what? trouble in paradise?

<img src=”http://i120.photobucket.com/albums/o174/mothergoosemouse/ParentBloggersNetwork.jpg” alt=”Parent Pshaw. You can’t possibly be serious! Why would I contemplate a marriage advice service when Mr.Q & I have been married over 10 years with no loss of life or limb and no suitcases on the curb?

But, hey, maybe there’s stuff I don’t know. I mean, there’s always stuff I don’t know. So, after I got over the initial snort of as-if, I started thinking that perhaps the Parent Bloggers weren’t so far out there to suggest eHarmony’s new marriage counselling alternative.

It was a good start: I answered a tonne of questions – many of which inspired a lot of thought in and of themselves, some of which seemed repetitive – and had Mr.Q answer his own set of them too. This exercise alone was rather enlightening, but I was interested in seeing what eHarmony made of it. And that didn’t take long. I began receiving emails right away and, to be honest, that kind of put me off. On the one hand, I do need the reminders. I just don’t appreciate them.

The initial results that I found waiting for me at eHarmony seemed a little skimpy and with lots of desperate-looking links provided to find out more by continuing onto the full program. And, now having been there, I would encourage anyone to take advantage of the free trial period for all their answers, if not paying for the program. Once I got passed the sign up, there was a clear, in depth and well organised review of both my and Mr.Q’s answers waiting for me [I can’t see Mr.Q’s answers, but I see his results].

And, you ask, what were the results? Why yes, we have our areas that need work – who knew? We’re both pretty wishy-washy people, not fond of absolutes and strayed little from the pre-assigned centre when adjusting the slider to answer how well or poor we felt about something. Sadly, Mr.Q’s slider was a little more conservative than mine and he came out as less content than I in most categories. But, I’m just such a damn happy-go-lucky person, after all… [uh, yeah…that’s it…] However, I think the interpretation of the results were quite accurate: once I got through the overviews and into some of the details, those areas that we were told we could improve on made sense. And those areas where Mr.Q and I are strongest also fit.

So, that prodded me rather to look at more. And there was a lot more to look at: feedback for both myself and Mr.Q, where we differ and suggestions for improvement for numerous specific areas, written clearly – perhaps coming off a bit canned – and all informative. Then there are exercises: there are videos which are surprisingly well done [only a teeny bit cheesy] and do provide even more food for thought and engage throughout. Once completing, exercises arrive by email for further opportunities to grow individually or as a couple.

I like:

  • that this doesn’t feel condescending. It’s all very real and comfortable. I was waiting, at every turn, for this to become trite or cheesy and, while some of the statements seemed a little prefabricated [as, duh, they are] it’s not annoying.
  • this was much more information than I was expecting to get back out of answering this one questionnaire and I was very pleasantly surprised by how much feedback was available and how many resources were offered.
  • the video component was a good way to go about offering the information and the over all marriage profile is a great overview of where we’re at [though the potential for improvement seems a little exaggerated]
  • the check marks to remind me what I’ve gone through. There is a lot of information to cover and I would definitely lose track.

I dislike:

  • all the emails! While I do need a kick in the ass sometimes, this almost got to the point of turning me off. And some of them did get a little trite and prone to over-generalizing.
  • I did have problems running one of the videos – incessant buffering and unsynched [you know what I mean] audio and video. Not sure if that was my bandwidth issues or theirs, but I didn’t make it through to the end of that video.
  • while I love the fact that there is so much information, there is a lot of information. I’m not through everything yet and it will take a while to get there properly.

The verdict:

  • even though neither Mr.Q nor I would have categorised our marriage as one that needs work, this gave us lots to consider – and that’s never a bad thing. It does require a level of commitment and the mind set to do this work on your own [hence all the emails, I suppose] but it is well worth the effort. And it’s an effort I’ll be making.

Need to know more about the program? It will be the topic of discussion on Motherhood Uncensored’s blog talk radio show on June 13, complete with the creators of the program. Have a listen and set aside a little time and thought for yourself and your partner.

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