Exhibiting at the Johannesburg Wedding Expo on 11 and 12 March 2017 gave the Bulletproof Marriage team the opportunity to share wisdom from the international best-seller Bulletproof Marriage: Your shield against divorce with the more than 8,000 visitors who attended the event at the Ticketpro Dome in Northgate.
Bulletproof Marriage has participated in the Wedding Expo since 2014, encouraging engaged couples to invest in the rest of their lives together, rather than hoping a fairy tale “happily ever after” life will magically follow their wedding day. The book explains why relationships fail, shares wisdom on how to love intelligently, provides tools to manage marriage successfully and offers practical advice on how to safeguard marriage and say no to divorce.
Written by counsellors Renato and Cristiane Cardoso, the book explains how to use intelligent love rather than emotional infatuation and approach marriage like a business, always seeking the best solution to ensure the success of the partnership. The book emphasises the reality that nobody can change another person. It is difficult enough to change oneself, but by identifying damaging behaviour which results in conflict, each person can work on changing their own actions and attitudes. This individual growth has positive spin offs, both for the growth of each person, and for the relationship.
Cristiane Cardoso explains in her regular facebook post: “I thought that if Renato would give me a little more attention everything would be fine. I was wrong. While I complained about Renato not paying attention to me, I was not giving myself the necessary attention. When I took the focus off Renato and placed it on myself, I started to get his attention. I stopped begging for his attention and invested in my talents and my potential. As a result, I became a much more interesting person. Renato noticed and responded by paying more attention to me which is what I had wanted.”
Bulletproof Marriage exhibits at the Wedding Expo
The book also dispels the myths of: “I married the wrong person”, “my marriage just did not work out” and “it turns out we are not soul mates”. These are expressions that exempt people from blame when a relationship fails and are positions that carry the same message: If things don’t work out, marriage is the problem, or the other person is to blame. In a marriage both partners need to take responsibility for the success or failure of the relationship. This takes work. The co-authors explain that the key to a happy and enduring marriage is not finding the right person, it is doing the right things.
One of the suggestions offered by Cristiane and Renato Cardoso is to make a list which they say changed their marriage. The list was divided into two: the first one listed all the negative things that they were not going to do anymore because they saddened or hurt each another; the second had the positive things that they were going to start doing for the other, things that would please and make the other person happy. They say: “This list helped us stop focusing on each other’s faults and start looking at ourselves and working on things we had to do to improve our relationship.”
Besides creating awareness of the book, Bulletproof Marriage: Your shield against divorce, the team offered free, non-judgmental, confidential relationship counselling at the Wedding Expo. Many couples benefited from the opportunity of chatting to married couples (pastors and their wives) whose marriages are successful and who have overcome challenges by using guidance from the book. Counsellors stressed the importance of communication, stressing that love is a decision, an action, not a feeling. Often women feel that they are not loved, while the reality is that the marriage would not have taken place had the couple not loved each other. Feeling unloved is an emotional reaction to a situation. Emphasising intelligent love, the co-authors say: “The heart is no good at love, it is an organ for pumping blood round the body, but the brain is excellent at making sensible decisions. If you are married, it means that your partner loves you, otherwise the relationship would not have resulted in a wedding. Just because you do not feel loved, does not mean that you are not loved, but each couple needs to work on the root causes of the feelings and take steps to resolve them.”
Wedding Expo visitors to the Bulletproof Marriage stand were given a booklet on the art of problem solving containing 12 steps to help couples identify issues and find solutions.
The purpose of participating in the Wedding Expo is to create awareness of the book so that couples know where to find help when they encounter the inevitable challenges of a marriage relationship. However, interest in the book exceeded expectations and almost all copies of the book and a DVD of the Love School event, hosted by the book’s authors in Johannesburg in 2014, were sold out.
Once again, the Bulletproof Marriage stand won an excellence award for design, clarity of message and professionalism.
At the Johannesburg expos, Bulletproof Marriage holds a competition where one lucky bride-to-be can win a wedding dress valued at R15,000. The winner in March is Dineo Ledwaba from Gauteng. Dineo will marry her fiancé Maneto Vincent Dala on 3 June 2017. The draw was done by the winner in August 2016, Humbulane Shimbambo and her husband Zuki Montso. Humbulane and Zuki were married on 18 February 2017.
Bulletproof Marriage will exhibit at the Wedding Expo in Cape Town on 10 and 11 June (at the CTICC) in Durban on 5 and 6 August (at the Durban Exhibition Centre) and in Johannesburg on 26 and 27 August (at the Ticketpro Dome). Relationship counselling will be available at all the Bulletproof Marriage stands.
For counselling, book sales or further information, please contact the Bulletproof Marriage team on 011 224 3413 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the Bulletproof Marriage website: www.bulletproofmarriage.org.
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