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Building Better Marriages
End generational habits
Are you following an unhealthy example?

Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
“I just don’t understand why she left me!” Joe, not his real name, sat in my office, shoulders slumped and with despair written all over his face — he was genuinely bewildered at why his marriage had suddenly collapsed.
Mothers deserve great thanks
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Regular viewers of The Big Bang Theory sympathise with the character of Howard who in his 30s still lives at home with his mother (who is only heard, never seen) and constantly contends with her unreasonable demands and put downs — it does not make for a happy relationship!
Mothers deserve great thanks
Are past generations crippling your family?
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
The true story is told of a family in which three successive generations of women passed down an unusual instruction for a pot roast that involved cutting off its sides before placing it into the pot.
Are past generations crippling your family?
To run from crisis is to lose
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World cinematically asks us, “What would you do if you knew for certain that the world was going to end?”
Where is God in the pain?
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Behind the Connecticut shooting tragedy that took the lives of 27 innocent people there lies an unspoken question that most of us have struggled with at some time or another — “If a God of love truly exists then why did He allow this to happen?”
Where is God in the pain?
Get that joy you’re missing
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
What do psychologists say is the most powerful human emotion that we can experience? Joy!
Get that joy you’re missing
Resolve arguments before it’s too late
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
In her memoir, The Liar’s Club, Mary Karr writes about her life growing up in a family with two alcoholic parents and the dysfunction that came with that. She also tells the story of her Aunt Annie and Uncle Lee who had an argument that they never resolved.
Resolve arguments before it’s too late
A higher love than Television portrayals
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
At the beginning of this year Channel 7 announced that they would be screening a new program which now goes by the name of GCB. The reason for the abbreviation in the title was due to public outcry at the original name of the show with many people believing that it was demeaning to women.
A higher love than Television portrayals
Families need a strong anchor
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
The aircraft carrier, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, affectionately known as “Ike” or “Mighty Ike” is the proud owner of not one, but two anchors. Anchors are important in families as well!
Families need a strong anchor
Communicating naturally and freely:
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Peak Communication [Level 5]
Communicating naturally and freely:
The treasure of understanding others emotions:
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Feelings and emotions [Level 4]
The treasure of understanding others emotions:
Genuine communication is vulnerable:
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Expressing ideas and judgements [Level 3]
Genuine communication is vulnerable:
Moving up communication levels: Reporting the facts (Level 2)
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Four ministers were on a fishing trip together when one of them decided that it would be a good idea if they each confessed to one another the temptation they struggled with the most. Because they knew each other well the confessions began.
Moving up communication levels: Reporting the facts (Level 2)
Getting beyond cliché conversation
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
All communication must begin somewhere and according to those who have studied the topic typical conversations between people commence at what they describe “Level 5” or “Cliché Conversation”. The following poem, When Fishermen Meet, is an excellent example of this level of communication:
Getting beyond cliché conversation
Love grows with deeper communication
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
A couple of years ago Jay Leno conducted an experiment on his late night program pitting Morse code against texting by mobile phone.
Love grows with deeper communication
How to have a good argument
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Rather than trying to win the argument, we should be aiming at listening to the other person’s point of view. How we listen to each other is an important skill that we can all learn, but it will take practice and a commitment from both people to genuinely try and understand each other better.
How to have a good argument
Counting blessings at Christmas
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
At the time of the writing of this article the Christmas decorations have hit our department stores reminding us that the silly season is just around the corner. I call it the silly season with good reason. Did you know:
Counting blessings at Christmas
APPRECIATING DIFFERENCES BRINGS MARRIAGES ALIVE!
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
“But I don’t want to walk down and look at quaint Italian streets” I overheard a woman say through gritted teeth, “I want to go shopping!”
APPRECIATING DIFFERENCES BRINGS MARRIAGES ALIVE!
Incompatible? Part 3
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
I cannot remember where I found the following quote (my apologies to the author!) but the suggestion being made, albeit humourously, is that it be used as an alternative to the vows couples take on their wedding day:
Incompatible? Part 3
Love grows with commitment
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
I was deeply inspired as I watched a TV documentary on marriage that interviewed a number of couples in Australia.
