Does Your Marriage Need a Make Over?
Do you wish that you and your spouse knew how to work together as a team?
Have you both stopped talking to each other about anything except the kids?
Are you no longer feeling loved by your spouse?
For many couples, marriage seems to mark the beginning of new problems in their relationship. Tying the knot often brings with it many stressors which can prompt couples to seek marriage counseling. You may struggle to feel connected to one another the way you did in the beginning. Perhaps you can’t seem to talk without arguing. Or you may feel that your relationship has been reduced to a series of routines that leave you feeling isolated and lonely. Perhaps you’re feeling frustrated that the two of you are suffering from a backlog of unresolved hurt and resentment that you just haven’t been able to fix or even talk about.
Most Couples Face Ups and Downs Throughout Their Marriage
Almost every married couple deals with difficulties in their relationship at some point. Although life stressors like dishes, soccer practice and taxes can put massive demands on a couple’s relationship, the frustrations you feel about your marriage are usually caused by much more fundamental issues that aren’t so obvious. Your ability to resolve conflict, be sensitive to one another and create positive moments together are behaviors that every couple needs in order to cope with the inevitable onslaught of life. Yet, so few of us were given the tools to do this. It’s no wonder that a recent study revealed that as few as 17% of married people report being happy with their spouse.
Fortunately, a skilled marriage counselor can help you create joy and fulfillment in your relationship, making your marriage a great place for both of you.
Marriage Counseling Can Breathe New Life into Your Marriage
The kind of couples therapy I practice is called PACT (a Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy). This method is grounded in the latest science about human bonding and the brain, providing a leading-edge understanding of what makes relationships work. It gets underneath the surface layer of your problems with your spouse so you can solve the core problems and build a lasting and rewarding marriage. Because PACT gets to the heart of the matter quickly, couples typically see results in much less time than ordinary couples therapy.
The first step in therapy is for me to gain a thorough understanding of each of your perspectives on your relationship challenges. It’s critical that you feel that your voice is being heard. At the first session, we will also explore your personal attachment styles. Science tells us that each of us forms an attachment style, or “relationship blueprint” in our earliest relationships with our parents. We carry this blueprint with us into our adult intimate relationships. If our blueprint is insecure in terms of the way it functions, it will create problems for us in our marriage until that blueprint has been resolved.
Part of marriage counseling involves helping each of you understand these blueprints—both yours and your spouse’s— so that you know what you are bringing to your relationship from your family of origin and how this is getting you into trouble as a couple now. By the end of the first session, we will have a very clear treatment plan of exactly how the therapy is going to help you moving forward.
A PACT marriage counseling session is unique from other forms of couples therapy. In our sessions, I pay close attention not just to the words that the two of you say, but how you interact with your faces and bodies. Science shows that 93% of our communication is actually non-verbal. This means that in order for couples to succeed at communication, each partner must understand how they come across non-verbally. The therapy includes working with these face and body cues so you can develop non-verbal communication patterns that are supportive to your relationship.
In marriage counseling, you and your spouse discover how to:
Keep Each Other Safe and Secure: Science shows that the number one factor in creating a successful intimate relationship is the experience of emotional safety and security. When partners feel under threat in their intimate relationship, this decreases their ability to engage in a loving, mutually satisfying relationship.
In therapy, we take time to identify any behaviors in your relationship that either one of you finds threatening. The next step is to help you and your partner take these threats off the table. This allows both of you to relax and create a new relationship based on safety and security. This simple step can shift things immediately, even after one session.
Please, comfort and excite each other: Many couples do not know how their partner works. In other words, they do not know what deeply upsets them, what calms them down, or how to make them feel like a million bucks. Our sessions give you the unique “owner’s manual” on your partner. Your ability to understand your spouse and to change their emotional state for the better is what makes your relationship truly valuable.
Fight well: Many people believe that fighting is a sign that their relationship is in trouble. The truth is that when couples don’t fight, this can also be a sign of trouble because it often means they are avoiding conflict. The goal in your relationship shouldn’t be to stop fighting. Rather, the goal should be to learn to fight well. In session, you learn how to fight with your spouse in a way that neither of you truly gets hurt. This means understanding how to incorporate moments of relief into your arguments; how to keep your arguments from getting scary and dangerous; and never forgetting that you are on the same team, even when you are angry.
Minimize each other’s stress and strengthen each other’s health: Our work together teaches you and your spouse how to manage negativity, whether it arises within or outside of your relationship. At the same time you discover how to create positive interactions with each other every day. You learn how to amplify all of the positives in your life together, so you can use this as fuel for your relationship. This gives you “money in the bank” for when times get hard.
I’ve been a marriage counselor for over ten years and have worked with the full range of issues that married couples face. My services also include premarital counseling. I have the skills and expertise to help you and your spouse make rapid progress in your relationship. Most couples report positive changes right from the very first session.
You May Be Wondering if You and Your Spouse Can Benefit From Marriage Help…
My spouse is afraid their voice won’t be heard in marriage counseling. How do I get them to come in?
It is not uncommon for one spouse to be reluctant to get marriage guidance. Many times, couples have had previous experiences in marriage counseling where one spouse did not feel heard. Perhaps that spouse even felt blamed by the therapist as the sole cause of the couple’s problems.
If your spouse has these worries, it’s important to know that I work for both of you. My goal is to hear and understand each of your concerns and perspectives and to advocate for what you need and want to your partner when necessary. I strive to create a balanced experience in marriage coaching where both partners feel equally represented. This allows us to see the whole picture and determine more accurately what you each need to help you move your relationship forward.
Marriage therapy can be expensive. Is it really worth it?
Many couples need a skilled professional to help them work through their challenges. Having a trained third party present who can give both of you feedback on where you are getting off track and how to fix it is an invaluable resource. While marriage therapy does represent an investment, it is money well spent. In the long run, counseling for marriage saves you from heartache and the threat of divorce. It protects your children from the damaging effects of your marital conflict and allows you to provide them with a healthy model of relationship that they will take with them into their adult relationships when they are grown.
What will people think if they find out that we are in marital counseling?
You may be worried about how you will be perceived by your friends, family and others around you if they know that you are in marriage counseling. Perhaps you are concerned about what this will do to the image they have of you, or that they will judge you for having problems. Please know that our sessions are completely confidential. Nothing is shared with anyone outside of the couple without your written consent.
Also, your family counseling is no one else’s business but yours. You decide whom you wish to share this with, if anyone. If you do feel it important to share that you are in marriage counseling with some of the important people in your life, make sure that you and your spouse both agree to this before sharing. Those who have your best interest will be happy to know that you are getting the support you need and will not judge you for seeking help.
The Time to Rebuild Your Marriage is Now
If you and your spouse are struggling with pain and confusion, it’s important not to delay getting marriage counseling. Life is too short to waste it in a bleak, unsatisfying relationship. You can experience the love, joy and value in being together again.
Learn more about Gabrielle’s couples counseling specialty.
Get more information about PACT (a Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy).
Take the Next Step…
Please click on the orange button below to set up your free 30-minute phone consultation so I can find out more about what your goals are and how I can help