For Bob Mayer, PhD., marriage includes "the joy, the dance and the silence."
The excitement and joy of the beginning relationship is followed by the dance of the give and take of the marriage, and the beautiful silence and spiritual bonding over the years. Mayer and his wife, Jill married for 53 years, continue to be part of the joy, the dance and the silence.
Some college classes are part of the requirements for a degree. Other classes present information for living. Mayer will teach a course this fall that offers both -- Sociology 110 Marriage and the Family -- at Gila Community College here in Payson.
Mayer has degrees in nuclear and electro-analytical chemistry. He had informally listened to the concerns and problems of co-workers over the years and realized counseling was important work. After 45 years in the nuclear power industry, he decided counseling was the way he wanted to go. So, he obtained a master's degree in pastoral counseling and a doctorate in psychology. After retiring he became a life skills instructor in Benton Harbor, Mich.
Mayer will ask his students the questions, "Who am I? Whom have I chosen myself to become? Am I experiencing meaning?"
When Mayer teaches, it is not all a dry lecture. "I like to keep a light and humorous class," he said.
In his book, "Before Marriage, Before Divorce," Mayer states, "Marriage is the relationship in which there is the greatest opportunity for psychological growth and spiritual development during the lifetime of two mutually committed human beings."
From his years of experience in counseling, he looked at each person who complained about their marriage. He learned that the complainer needs to change. "When you begin to alter your behavior, the other person changes," Mayer said.
A plus for the people taking this class will be an opportunity to explore their own relationships. They may be seeking a potential life partner, a stronger marriage, or be heading for a divorce. What Mayer stresses is to examine the possibilities before taking any action.
"Courtship may be old fashioned," he said, "but it helps to have time to get to know someone." In a marriage there are many precious moments that can help one grow.
One of the questions he asks people to answer before marriage is, "Are you really compatible?"
Do the individuals have similar educations, enjoy the same activities, and have the same ideas about family values?
Mayer said, "Sometimes people are not able to get out of the programming from their childhood." As an example, he noted, "For some individuals who grow up in a single parent household the person may not have had a role model for the opposite sex. This can create conflict later in life."
In this class the students will have an opportunity to get the experience of others, and see different models of relationships. They will study life course themes, patterns of relationships, courting practices, and adjustment strategies for present and future living.
They will look at issues and problems associated with marriages and families. The class can be useful to people of any age or stage of their relationship.
SOC 110 Marriage and the Family will begin Aug. 18. To register go directly to the Gila Community College, Payson Campus at 201 North Mud Springs Road, or log on to www.gilaccc.org.