Online marriage chat based coaching

We hear from Power of Two members everyday.  That’s because every member is assigned a real live person to be there marriage coach.  At Power of Two our online marriage chat based coaching helps our members apply the content they are learning.  Our coaches review all your work and give you feedback and encouragement.  Their answers are never canned.  Each coach listens to you and your situation and sends help just for you.

Your Power of Two coach is there to help with marriage problems and to be with you along the journey as you explore our resources and our uniques option for online marriage counseling.

Here are a few recent snipits.  Enjoy!

We are just so thankful & it’s been great to know from the beginning that anytime of the day or night I can just email my comments,questions to my coach.   I don’t know anywhere else where that wonderful service is available, because I don’t think it is available anywhere else!   We are just so fortunate to have the skills of all involved at PO2 to assist us all in our quest for good communication in our marriages resulting in a closer relationship with out spouse.  — Jenny

And here’s how online marriage chat based coaching helped another member.

Thank you, Linda! I really like this program as it’s getting me to think about my approach to our relationship (and also allows me to see where I have been obstinate and reactive, which of course didn’t get me the desired result and just left both of us more upset.) and I am practicing my fledgling skills in our limited contact with one another. So far we are 2 for two (from my end, at least) in our interactions this week, so I take that as a good thing. 🙂 I’ll keep working through these modules. Thank you again for being there and being so supportive. I really appreciate it.  — K.O.

Online marriage chat based counseling gets you the right information with a real human to help you make changes for the better!

I just listened to the podcast that you attached and appreciate that you sent me something right on target for where I am up to now. It was a great reminder of how things could work better and I’ll try. Getting this message from you makes the site so interactive and I really love the personal guidance.

Thanks,

Sara

Happy couples at Power of Two a result of online marriage chat based coaching

Relationship apps. A new way to connect with your love or just another distraction?

In researching this post I asked my husband to sign up for a few relationship apps to try out with me. Full disclosure it took him 2 weeks to actually sign up. He is a very willing participant and it still took him 2 weeks to actually sign up, so don’t be discouraged if your partner isn’t quick to get on board.  We did eventually have a chance to do them together, though I had fun checking them out on my own in the meantime! 64% of American adults own a smartphone. It’s no wonder that there is an “app” for just about anything and everything under the sun these days.  If you can lose weight, practice mediation, track your exercise and sleep patterns, learn a language or buy just about anything why not find an app that offers a new way to connect with your partner. Relationship apps can be fun and inspire ideas to kick start a date night, stay close when you are far away and much more.

While apps can make connecting with your partner easier in some ways, especially for folks who are already very active smartphone users, becoming too dependent on apps of this sort can backfire. Part of what humans look for in relationships is real connection, physical, emotional and spiritual.  While technology can make some things easier it will never be better than the old fashioned way of connecting. Beware of the pitfalls of technoference and remember like most anything balance and moderation are key. Give the apps a try, just make sure you are staying focused on the real connection you have and have fun with it!

Here are a few relationship apps to try and see for yourself whether it’s a benefit or not…

Continue reading Relationship apps. A new way to connect with your love or just another distraction?

Dating Advice reviews Power of Two

Hello to all our dear readers.  In lieu of a post this week we wanted to share a review of Power of Two, sent over by the folks at Dating Advice. Hayley Matthews wrote a lovely article describing the online marriage education program and the specific value we bring to couples interested in alternative ways to strengthen their relationships through skill education.  We were particularly excited about the interest from a site that focuses on dating couples! We are thrilled at the opportunity to reach more folks at this stage in their relationship, after all it is never too early for relationship skill education!

You can read the full article here. Thank you Dating Advice for helping to spread the word about The Power of Two

Dating Advice review

Sesame Street debuts special program to help children of divorce

Although divorce levels have been high and rising for decades, it certainly seems like a milestone that beloved children’s program Sesame Street has finally tackled the issue of divorce and children. In a series of videos available online, character Abby Cadabby discusses her “big feelings” about her parents’ separation and receives support from Gordon and other cast members. Two other segments interview real kids–an 11 and 10-year-old–who are children of divorce.

“We’ve always had a social component where we try to address issues in kids’ lives,” Susan Scheiner of Sesame Workshop told TODAY.com. Divorce is one of the most common major life transitions children experience, with 40% of children living in a divorced household. It is impossible to address the major experiences of growing up without covering it, whether to help children through their parents divorce, or help them develop empathy for their peers. Continue reading Sesame Street debuts special program to help children of divorce

Review: Tokii offers relationship games on your smart phone

Tokii, a Canadian self-help gaming company, has just released two of their most popular relationship games for iOS and Android.  Since providing relationship help with fun online activities is close to Po2’s heart, I decided to check our what they have to offer!

