I, You and Us: Creating a Loving, Lasting Marriage

Shirley Goldsworthy


The service, setting, and surroundings for a wedding are planned with a lot of thought so that a couple’s very special day will hold happy and lasting memories. Whether in the atmosphere of a beautiful church or a romantic outdoor setting, the choice of a religious celebrant with a Christian marriage service provides particular meaning for couples when they make their marriage vows. This book focuses on the ‘how to’ of relating to help couples to keep their vows.

Whether couples choose to live together or not before marriage, or whether they are contemplating marriage or are already married, they will find this book helpful in identifying the strengths and the more fragile areas of their relationship. Its resources and practical skills will assist them to build on their strengths and strengthen their weaker areas.

There is no one particular way to build a satisfying relationship, as what works for one couple may not work for another. Each couple needs to find their own comfortable and creative way to relate.

This book is written for couples that are contemplating marriage, engaged, being remarried, renewing their marriage vows, or desiring to enrich their marriage.

It is designed to be a valuable resource for clergy and those who work with couples, individually or in a small group, to help them build a lasting relationship. The book would be a useful addition to the Focus and Prepare-Enrich marriage preparation programs, as it focuses on practical information, ideas and relationship skills. It is not intended for couples who are experiencing problems that require professional counselling.


Following her career in nursing, Shirley Goldsworthy graduated as a psychologist in 1982. She has gained extensive experience as a Counselling Psychologist in private practice. Shirley is a member of the Australian Psychological Society, her speciality being Relationship Counselling. For 25 years, with her husband, John, she has also conducted Marriage Education and Enrichment Workshops in Melbourne.

From Threshold Magazine, December 2009

The notion of educating people about marriage strikes a dissonant chord with some people. In a letter to the Melbourne Age a few years ago, a sceptic of education asked ‘Whatever happened to old fashioned love, the kind that would last through the years?’ Surely if couples were only more committed to each other, relationships would last.

While this sentiment may be valid, it overlooks the remarkable cultural changes of the past half century. As Norval Glenn notes, “marriage now tends to be highly hedonistic throughout the Western World and is becoming at least moderately so in many non-Western societies…

“Given America’s (and I would add, other western nations’) highly hedonistic orientation towards marriage, their motivation to marry and their commitment to the institution of marriage must be affected by their perception of how well marriage is serving the needs and desires of married persons.”

I was reminded of these changes and the challenges they present when reading Shirley Goldsworthy’s book I, You and Us, Creating a loving, lasting marriage. The view that love will conquer all reinforces two powerful social taboos. First, that marriage is entirely private and not to be shared with anyone else, except in the most general way, and secondly, that marriage is natural and we all know intimately how to do it. The rise of cohabitation has reinforced the notion of marriage as a private arrangement.

There is a need to focus as much discussion on marriage as there has been on divorce. Denis Ladbrook, Professor of Social Work at Perth’s Curtin University, observed: “Given the importance to human well-being of both occupations and relationships, it is somewhat incongruous that entry to them is treated so differently by our society:

“Much preparation and all sorts of protective regulations set the parameters on who can do what in the public domain of occupations, but little preparation and few safeguards are put in place for the private domain of personal and family relationships.”

Shirley Goldsworthy’s book, I, You and Us, is a recent endeavour to address these challenges. Drawing on 25 years experience as a psychologist, counsellor and educator, she has written a practical book for couples and educators.

‘I and You’ refers to the two people, the individuals in the relationship. “A third relational entity referred to throughout this book as ‘Us’ is created through the heart, mind and body connection that forms between the two of you” she writes.

In three sections – Intimate Love; Communication, Conflict and Anger; and Individual, Couple and Family Issues, Goldsworthy sets out much important relational information, practical skills and useful exercises for couples to undertake.

It is a book that couples could work through together or with the assistance of their marriage educator or celebrant. I, You and Us, is a worthy addition to the library of marriage educators and celebrants. It would also be a useful engagement present for pre-marrieds or for other couples contemplating marriage.

Kevin Andrews is a member of the Marriage Education Programme Inc. Melbourne
From ‘The Spirit’, December 2009

This is a beaut little book, locally written and produced. Full of good things. Very user-friendly. And an excellent price at $19.99.

I have taken about 150 weddings in my ministry, and tried various methods of preparing couples for their marriage, as well as their lovely wedding. I wish I had done some of the things, any of the things that I have used before I was married. I reckon it would have saved me about 5 years out of 40 to know what I know now, about ‘family of origin’ and creating the ‘us’ from the ‘I’ and ‘you’, conflict and communication, and, not least, how to make love in its fullest sense.

I have mostly used Prepare, but with that system the couple has nothing to take away in their hands, unless I provide follow up sheets, e.g. on how to handle conflict. Moreover, this is done independent of the preparation for the actual wedding liturgy.

Shirley Goldsworthy’s book covers everything covered by Prepare and more. It doesn’t have an embarrassing ‘religious’ overtone to it, though it is open about the Christian faith and the importance of a spiritual connection. And it constantly refers back to the actual wedding service and promises made, and to the scriptures. The wedding service (from APBA) and 1 Corinthians 13 are included in an appendix for constant reference.

I tell couples they are mad if they don’t do something to prepare for their marriage. That they will need to keep working on their marriage until the day they die. That they should not begrudge a few dollars and a few hours spent on the marriage rather than the wedding. But I reckon I am pushing my luck expecting them to do more than spend an hour filling in the Prepare questionnaire and then three hours with me to follow up and discuss their strengths and ‘growth areas’.

However, as I have been writing this review I realise am talking myself into trying I, You and Us. At $40 a couple (both partners need their own copy) it is excellent value, and something for a couple to take away with them and keep referring back to as they keep learning for the next 50 years. Shirley suggests