Happy New Year – Why the world needs Love2Last!
Like so many of my friends and colleagues, I am currently engaged in reflecting on my previous year’s achievements and am busily creating plans for 2014. This year, I am looking at launching more coaching programmes; helping couples join their lives better; focusing on blended families and the wider ‘family’ issues; as well as introducing more strategies to strengthen relationships.
I believe 2014 will be my best year yet, even though it promises to be a very busy year that will stretch every inch of my courage and conviction. It will be very hard for me to top 2011 though, but I absolutely plan to do so. 2011 started with a magical trip to Egypt, followed by selling my home and three months later moving to Italy for 8 months. However, the best part of 2011 was the conception of Love2Last.
I wonder why we often seem to be glad to see the old year left behind and yet we don’t learn what went wrong and we stand eager again to start the new year like children waiting for the ice-cream van to arrive to dish out our favourite flavours!
This is just like many people when they have left one marriage and jump hook, line and sinker into a new one, without pausing to reflect on why the previous marriage did not meet up to their expectations and assess on what they can do better and differently this time.
Marriage (the living of two people as one) was created 5000+ years ago, mainly as a business transaction, the continuation of lineage or survival. Up until the late 19th century it was quite normal for at least one partner to pass away before their family was grown i.e. before they were 50.
Today, we are living many lives in one which is having a major impact on relationships. Who we are and what we want at 20 is very different to who we become at 50. There seems to be an epidemic ofwomen, in particular, leaving their long term relationship around 50 and starting a whole new life.
Western society is slowly moving away from the Hollywood picture of ‘happy families’ in recognising that we need to function differently and accepting that multi-family households are as much the norm as the two biological parent household is.
Even Hollywood has now cottoned on to this fact and is using the second marriage arena as a whole new source of material. Look at the hugely successful TV series Modern Family and the 2013 movie The Way Way Back. Whilst the list is getting longer (Your Mine Ours, Stepmom, One Fine Day, The Parent Trap) there is still plenty of room to provide much needed ‘education’ for couples and families.
The Therapy industry (psychologists, counselors, behavioural specialists, healers, etc.) has also started to recognise that second marriages and multi family households (blended families) bring very unique challenges. There are more and more specialists, websites and general help available to those who seek it.
One area that I do not see much focus though, is the area of preparation and prevention.
Do couples go to pre-marriage courses before their second wedding anymore (especially if they are not associated with a church)? Are there classes on how to bring families with children together in a caring manner that considers the individuals needs and personalities? What about dealing with the ex-spouse, family, etc.? How about combining finances in a way that appeals to both couples’ value systems?
This is why I formed Love2Last, to help couples prepare for their very different life and ask the hard questions BEFORE they become issues.
TQM (Total Quality Management) took the business world by storm in the 1990s; this was about preventing errors happening, rather than traditional quality control that appraised products or services after they had been delivered. It was also about understanding all the parties’ requirements in the delivery chain and not expecting less than 100%.
It seems to me that Love2Last is very much the TQM for relationships and families, to prevent issues before they erupt or become unmanageable, and even in some cases, averting a commitment that just should not happen.
So here’s to a great 2014 for all of us, and do consider what you personally can do in your own situation to prevent emotional and emotive areas of your life from remaining suppressed until they erupt like Vesuvius swamping Pompeii!
Author and experienced relationship coach, Gillian Andale is the owner of Love2Last, a coaching and resource centre dedicated to couples who have found love again, want a new beginning and aim to strengthen and grow their relationship as well as need help in blended family situations. Visit www.love2last.co to browse and see the wealth of information available.