Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Prayer for Us by Raphaella included in a New Book by Susanne M. Alexander: All-in-One Marriage Prep: 75 Experts Share Tips & Wisdom to Help You Get Ready Now

Susanne M. Alexander is a Relationship and Marriage Coach, and President of Marriage Transformation, LLC, based in Cleveland, Ohio (marriagetransformation.com). Her newest book, All-in-One Marriage Prep: 75 Experts Share Tips and Wisdom to Help You Get Ready Now, is 430 pages of thought-provoking discourse offered by experts "passionate about creating excellent marriages."

In the chapter, Becoming Parents and Rearing Children, and in the essay, "Find and Discuss Your Hidden Parenting Beliefs" by Sandra Dye, couples are encouraged to uncover hidden parenting beliefs as a preparatory step to marriage. She offers a survey of parental thinking and beliefs for couples to use as self-discovery and then as a catalyst for determining the parenting style both are most comfortable with.Of course, couples are encouraged to continue examining and discussing parenting beliefs over time as "new life experiences and new stressors tend to open up your belief systems, making room for meaningful changes."

In the chapter, Growing in Love, and in the essay, "The Journey of Love and Marriage: Know the Stages and Set Your Priorities," Rita DeMaria, Ph.D. offers a wealth of information about the journey of relationship, not just the initial love stage. In her writing, she identifies seven stages she uses in her work with couples as a senior staff member and Director of Relationship Education at Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. She offers tips, recommendations, topics for consideration, and helpful practices such as encouraging couples to nurture romance between them through every stage of their building relationship.

In the chapter, Creating a Partnership, and in the essay, "Gender Equality in Marriage" Susanne M. Alexander coaches couples to consider new perspectives and choices when discussing what roles and responsibilities each will have in their future home. "It may take time for a man to accept that sharing housework does not diminish his masculinity," she writes, "and doing housework is not a 'favor' he is doing for his wife. A woman may also take time to understand that repairing an appliance does not make her less feminine, nor is it a 'favor' she is doing for her husband.You are both simply doing the acts of service that move your family forward."

In the chapter, Preparing As Individuals, and in the essay, "Creating an Intimate, Loving Relationship," Margaret Paul, Ph.D. writes about, "When we are loving to ourselves, we are loving to others" and "When we are loving to others, we are loving to ourselves." So true. One of my little magnetic creations, Loving you is blessing me, can help us all remember that.

I'm honored to have my song blessing, "A Prayer For Us," included in the final chapter of this important book. Written years ago as a relationship blessing, the song has been included in many marriage ceremonies. In the third-person form, "A Wedding Prayer," it was read by the father-of-the-bride at the wedding of Jimmy Carter's grandson in 2001. They found it as a framed artwork on the walls of my Heartful Art Gallery in Sausalito, California. For permission to include it in your ceremony, contact Raphaella at 941-993-7001 or by e-mail at raphaella@heartfulart.com. In Heartful Art's online store, it's available for purchase in either form, A Prayer For Us, and A Wedding Prayer. As a mailable poster in three sizes (5x7, 8-1/2x11, and 11x14) or as framed art for the wall (8x8 and 8x10), it's a nice engagement or wedding gift to accompany Susanne M. Alexander's book, All-in-One Marriage Prep: 75 Experts Share Tips and Wisdom to Help You Get Ready Now.

Another of my blessings (again, in two versions) that makes for a treasured wedding gift for your family or each other is, "It's who you are that I love" and "It's who you are that we love." Originally written as a baby blessing, people started buying it for their older children and then for each other, thus the many versions. I dubbed it the "Parent's Blessing for Grown-Up Kids" because I believe it's what we all want to hear from our parents no matter how old we are. And, as a spouse-to-spouse and partner-to-partner blessing, it affirms unconditional support and loving for each other.

I hope you'll buy and give this important book to couples considering marriage. Although, as Susanne herself states in the chapter, Appreciating Diversity, "The selections do not even come close to covering the full range of diversity and religious or cultural complexity in the world," the book is packed with valuable tips and advice for individuals and couples to apply to their own situation. When I was privileged to be in the room with the Dali Lama one afternoon in Minneapolis, the question was asked of him, "Why are there so many religions?" His answer, as I recall, was simply, "Because there are so many people. One religion could not possibly fit every person." So too, the prospect of creating a lasting and fulfilling relationship that produces a marriage worth having must be tailor fit to each situation. Each couple can use the wisdom of the experts in this book to contemplate, discuss, and build on, and create the marriage of their dreams.

Susanne M. Alexander is the author or co-author of All-in-One Marriage Prep: 75 Experts Share Tips and Wisdom To Help You Get Ready Now; Can We Dance? Learning the Steps for a Fulfilling Relationship; Marriage Can Be Forever—Preparation Counts!; Pure Gold: Encouraging Character Qualities in Marriage; Happy at Home, Happy at Work; and A Perfectly Funny Marriage cartoon book. She has conducted workshops for individuals and couples in the United States, Canada, and China. You may contact her at 800-501-6682 or Susanne@marriagetransformation.com.

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