating dirty fighting. PAIRS also guides the vast deepening of self-knowledge and develops emotional literacy. PAIRS addresses pleasure and satisfaction by teaching skills to enhance bonding, sensuality and sexuality in marriage. PAIRS teaches a profound but simple model, the Relationship Roadmap, to understand relationship success and to understand relationship mishaps and know what to do about them. PAIRS teaches over 60 skills that, after PAIRS, become the participants' PAIRS Tool Box for ongoing relationship maintenance.

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