Prevention is emerging as an important model over a variety of disciplines, including medical care, dental care and mental health issues. Early cancer detection is a good example of the value of the preventative approach in reducing the mortality rates of cancer patients. Early screening helped to increase the five-year survival rate for breast cancer which is largely due to the acceptance and application of early detection techniques,
such as regular mammograms and educating women to perform monthly self-exams.
Until the 1950’s, there was very little awareness of the need for annual dental exams. Now it is accepted as a standard preventative practice embraced by our culture. In the field of mental health, various professional organisations have promoted Depression and Anxiety Screening knowing there are those individuals in the general public who need to access services, but will only get help if their issues are proactively identified.
Early detection, prevention, and education are also important in relational issues. The sooner couples can identify issues and learn ways to resolve them, the better their lives and the lives of children they bring into the relationship will be.
Unfortunately, most distressed married couples do not seek counselling until one or both are considering divorce. In fact, treating couples who wait too long to come for marital therapy is much like treating terminal cancer. The relationship has been so destroyed that it is very difficult to rebuild the marriage.
One research study (DiMaria, 2000) reported the surprising results that couples seeking a marriage education program called PAIRS were not “average” couples needing a little enrichment, but were mainly very distressed couples who were hoping the program would save their marriage.
One common myth people believe is things will stay the same and therefore, they do not see all of life as a process. Even at the cellular level, our bodies replace 1% of our cells each and every day, so theoretically we are made new each 100 days. At the level of personal experience within relationships, people often assume they need to do nothing and the relationship will continue to grow and improve. The problem with this mindset is it is not based on reality.
For many couples it becomes summed up in statements such as, “I didn’t realise he/she felt that way”, or “I feel as though we do not know each other anymore”. It is epitomised in the couple who “drifts apart”, or, after years of marriage and sometimes childrearing, feel as though they have lost the intimate bond they once had and are now just sharing living quarters. Whilst early detection is not the panacea, identifying issues and learning to resolve them before resentment and isolation is entrenched can and has been shown to save many relationships.
The Couple Checkup generates deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations restore insight and understanding about one another. The Couple Checkup can help to revive a relationship and increase intimacy.
The Couple Checkup is an online couple assessment based on the PREPARE/ENRICH couple inventories. The Checkup assessment and Checkup report are designed to go directly to couples at any stage of their relationship (dating, engaged or married). The online system allows for dynamic customization of the assessment to each couple based on how the couple answers background questions. The goal is for the Couple Checkup to reach a more diverse group of couples, to empower couples to deal with issues on their own and to emphasize prevention over remediation.