Love grows with commitment
How do I know this is forever?
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
How do I know that he/she is the one that I want to spend the rest of my life with? And if this is the one, how do I KNOW our relationship will last forever?
How do I know this is forever?
Incompatible?
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Part 2 — The trouble with different values
Incompatible?
Compatibility ?
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Have you ever noticed how often two people whose views, personalities, likes, dislikes and ways of approaching things end up married?
Compatibility ?
Mums deserve high honour
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
May is the month when we honour our Mums. What does it mean to be a modern Mum? What are the pressures they face? How well is the modern Mum faring? An article by the well known minister, Gordon Moyes, sensitively highlighted a number of pressures that today’s Mum faces. Quoting from a study by the University of NSW he pointed out:
Mums deserve high honour
Making it last
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
The media has been abuzz recently with stories about the impending marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton later this month!
Making it last
Why marriage matters
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Recently, a published letter in my local newspaper stated that our understanding about marriage was based on nothing more than the idea of a woman being the property of a man! Hardly an inspiring thought!
Why marriage matters
Resolving a Mexican standoff
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Back in the late nineteenth century, two Mexican noblemen were out for an afternoon ride in their horse and carriage. Unfortunately the two carriages, travelling in opposite directions, met halfway in a narrow back street. Both men refused to back up, each insisting that they were there first and had right of way.
Resolving a Mexican standoff
Why is Christmas happiness so fleeting?
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Sometimes the happiest of faces can really mask a deep inner sadness.
Why is Christmas happiness so fleeting?
If the rumours are to be believed…
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Gossip and slander destroys the reputations of people, divides organizations and ruins friendships … why then, do so many people engage in it?
If the rumours are to be believed…
Manipulation is a monster
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
One of the most dishonest forms of communication that a person can use in a relationship is manipulation and it takes many guises:
Manipulation is a monster
Remembering Father’s Day: What my Dad meant to me
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Though my dad died this past May, one of the things that I am thankful for is that on Father’s Day seven years ago I gave him a piece of prose that I called simply “My Dad”.
Remembering Father’s Day: What my Dad meant to me
Telling the whole truth
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Tony Abbott recently got himself into a lot of hot water when he declared in an interview that there was a difference between what he said “on the run” compared to those things he said that were carefully scripted and read out.
Telling the whole truth
At the heart of men and women
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
If you have not read John Eldredge’s book, Wild at Heart (published by Thomas Nelson, Inc.) , then you need to! Although written for men, ladies will gain immensely by reading it also.
At the heart of men and women
Honesty: the best policy?
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
I was recently asked by a lady going through a traumatic divorce about the subject of honesty.
Honesty: the best policy?
Character assessment: the public and the personal
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
As I write this article the world’s greatest golfer, Tiger Woods, has completed one of the worst rounds of golf in his stellar career.
Character assessment: the public and the personal
What’s your conflict style? Part 5: Care-frontation
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Some styles put people ahead of principles, others put principles first at all costs, and some styles try and steer a middle course between the two ...
What’s your conflict style? Part 5: Care-frontation
What’s your conflict style? Part 4: Compromise
Building Better Marriages by Rob Furlong
Mention the word compromise when you are seeking resolution to a conflict and most people will react as if you have sworn at them!
What’s your conflict style? Part 4: Compromise
What’s your conflict style? Part 3: Competitive
Building Better Marriages by Rob Furlong
Some readers out there will no doubt remember the famous comedy sketch called “The Argument”, where a man pays someone else to argue with him for five minutes.
What’s your conflict style? Part 3: Competitive
What’s your conflict style? Part 2: Compliance
Building Better Marriages by Rob Furlong
“If you want to make a good omelette, then you are going to have to break a few eggs!” This is a good description of the topic that I would like to talk with you about this month.
What’s your conflict style? Part 2: Compliance
Glorious nostalgia at Christmas!
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
In A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens tells the heartwarming story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a cruel and heartless man who is visited one wintry London Christmas Eve by the ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future. As a result of his encounters with these apparitions, Scrooge is given the opportunity to change his ways and become a more generous and compassionate person.
