Most couples who seek Marriage Counselling want to improve the quality of their relationship and communication. Ultimately, they want to be happy in their partnership.
Some practical tools can help you manage some of life’s transitions and challenges place pressure on a marriage.
It is important that your Marriage counsellor is a good fit with each of you and that you make the decision together to come to Marriage Counselling.
Whilst one person may initiate the process, both need to be willing to work on an agreed outcome: which is to either stay together, to separate, or to develop clarity about what you want.
What is Marriage Counselling?
Marriage Counselling aims to help you develop as a couple and strengthen your marriage. A strong partnership will support your growth as individuals and feel like you can act as a team. It should help you achieve your goals and life dreams.
Marriage Counselling can provide a process for rediscovering your friendship, intimacy and partner. The structure of a relationship is akin to a house, with many levels. Renown Marriage therapists and researchers, Dr John M. Gottman and Dr Julie Schwartz Gottman have worked with thousands of couples on developing a Sound Relationship House. Their model works by understanding what’s happening on each level of the house, and what needs to happen tin your relationship to improve that level.
Trust and commitment are the pillars of the Relationship House. The first three levels of the house are to do with the quality of your friendship as a couple. If these levels working effectively, you have a solid basis for building the other levels of your Relationship House.
These are the levels:
- Love maps: how well do you know your partner at this point in time? Do you know some of his/her life dreams, hopes or worries? Do you need to update your understanding of who your partner is as a person?
- Fondness and admiration: how much affection, appreciation and respect are there on this level of your Relationship House?
- Turn towards each other or turning away: when your partner seeks emotional connection, do you tend to respond or avoid? Gottman calls this your ‘emotional bank account’ and likens the process to building your bank account with the interactions you have together, rather than depleting it.
- Positive Perspective: what is the climate like in your Relationship House? If it’s mostly a positive climate in your interactions with each other, a disagreement is easily tolerated and repaired.
- Managing conflict : it is important to identify the key issues and why these are important to each of you. Constructive dialogue about the things that matter and learning to regulate emotions de-escalate conflict
- Make life dreams come true: sounds good? Let’s get clear about what these dreams and shared goals are at the start of the process of Marriage Counselling. Realising your life goals and gelping your partner to achieve hers/his is important in a great marriage.
- Creating shared meaning: this is situated in the attic level of your house. On this level you create a life of meaning together. In which you’re happy with the quality of connection and intimacy in your relationship, your shared goals, rituals, roles and responsibilities.
Practise some ways of improving your relationship with your partner.
What happens in Marriage Counselling?
Most people who seek Marriage Counselling want change in some important aspects of their relationship, so we will work on your change agenda.
As your Marriage counsellor, l will help you to clarify what you want to achieve and what prompted the decision to come.
If you’re unclear about what you want from your marriage, or whether you want to stay together, we will explore what each of you needs right now before embarking on the process of Marriage Counselling.
Sometimes it may be beneficial to have an individual session if there is something particular you want to explore and then to share this with your partner.
Couples sessions are 70 minutes. As your Marriage counsellor, I provide a structure for the sessions which ensures that each person has equal time and space.
Conversations may happen in a different way to what you’re used to, so that each person can feel listened to and understood. I guide the conversation and provide appropriate challenges where needed. Sometimes there may be partner exercises to practice at home before our next session.
Couples typically come for Marriage Counselling for help with:
- Trust or commitment issues
- Connection and intimacy
- De-escalating arguments
- Improving communication
- Managing expectations and responsibilities
- Specific issues
- Resetting some of the parameters of their relationship
- Independence and togetherness
- Decision making and future goals
What are the benefits of Marriage Counselling?
The benefits depend on a few factors: your commitment to wanting to stay in the marriage, an openness to your partner’s perspective, and a willingness to adopt some new behaviours in order to achieve a more harmonious relationship.
Many married couples have experienced more positive mental and physical wellbeing as they become happier in their marriage. They say they have gained new understandings about themselves and their partners. Improved positivity, friendship and intimacy is often experienced. Intimacy may continue to develop well after Marriage counselling has ended. Some couples return for Marriage tune-ups or to tackle specific issues that arise during the course of their lives together.
Request a booking for your first online Marriage Counselling session
How should we prepare for Marriage Counselling?
Before our first session, I will send you a Pre-Consultation Questionnaire to complete individually and email back to me before our session. I’ll also include a few questions to think about individually, and to share with your partner in our session. My Privacy and Confidentiality Policy will be attached to the email.
We will explore the main reasons for you seeking Relationship Counselling and identify any recurring issues. We identify your strengths as a couple and explore the bigger picture of how you’d ideally like this relationship to be.
Sometimes there can be a benefit for us to have an individual session if there is a particular issue that affects you more than your partner and having an impact on your relationship.
I look forward to working with you both soon, Linda