At Tokii.com you are invited to “Touch base with Tokii: Get together. Get talking. Get intimate.” After signing up for a free account you can invite your significant other to join you in a “relationship.” From there you have tons of options to play relationship games, take quizes, read articles, and chat with other members in forums. The site keeps track of the activities you do with your spouse and offers insights about your relationship.

The phone apps are essentially pared down versions of two activities available on their website. The Mood Meter allows users to log their mood during the day, send it to their spouse, and even post it to Facebook or Twitter. The app keeps track of your mood entries and over time generates a “mood history” you can share and discuss with your partner.

The other featured app is “Sharing Games”. These are short quizes that allow you to share opinions and facts about yourself on different topics. As a disclaimer, I didn’t create an account and sign in to play the games. But they look quite interesting. Topics range from basic (“My social interests”) to political (“The Economy and Obama”) to the sociological (“Fairytales” which prompts you to “see how fairy tales have shaped the way you view relationships and male/female roles as an adult.”). Some of these relationship games are sure to promote deep thinking and communication in a relationship. Even the more basic questions may reveal things things you didn’t know your spouse.

Relationship games are now apps on smart phones
Relationship games can help you break up routines.

Tokii intends these games help jolt couples out of their habits of interaction, which I think is a great idea. Interjecting new ways of thinking and talking–specifically about new subjects–is essential to keeping marriages healthy. As I wrote in a previous post on how to put the spark back in your relationship, the longer you are with your spouse the more you tend to assume things about him rather than processing what he does or actually asking what he thinks. This is unfortunate because not only does it lead to misunderstandings and arguments, it glosses over the ways in which your partner may have grown and changed over the years.

Tokii’s relationship games app seems like a great resource, especially for younger couples who are used to communicating via text and sharing status updates. I imagine it could also be useful for keeping in touch with children, siblings and friends. If any of you try Tokii, let me know what you think!

Why is marriage so hard? Half of Brittons regret getting married.

Here’s a depressing number: In a survey of over 4,000 British couples, over 50% of married individuals said they had felt regret about getting married. Why is marriage so hard? Why are couples so unhappy??

Despite the attention grabbing headline of this article in the Daily Mail, the truth isn’t as bad as it sounds. Only 6% of couples interviewed said they spent most of the time feeling that they had made a mistake. The majority (26%) felt regret about their marriage only once or twice throughout their marriage; 19% felt this way “sometimes”. The top two regrets were the lack of independence and general boredom of married life. Lower on reasons for regret were believing they had married the wrong person, being attracted to someone else or not finding their spouse attractive anymore.

Here’s why I’m not too concerned about this finding: marriage is a big and very permanent decision–it’s natural to feel a bit uncertain about it once and while, especially when times are hard. Luckily, this doesn’t mean that %50 of Brittons are stuck in an unhappy marriage.

Despite the slightly misleading introduction, the article poses some good answers to the question everybody is asking: why is marriage so hard these days? The first two reasons for regret mentioned above may hold the key to the mystery.

Why is marriage so hard?
Why is marriage so hard? The eternal question

Lack of independence

In previous generations, marriage was part the natural progression of life, tied into an accepted social order and buyoued by strong religious faith. The fact that we even are asking the question “why is marriage so hard?” is a marker of how differently we see marriage these days. In the past, marriage and anything that came with it were natural and unquestioned–plus, it wasn’t a choice. People these days are more socially and financially mobile, and expected to make their own decisions about life. “We’re not accustomed to settling any more, in any area of our life,” says Rosie Freeman-Jones, who initiated the survey. ‘Take into account also that the majority of British people are not very religious, and have a heightened interest in constantly upgrading and improving their lives, and it’s easy to see why people regret tying themselves down.”

It’s also easy to see why, when totally in charge of your own fate, you may regret your decisions: you can never know if it is the right decision. Questioning or uncertainty is not as much of a problem when religion and cultural expectations guide your choices.

Boredom

Why is marriage so hard? A more revealing question is “Why do we think marriage shouldn’t be hard?” Marriage is an analog institution in a digital age. It requires patience, time, and careful nurturing. It’s fallible and difficult. This doesn’t mesh well with a society that expects constant change, instant gratification, and perfection and considers our personal happiness and fulfilment as–if not more–important than societal and community concerns.

Many people have disregarded marriage as obsolete for this very reason. I believe this is exactly why it is relevant. Marriage provides a beautiful counterbalance to our constantly moving, hectic and self-obsessed lives. It reminds us to slow down, invest, and care about something outside ourselves. So why is marriage so hard? Because the best things in life require you to fight for them.