Glorious nostalgia at Christmas!
Jello relationships!
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Remember the movie “My Best Friend’s Wedding”? The key characters are Jules, Mike and Kim. Jules and Mike were once lovers but are now best friends and Mike calls Jules to announce his plans to marry Kim. Jules is horrified because she realises that she really does love Mike and sets about to undermine Mike’s relationship with Kim in a doomed effort to get Mike to marry her instead. One scene in the movie really got me thinking as I watched it again recently. Jules and Kim are at a r
Jello relationships!
What’s your conflict style? - Part 1: Avoidance
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Every one of us has a method for dealing with conflict and when we discover our preferred “style” it can help open up better ways of handling conflict in the future.
What’s your conflict style? - Part 1: Avoidance
A fresh start for fathers
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Over the years I have spoken to many men on a variety of issues that have plagued them throughout their lives. They genuinely want to be set free from the things that drag them down, but freedom seems to be nothing more than a nice promise that is put before them but is forever out of their reach.
A fresh start for fathers
Why are men and women so different?
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
A couple of weeks ago a friend sent me an extremely funny video clip about the differences between the brains of men and women. His presentation generalises these differences but it did get me reflecting on the fact that many relationships fall apart simply because the people involved tend to see the differences that exist between them as obstacles rather than as opportunities.
Why are men and women so different?
Avoid the top reason for marriage failure
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
It was rather sad to read recently about the collapse of the celebrity marriage of Aussie singer, Peter Andre. Andre and his wife Katie Price were married after falling in love on a reality TV show called “I’m a celebrity…get me out of here!”
Avoid the top reason for marriage failure
The lasting legacy of marriage
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
For mother’s day, our eldest daughter gave my wife Karen a beautiful photo album simply titled “For my Mother”. It consisted of pages of photos of our family and handwritten sections by our daughter recording her special memories about her Mum, the things she has learned from her and her own aspirations as a young mum.
The lasting legacy of marriage
Thank you, Mums!
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
May is the month we celebrate our Mums, honour them and thank them for all they mean to us and the impact they have made on our lives.
Thank you, Mums!
Repair the past with forgiveness
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Forgiveness frequently comes up in the news — whether it be another story about innocent people being killed in an overseas conflict or family members grappling with the devastating loss of a son or daughter in a car accident that was not their fault. Whatever the situation, at some point the people involved will face the issue of whether or not they will forgive the perpetrator of the crime.
Repair the past with forgiveness
Soap operas and romantic endings
Building Better Marriages by Rob Furlong
I can honestly say that I have never watched a single episode of Neighbours or it’s mutant offspring Home and Away so I recently went online (in the name of research) to see what I had been missing. To say I was utterly bewildered by the end of my search would be an understatement — I was totally confused!
Soap operas and romantic endings
Plan the ‘big picture’ this new year
Building Better Marriages by Rob Furlong
In the first week of 2009, my wife Karen and I had a planning meeting, but it was not as formal as you might think!
Plan the ‘big picture’ this new year
Making Christmas special
Building Better Marriages by Rob Furlong
From the time our children were young, we have faithfully kept an annual Christmas tradition in our household: setting up the Christmas tree on December the first! It has been an event that we have always looked forward to, even as our kids have grown into adulthood.
Making Christmas special
Men who make a difference
Building Better Marriages by Rob Furlong
Last month, I celebrated the arrival of my first grandchild (a boy)! When I first met the little guy I was quite surprised by the impact it made upon me. I love all of my children and was as happy as any proud father when they were born, but Landon’s birth has profoundly touched me.
Men who make a difference
Men: Missing In Action!
Building Better Marriages by Rob Furlong
Former Geelong footballer, Billy Brownless, has written a book! “Billy’s Book for Blokes” was released just over a month ago and distils the wisdom Billy has gleaned over the years as he attempts to advise “blokes” on how to be… a bloke!
Men: Missing In Action!
Fathers needed more than ever
Building Better Marriages by Rob Furlong
When you think of world champion sprinters, it is fairly safe to say that your mind will not automatically go to Derek Redmond. You are far more likely to think of Carl Lewis or Asafa Powell or Usain Bolt… but not Derek Redmond. And yet, Derek Redmond has a very special place in history.
