I had the pleasure to attend the 2008 Smart marriages Conference in San Francisco last week. John Gray was great as usual. Gray talked about how Mars and Venus collide. Our relationship patterns were set in our prehistory. Our brains still function in the same way. But over the past several decades, women have joined men in more dangerous vocational pursuits. This is good for the advancement of women, but their brains and their brain chemistry did not change. Women deal with their to-do list at work and come for another to-do list. Women need help in being able to manage their new circumstance.
This was the first time I heard Gary Chapman of the Five Love Languages fame. He was very good. Chapman related how finding our primary love language and how our partner can feed that love language and vice versa will improve relationships. He also does a great imitation of a southern preacher.
This was also the first time I heard Sue Johnson. She was great. Her premise is based on the new research that shows it is not just babies that yearn to be held, but that need is with us all throughout our lives.
The theme of the conference was about the reluctance of 20 and 30 somethings to marry. They tend to hold myths about marriage that prevent them from making a commitment. It is our job to educate them that marriage is beneficial and that with marriage education, they can have life long marriages. This situation is a likely result of our high divorce rate.
The highlight of the conference for me was to be trained in leading PAIRS classes. PAIRS is the best marriage education program I have ever seen. There are many practical tools that are taught to couples to aid in their communication and in resolving couple conflict. I am certified in four PAIRS classes (there are others). I will lead the first one in September at Our Saviour.