 

Best articles of the week: Help for an unhappy marriage

Unexpected conflicts, anger, illness and change…some marriages have a lot to deal with. This week I’m featuring the best articles I’ve read recently on overcoming various causes of an unhappy marriage. We’ve got everything from new studies on emotion regulation to a blog dedicated to helping spouses with chronic illness. I hope you find the articles as interesting as I did!

Did Scientology Destroy Tom and Katie’s Marriage? via the Daily Beast

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/06/30/did-scientology-destroy-tom-cruise-and-katie-holmes-marriage.html

The biggest news of the past week has to be the Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes divorce. Gossip abounds about their unhappy marriage and Scientology’s potential role in their break up. This article from the Daily Beast is the most well-written one I’ve read about the split. It poses lots of interesting questions and delves into important issues. The conclusion: this is one marriage with very valid reasons for divorce.

Showing Fake Love Leads to Real Romance, via Jagran Post

http://post.jagran.com/showing-fake-love-leads-to-real-romance-1341490914

Not that you should fake emotions, especially during an unhappy marriage. At the same time, we fall into patterns of being out of love that involve body language cues like eye rolling or turning away when we speak to our spouses. These reinforce our negative feelings about our partner. This British study shows that you can put the spark back in your relationship by using the body first and the mind will follow. Take the effort to make loving gestures, even if you don’t geel all the way there yet, can help you redirect the negative emotions into positive and eventually loving ones.

Self-Distancing May Help Deal with Anger, via Counsel & Heal

http://www.counselheal.com/articles/2143/20120702/self-distancing-help-deal-anger.htm

Anger and negativity is the cause of many an unhappy marriage. Counsel and Heal provides advice from two new studies on regulating emotion with self-distancing. Self-distancing is the practice of removing yourself mentally from the emotional situation–imagining it objectively as if it were happening to someone else. “The self-distancing approach helped people regulate their angry feelings and also reduced their aggressive thoughts,” say the researchers of one study.

Warning: Your Spouse Has Changed! via Alisa Bowman

http://www.projecthappilyeverafter.com/2012/07/warning-your-spouse-has-changed/

Alisa offers a thoughtful and smart response to a reader who laments “My wife is just not the person I married 14 years ago.” Life is change. You will change, your spouse will change, your world will change–and it won’t change back. “Forget about who your spouse used to be,” Alisa writes. “Think about who you need your spouse to become. Then think about how you might change to enable that spouse to follow your lead.” A great, philosophical read.

Beyond the Fairy Tale, via Chronic Marriage

http://chronicmarriage.com/uncategorized/beyond-fairy-tale/

Helena Madsen runs the Chronic Marriage blog to provide support and advice to marriages where a spouse is dealing with a chronic illness. In this introductory post she outlines the qualities of maturity couples need to survive and thrive in a chronic disease situation. I look forward to reading more from Helena!

 

Help for an unhappy marriage is out there
You can change an unhappy marriage–don’t be afraid to get help

Pair social app lets you network with your spouse

Are you one of those couples who flood each others Facebook times lines with posts? Studies have shown that reaching out to your partner in small ways throughout the day can foster intimacy and positivity. At the same time, the rest of your social network might not appreciate being subjected to your lovey-dovey messages.

Well now, there’s an app for that!

Launched for iOs in March, Pair allows couples to share messages, play games, and send “thumb kisses” (each phone vibrates when you hold your finger on the screen at the same time). The app has just been released for Android, so now your love need not be diminished by the divide of interfaces.

Oleg Kostour, the founder of Pair, designed the app to communicate with his long-distance girlfriend when he moved from Canada to Mountain View, CA. Pair seems a great way to stay connected when you are apart from your spouse, whether it’s for weeks or just a few hours. It also keeps your communications private so feel free to send those saucy messages suggesting what you’ll do once you’re reunited!

The app also allows couples to maintain a joint to-do list. These could be chores, or life accomplishments…or even marriage goals. Power of Two has a text message series that members can sign up for that sends out daily notes of marriage inspiration for a period for a few weeks. Even better would be to put the initiative in your hands. What about integrating PO2 with a mobile app like Pair? You could maintain your list marriage goals, send each other high-fives when you appreciate something your spouse does, and communicate about your mood.

Nothing replaces face-to-face communication in relationships. At the same time, most of us spend significant parts of our day separated. As much as technology has the power to alienate us from the real world, it can also be a powerful tool for developing relationships. Props to Pair for paving the way.

But it’s still probably not a good idea to sext naked pictures of yourself… 🙂

Top 5 marriage stories of the week: Parenting tips

Last week it seemed like everyone was blogging about parenting tips! This review features articles on everything from cooking with kids to being a better kid-in-law to your in-laws. Here are my five favorite articles from across the marriage and family blogosphere!