Fathers needed more than ever
Creating true intimacy
Building Better Marriages by Rob Furlong
Mention the word intimacy and you will likely receive a number of definitions. Intimacy is knowledge gained about someone because you are close to them.
Creating true intimacy
Beyond the wedding day
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Did I tell you that my daughter Kate was married in May? Of course I did! And no father could have been more proud than I to walk her down the aisle!
Beyond the wedding day
Vows that last
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
This month Karen and I will celebrate our twenty-seventh wedding anniversary. As I look back over that time I realise what a remarkable journey it has been. Both aged 20 when we wed, after the first six months we had resigned our jobs, packed up our Datsun 180B and headed north to Queensland.
Vows that last
Why mothers aren’t mean
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
At this time of the year we like to honour and praise Mothers and as we reflect on that, it is hard to go past this classic satirical piece written by Bobbie Pingaro in 1967. It’s called “The Meanest Mother in the World.”
Why mothers aren’t mean
A sacrifice of love
Building Better Marriages by Rob Furlong
Have you heard the story of the young boy with a rare blood disease who required a blood transfusion to live?
A sacrifice of love
Losing hope?
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
What causes a person to lose hope? I think we lose hope when the circumstances we find ourselves in are so overwhelming that we cannot see any possible way in which they can be changed for the better.
Losing hope?
The undeniable advantage
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Study after study conclusively shows that the traditional, two parent family model has an undeniable advantage over other family models.
The undeniable advantage
Building Better Marriages
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
A lot of marriages fail simply because a husband and wife fail to appreciate each other. The following story reminds us of the power of appreciation.
Building Better Marriages
The undeniable advantage
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Christmas is a wonderful time for families — let’s reflect on that this Christmas.
The undeniable advantage
How do I know this is forever?
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
The question that I am always asked is “How do I know that he/she is the one that I want to spend the rest of my life with? And if this is the one, how do I know our relationship will last forever?”
How do I know this is forever?
Defend your vows
Building Better Marriages By Rob Furlong
Views of marriage in our society are many and varied and, generally, very negative. In the Song of Solomon in the Bible, a young bride makes a request of her lover; “In private, keep me near your heart; in public, own me on your arm!”
Defend your vows
Don’t give up!
Building Better Marriages by Rob Furlong
It’s tough being a man these days. For those of us who are serious about our marriages and families, there is currently available a never ending supply of books and seminars all designed to help us be better men.
Don’t give up!
“Only death will ever separate us.”
Building Better Marriages By Bill Ellis
Three weeks ago I turned to the “celebrations” pages in the local paper. Three married couples were celebrating wedding anniversaries. Jack and Barbara Burford were celebrating their 50th, it was 65 for Otis and Arlene Wells and 75 years for Gorman and Bessie Wise.
“Only death will ever separate us.”
Building Better Marriages
Building Better Marriages by Rob Furlong
Dr. Frederic Loomis was an obstetrician in California, USA. Many years ago, during the delivery of a young baby, Dr. Loomis was faced with a serious ethical problem. The baby to be delivered was in a breech position and although he faced this situation several times before, when it occurs there is always tension in the delivery room with such a difficult procedure.
Building Better Marriages
Men turning the tide
Building Better Marriages by Rob Furlong
Howard Stern, one time host of a talk back radio show in New York, gained immense popularity with his listeners because of his obsession with crudity and obscenity. Stern has gone down in history as the “shock jock” and over the years has had several run ins with media authorities as a result of his on-air behaviour. Despite all his money and fame, Stern made a revealing admission about himself in a magazine interview a few years ago:
Home Improvements
Building Better Marriages by Rob Furlong
The wife of an internationally renowned speaker was asked if she had ever thought of divorcing her husband. “Divorce?” she replied, “No!” “Murder ... often!”
Home Improvements
Home improvements
Building Better Marriages “I’ll knock your block off, Charlie Brown!” Lucy cried as she chased Charlie Brown down the street.”
 
 
 

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