Good marriages require good relationship skills. Happily, even the most seemingly relationship-challenged people can learn concrete skills that can change the quality of marriage. With everything that we now know about what's necessary to sustain a healthy marriage, there is no reason why anyone wanting a better relationship can't have one. It's never to late to create a happy marriage, all you have to do is decide to explore the idea of staying married instead of throwing in the towel. According to researchers at Mayo Clinic, "...marriage counseling can help you better cope with a troubled relationship - rather than trying to ignore it or hoping it gets better on its own."
The goal in my office is to spend less time worried about what's wrong and start thinking more about what's possible in your relationship.
Marriage should be about finding a new balance —not his way, not her way, but OUR way.”
The day you come into counseling, talking about what you own, what you contribute to your predicament, what you feel responsible for, therapy has started and your relationship begins to change. As long as you come in a as an expert about your partner, with what they are doing wrong, or what if only they, you will remain stuck.
You change your spouse by changing yourself! Stephen Convey in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" states it this way. "If we want to change a situation, we first have to change ourselves. And to change ourselves effectively, we first have to change our perspective. We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they should be. And our attitudes and behaviors grow out of those assumptions."
You must be the change you wish to see. It's YOU changing that will have the greatest impact on YOUR EXPERIENCE of your marriage and it's YOU changing that will be the single most important thing you can do to motivate your spouse to change. (Gandhi)
Homework is an important part of therapy. David Treadway, psychologist, states, “in fact, the implementation of homework is the single variable that predicates successful treatment in my couples therapy.”
Since I expect that couples will be working hard to build their competence and confidence in their relationship through the assignments at home, I don’t always schedule weekly sessions.
It is said that the root of many relationship problems is broken expectations, and if not dealt with, they mature into anger and bitterness. Life and others have a way of breaking those expectations. What then?
"All marital arguments can be boiled down to one very simple argument: Why can't you be more like me?" Mark Gungor
People want solutions to their relationship dilemmas. There are 3 steps to building a solutions-focused union
- Make sure you're on the same page and be willing to work as a team.
- Immediately stop what isn't working; typically the negative "patterns" couples dance to.
- Create a plan that focuses on solutions: replace problem-discussions with solution-discussions.
“I AM” Marriage
My marriage is composed of two unique individuals. I help make it what it is. It will be loving, if I am. It will be respectful, if I am. It will be friendly, if I am. It will be honest, if I am. We will have intimacy, if I am intimate. We will be kind, if I am. I will receive forgiveness, if I am forgiving. It will be generous, if I am a generous giver. It will be a committed relationship, if I am committed. Communication will be effective, if I am communicating effectively. To feel joy in our marriage, I am grateful. It will be a marriage of loyalty and love, compassion and mercy, patience and forgiving if I, who make it what it is, am filled with these same things.
Therefore, with the help of God, I now dedicate myself to the task of being all things that I want my marriage to be.
Becoming a more effective partner is the most efficient way to change a relationship. Marriage is not about two selfish parties wanting their own way. It's about a partnership of two people working together for their common good.
"And the bottom-line test of a relationship is in the answer to a fundamental question each is, in essence, asking the other: Are you really there for me? Do I really matter to you enough that you'll put me first when it really counts—before your job, before your friends, even before your family? Partners in troubled relationships feel that on some basic level the answer to these questions is "no," or at best "maybe." All couples fight, but the fights that really define a relationship are always about the same thing: whether the partners feel they have a safe, secure connection with the other." Susan Johnson
Do you want change or more of the same? Some believe going back to the way it used to be is the answer. The answer is never to go back. Imagine something new and better. Your future can be better than your past. Whatever the new place looks like, it will require change to get you there and the transitions will likely not be easy. But if you want a new future, you have to create a new history.
Women marry men hoping they will change. They don't.
Men marry women hoping they won't change. They do. (Bettin Arndt)
A journey of a thousand mile begins with one small step forward. Small changes lead to solution avalanches over time. Most marital problems are solvable. Change or more of the same? The choice is yours.
Understand that in communication:
- 7% is the WORDS used
- 38% is HOW the words are used and with what tone
- 55% is BODY LANGUAGE
We are never sure how we have communicated until others tell us what they have heard.
So if you are serious about fixing problems in your marriage and willing to put in the work, there is a great chance that marriage counseling will work for you.
Let me help you in this journey.
Research on Date Nights
13 Things Marriage Counselors Know About Your Relationship
When you change nothing, nothing will change.
Questions? Please contact me for further information.
if we strengthen marriage, we strengthen the family, we strengthen the children
and we strengthen the community.
If your goal is to help improve the world, marriage is as good a place to start as any.
I take you...to have and to hold, for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health...