Chapter 1 - Love, Romance and Reality

Who taught you love?

Where did you get your ideas and beliefs about love? Your parents
have probably been the most important influence on your opinions
and behaviour.

If they had a happy and stable relationship, you've probably
inherited reliable information (and, statistically, a better chance at
a happy marriage).

But one popular educator likes to ask audiences, 'How many of you
would get married if you knew you'd be as happy as your parents?'
Out of an audience of 400, usually only a dozen people put up their
hands. Many of us need to learn skills and attitudes our parents
can't teach us.

The media is probably the second-biggest influence on your thinking.
Movies and sit-coms explore every possible relationship situation,
and, while we laugh them off, they influence our attitudes in subtle
ways. But how expert are their writers about psychology? The
Hollywood area has the world's highest income levels but also the
highest divorce rate – 78% of first marriages fail.

Many stars are so 'good' at relationships that they marry four or five
times, plus affairs! And yet Hollywood claims to be the dream factory,
exporting its failed ideas about love to the world.

Although this course explores marriage relationships, its principles
are also relevant to other relationship situations.

It does not specifically address arranged marriages, polygamy, de
facto relationships or same-sex relationships, but all relationships
have major common aims – having fun, belonging, surviving hard
times, communicating, resolving conflict and growing closer.

We hope that as you read and respond to this series, you will learn
something about yourself, the people close to you, and how you can
interact together to achieve lasting and fulfilling relationships.