Are you struggling in a
marriage or committed relationship? Are you separated and considering
getting back together again? Did you discover your wife was having
an affair and feel confused about what to do? Most people desire
a relationship that will last forever. You may have left (divorced)
one or more relationships in the past thinking it was the "wrong
person" for you, only to find yourself in another unhappy relationship.
You don't want to make the same mistakes over and over again. Many
couples often call for help after one or both have mentioned the
big "D" word, divorce, waiting far too long, and suffering
Remember: "Insanity is doing the same thing
and over again and expecting different results."
Rita Mae Brown
Research Proves Counseling does Help! With divorce
rates at 50% and higher in remarried couples, we face the most severe
challenges to relationship stability ever. Research shows that on
the average, couples wait six years from the first signs of a problem
before they seek help. In a recent study according to the Association
of Marriage and Family Therapists, after receiving treatment, almost
90/% of clients report an improvement in their emotional health,
and nearly two-thirds report an improvement in their overall physical
health. A majority of clients report an improvement in their functioning
at work, and over three-fourths of those receiving marital/couples
or family therapy report an improvement in the couple relationship.
Brief, dynamic, solution-focused
What is Couple or Marriage Counseling? Couple
counseling looks at both the extreme patterns of interaction between
the couple that create the problem that brings them in for counseling.
The therapist also looks at the environmental stressors
and the developmental stages in their life, such
as, children, jobs, family, retirement, deaths, financial, etc.
The Role of the Therapist? The therapist acts
as a compassionate and observing guide who collaborates with them
to identify the extreme parts inside each of them that create the
presenting problem(s). If the couple agree with the therapists'
observation, goals are set for each of them to work on their own
parts, not on each other's. For instance, a wife may be acting
like her husband's mother (telling him what to do), not like a wife
. . .and her husband may be re-acting like a little boy, not a husband
(temper tantrums, drinking, staying out late). Both
are reacting to the other. One does not cause the other.
The therapist creates safe space for the couple to risk
new ways of relating to each other, expressing feelings, thoughts
and behaviors and exploring new possibilities and solutions to their
problem. Counseling may involve a combination of individual sessions
to work on their individual issues, as well as couple sessions to
improve communication patterns and find solutions.
How Long Does It Take? Marriage Counseling is
usually brief (12-15 sessions), solution-focused, specific, with
attainable therapeutic goals, and designed with the "end in
What does a happy marriage look like? Our individual
dreams about our relationship and "what happiness looks like"
are often different. Some dreams are tangible, like wanting a career,
children, etc., others may be more intangible, like romance, love
consideration, trust. Still other dreams may be unrealistic because
times have changed, myths inherent in remarriage, use of marijuana
or alcohol, etc. Often, dreams evolve . . . what we dream of at
20 is not what we dream of at 30, 40 or 50.
When conflict escalates, couples may dig their heels in, often
in opposition to their partner's dream. They may even involve family,
friends, and even the children into their conflict. In an
unhappy marriage, partners will often try to manipulate the other
into giving up their dream, rather than supporting it. In a happy
marriage partners have learned to incorporate each other's individual
dreams into their marital goals/plans. This isn't an easy
task, none-the-less, it is a necessary one, if the relationship
is to succeed.
Sometimes, in emotionally or physically abusive relationships, we have to learn when to let go and grieve the relationship. Hopefully, you have tried several counselors and both individual and couple counseling, as well as support groups, such as, AA and Alanon. The worst thing to do is to use avoidance rather than confronting and discussing your feelings. If you can’t confront without the risk of physical or emotional abuse, separation may be the best decision. It often motivates the abuser to work on their issues. It is possible to still love your partner and not be able to live together. And don’t move back too soon because of their pleading.
Forgive yourself and be gentle with yourself, if you feel you have exhausted all means and things continue to worsen. Sometimes the harder we try, the worse things get. If your partner refuses to change, and you cannot accept them and love them the way they are, ask for a separation first while continuing to work on the relationship and on your own issues of co-dependency. Learn when to let go and when to move on. Marriage is not easy, it’s a difficult path and many fail (50%). Remarriage can be even more difficult if children are involved. Prior to any subsequent marriage or cohabitation, consider taking the PREPARE/ENRICH PROGRAM a highly valid and reliable couple evaluation tool discussed under the above heading Marital & Premarital Enrichment.
The 9 Types of Lovers, Daphne Rose Kingma
Love’s Journey: The Seasons and Stages of Relationship, Michael Gurian
Divorce Busting, A Revolutionary and Rapid Program for Staying
Together, Michelle Weiner-Davis
Getting all the Love You Want, Harville Hendrix
After the Affair, Janis Abrahms Spring, Ph.D.
Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay, Mira Kirshenbaum
The Verbally Abusive Relationship, How to recognize it and how to
respond to it, Patricia Evans.
Marriage Magazine 1-800-MARRIAGE (1-800-627-74254)
CALL NOW, DON'T WAIT TILL IT'S TOO LATE!
A Family Counselor Marriage and Family Counseling from GLORY JORDAN LCSW, DCSW, CHT Director and Licensed Clinical Social Worker Board Certified Diplomate