How to be a better in-law

Via Good Therapy (http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/mother-father-in-law-0504126/)

When you get married, you not only get a spouse but a whole new set of parents. Many a proverb has harped on the difficulty of dealing with in-laws. Here is some practical and do-able advice for treating your in-laws with respect, resolving differences, and being a good in-law yourself. For more on this, check out Dr. Heitler’s PO2 podcast about dealing with relatives.

Shawn Stockman Of Boyz II Men And Wife Sharonda Discuss Having A Son With Autism

Via Black and Married With Kids (http://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/2012/05/shawn-stockman-of-boyz-ii-men-and-wife-sharonda-discuss-having-a-son-with-autism/)

Shawn Stockman and Sharonda have a frank and open dialog about the challenges they face in parenting their youngest son. While autism is increasingly visible in the media (and increasingly diagnosed in our children), talking about mental disorders is still a taboo–especially when admitting how difficult they can be to deal with. Props to the celebrity couple for being a public voice for families with autism!

 

Cooking with your kids teaches more than recipes

via Jenny Ellis on the Family Focus Blog (http://familyfocusblog.com/cooking-with-your-kids-teaches-more-than-recipes/)

Preparing food and eating together is a chance to bond with your children and teach them the ways of the world. The kitchen is a microcosm of life. Jenny Ellis shares parenting tips and explains how cooking together provides kids with lessons in safety, math, following directions, and a healthy appreciation for food.

Wisdom of Dog #4

Via Project Happily Ever After (http://www.projecthappilyeverafter.com/2012/05/wisdom-of-dog-4/)
Ok, so this isn’t directly parenting tips, but lord we all know raising a puppy and raising kids aren’t too different. Alisa Bowman at Project Happily Ever After has a series of pictures of dogs with captions that start out funny and turn philosophical. This one muses on the dual nature of reality. Like the puppy, our children invent toys out of things that weren’t meant to be toys, and destroy things in the process. At the same time, their ability to see things creatively and differently from the norm is a good lesson in life for us parents.

Why So Many Studies About Parents And Happiness Are Wrong

via Lisa Belkin on Huffington post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-belkin/parenting-and-happiness_b_1497687.html)

There have been a barrage of conflicting studies published this month about whether or not parents are more miserable than non-parents. Lisa Belkin finally puts her foot down in the well argued and insightful essay. Her conclusion: “Does being a parent make you less happy? Some days. And on others it makes you delirious with joy.”

Bully: a brave new film

Bullying is a very real, life-changing and potentially life-threatening experience that millions of kids go through every year. It has received more attention in recent years do to what seems like an epidemic of young children ending their lives because of it. I remember first feeling the outrage in 2009 when I heard that an 11 year old hung himself after enduring constant anti-gay bulling. Yes, an 11 year old.

Why are certain kids bullied? Because they are socially awkward, or (perceived to be) gay, or have an accent, or are smaller than others or have a learning disability. Sometimes it seems for no reason at all. Once a kid begins being bullied, he immediately falls into a ruthless pattern of repeated abuse. He becomes the pariah.

How do we communicate to our children–both the bullies, the victims, and the bystanders–that this behavior is wrong? Also important, how do we communicate to adults that it is unacceptable to turn a blind eye and that action must be taken? I believe it will be very difficult to cultivate a just, civil society if we teach our children that violence is an acceptable form of expression towards those we dislike, that turning a blind eye to injustice is expected, and that society will provide no help for its victims. Additionally, the idea that it is natural to be dominated and to dominate others will interfere with their ability to form healthy relationships as adults. “Bullying” of one’s spouse is a type of marriage problem that is very serious and devastatingly common–in some cases we call is abuse. It should not be tolerated in children or adults.

There is an amazing new documentary coming out March 30th titled “Bully.” This film has the potential to reach both children and adults in a profound way. School administrators are considering screening it in middle and high schools across the country, and you can watch the trailer below. Recently, the film has hit a major road bump: the MPAA has given it an R rating. This means that no children under 17 can see it without a parent and it will not be allowed to be shown at schools. As far as I can tell, the movie was just one vote short of being approved as PG-13, and the objection was rough language used by some of the bullies. The producers appealed the decision and it was denied again.

Katy Butler is a high school student from Wisconson who has started an online petition to get the MPAA to downgrade the rating to PG-13. She herself is a victim of bullying. As Katy puts it, the MPAA’s decision “means that a film documenting the abuse that millions of kids experience through bullying won’t be seen by the audience that needs to see it the most.” As of this post, the petition had 115,604 signatures.

Watch the trailer, decide for yourself, and let me know what you think! How do you approach the topic of bullying with your child? Were you bullied or a bully in school?