The Mission of PAIRS is to teach those attitudes, emotional understandings and behaviors that nurture and sustain healthy relationships and to make this knowledge broadly available on behalf of a safer, saner, more loving world.
Discover practical, proven skills to deepen intimacy, emotional connection and bonding.
Geared towards committed, engaged or married same sex couples, PAIRS for Love, for Life classes deliver helpful, evidence-based skills for improving communication, resolving differences, and ensuring life partners have the best chance of remaining an ongoing source of pleasure in each other's lives.
Although many same sex couples have participated in PAIRS classes over the past 30 years, PAIRS for Love, for Life was launched specifically to offer gay and lesbian couples who are increasingly able to marry the best opportunity to keep the flames of love burning bright over the course of a lifetime.
Participation in the PAIRS for Love, for Life class meets the requirements of Florida's Marriage Preparation and Preservation Act, including providing a discount and expedited issuance of marriage licenses in Miami-Dade, Broward and many other counties throughout the state.
While the issue of marriage equality remains debated throughout much of the United States, understanding the evolution of the very basis of marriage over the past century offers meaningful perspective on what many consider a significant social and cultural change.
Greater women's rights, beginning with winning the right to vote in 1920 and evolving in the years after World War II into increased opportunities to pursue education, careers and equal pay, meant women - often for the first time in generations - were increasingly able to leave unhappy, unfulfilling or abusive marriages.
As women's rights and freedoms became more secure, the very foundation of marriage shifted from its historic role of providing for "security, stability and raising children" to meeting each other's needs for "love and intimacy." American women born from the sixties to the present increasingly wanted to be married to a best friend in whom they could confide, connect emotionally and physically, and pursue shared values and interests.
It's not surprising that the significant shift in the basis of marriage led to skyrocketing rates of divorce, as there was little training to prepare couples with the knowledge and skills that are vital to sustaining relationships based on love and intimacy.
It's also not surprising that increased recognition that the basis of marriage had fundamentally changed in much of the western world led many same sex couples to actively pursue marriage equality with broad support throughout the country. While states await definitive guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court, appeals courts have ruled that the right of same sex couples to wed is not given by voters or elected officials, but granted and protected by the U.S. Constitution.
These rulings together with individual state recognition of same sex marriage has led more than 250,000 couples to wed in the United States.
With same sex marriages approaching one percent of all American marriages and increasing annually, new tests emerge for proponents of marriage equality, particularly the challenge of sustaining marriages that begin with falling in love (that's the easy part), but are sustained and nurtured by commitment and practical skills to navigate the very normal challenges that face nearly all long-term love relationships.
Research over the past several decades has provided insight into the attitudes and skills that are most important to sustaining happy, healthy love relationships. As a society and individually, we know all too well the price many couples, families and children pay for couples with the best of intentions building marriages through a trial and error approach.
The consequences can be, and often are, multi-generational.
PAIRS for Love, for Life classes give engaged, committed and married same sex couples tools for greater relationship resiliency and opportunities to remain a pleasure in each other's lives so that "can do," and "we do," also includes a "will do" that stands the test of time.
[Click here for schedule of upcoming PAIRS for Love, for Life classes in South Florida.]
In the words of PAIRS graduates ...
"My husband and I have been searching for tools to enable us to navigate through our problems ... the distance between us has grown to the point we don’t communicate. I have considered separation in our failure to resolve past trauma in our relationship ... Despite my intention to maintain my emotional distance with my husband, I experienced a profound change. I observed my partner demonstrate positive behavior change, move outside his comfort zone, and become vulnerable. I began feeling a sense of connectedness and my wall came down. I began to experience a sense of intimacy I longed for. My husband and I gained the tools we needed to save our marriage and begin to heal. We appreciate the chance to engage – we’ve committed to fight for our marriage – together as a unit – to claim our emotional and physical intimacy. I am deeply appreciative and words are not enough to express my sincere gratitude."
"I am writing this to thank you for giving my wife and me the opportunity to attend this couples retreat. Prior to attending, we were having very significant marital difficulties; almost to the point of separating. By utilizing the tools we have learned over the past few days, we now are much more hopeful."
"I learned more this weekend on how to effectively communicate in my relationship than I have in 12 marriage counseling sessions. 75% of what I learned this weekend is very critical to my marriage."
"This weekend has meant more to me than any other weekend alone with my partner. I have learned so much about my partner and his feelings getting the chance to discuss numerous topics that throughout our entire relationship we never understood about one another. The materials and information given has brought us much closer than I expected. I would tell more partners to join for a life changing experience. I recommend this program to anybody reading my letter of appreciation."
"It was an amazing experience to me. We were having a lot of problems in our relationship and when my fiancé heard about this retreat for couples we put our names in the list and I feel so grateful and happy for being here ... Thank you for giving to my life a new beginning. Now I feel more secure and aware on how to communicate my feelings with my partner, it really makes a big difference to my life ... it is something that I am going to share with everybody around me. God bless your hearts and lives for letting us be part of something so beautiful. Thank you very much,"
"This weekend has helped give me the tools to achieve my goal of spending the rest of my life with my spouse. It has also given me the tools to try to help my wife with her depression ... This is a wonderful program. Thank you!"
"This weekend has been very meaningful to me personally (individual) and as a couple. I have learned skills that will help me communicate better with my husband. Since I deal with depression, being able to use these techniques for a more favorable outcome decreases my anxiety when I have to raise a touchy issue. We have both learned and have been able to talk about issues that had previously been avoided because we felt safe in handling it. I also feel I will be a better parent because I can now teach my kids a better way of handling conflict and their emotions."
"This weekend has been ground breaking ... . There are issues we have been dealing with for 19 years. We have found a closeness we haven’t had in years – just from being at this retreat. It really does help. "
"I have been through several/marriage seminars in the faith-based community but this PAIRS weekend has been great. My wife and I were as far apart as any couple on the edge of divorce could be but this weekend has been a game changer. I learned several tools to help my marriage grow and thrive. We got past some rough situations.... Thank you and may God bless."
"This course was such a blessing. Prior to this course, my husband and I were on a path to self destruction and taking our 3 children with us. This course allowed us to create a safe way to talk about our issues. I know it will take a lot of continuing effort on our part, but this course provided my husband and I tools to begin the journey. I would recommend this course to any couple, regardless of whether they are going through rough times or not. This course was life changing. Thank you so much for this opportunity."
"The PAIRS retreat was a life changing experience for my spouse and me. When we arrived at the retreat we felt slightly emotionally depleted with one another, and running on fumes. During the weekend through the help of the exercises that the PAIRS Foundation presenters taught us, we were able to peel off and release the bad clogs that have been causing problems in our marriage. The exercises were effective, and my spouse and I are leaving here feeling rejuvenated and strong, also ready to take on any new challenges or disagreements that my come our way by using the effective approach skills that we were taught to get to a positive and mutual solution."
"I will admit that when my husband made me aware of the existence of this retreat, it brought tears to my eyes to know that your group understands the need for this ... it allowed us to take advantage of this opportunity without any hesitation. Thank you. Thank you for the wonderful lessons and tools that you provided for my husband and I; thank you for making it easy for us to allow ourselves to take advantage of this; thank you for caring. This retreat has been a true gift to our marriage, a gift that will result in a stronger relationship not only for our marriage, but all of our family. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you."