Marriage Counselling - Reconnect with Intimacy
Marriage, or some other form of agreement to enter romantic, monogamous partnership, is still as popular as ever. Despite the sexual revolution and freedom available today, many relationships lead to a formal state of marriage. Even after sometimes lengthy de facto situations, many couples are going that next step and exchanging formal marriage vows.
This commitment is taken seriously which in itself can create problems. Where have the fun times gone? Marriage (including de facto marriage) in today's high-tech and fast paced world presents far more opportunities for couples to experience conflict and stress. There seems to be even more expected of today's relationships than ever before and fear of it not working is a cloud that seems to be lurking overhead before the marriage even takes place as evidenced by the number of prenuptial agreements.
On the other end of the spectrum, couples may decide to make a life together and then become so engrossed in career and other interests, including child raising, that they might forget about each other. When attention is focused on everything other than the primary relationship, like a neglected plant, it gradually withers and loses vitality.
Pre Marriage Counselling can help resolve many fears that the engaged couple may be facing. Counselling may also assist in facilitating a process of change where more beneficial relating skills can be introduced to resurrect a troubled relationship. The most effective time to engage in the counsellin process is before a situation reaches crisis point.
The old saying "prevention is better than cure" holds true in relationships in much the same way as any other health concern. If a relationship is allowed to deteriorate to such an extent that contempt takes the place of courtesy and caring, then it is much more difficult to resurrect tender feelings for one another. Anger and resentment often stand in the way of desire to re-connect which can lead to a sense that the relationship is over. This is not necessarily the case and engaging in a series of counselling sessions can certainly help to move beyond hurt feelings.
Doesn't it make sense then, to learn how to Love well? When you buy an appliance or a new car - there is usually an instruction book included - or at the very least a guide. There is no such instruction book that comes when you enter a relationship.
When two individuals start making each other "wrong" for the differences they fell in love with in the first place the potential for hurt feelings and strong walls of defense is high. This is when marriage counselling can really help.
Marriage counselling is a process of change facilitated by a trained practitioner who either practices general counselling or specializes in counselling couples.
A trained practitioner means someone who has graduated at tertiary level to a professional standard recognized by the appropriate body for registration of counsellors and psychologists.
Christine Bennett is a Certified Imago Relationship Therapist, and registered clinical member of PACFA.
To ensure you are receiving the best service of professional practice and ethical conduct, please check that whoever you choose to be your counsellor holds registration in NSW with PACFA or APS. Other states in Australia have different registration boards so it is important to check that a practitioner in your state (if other than NSW) holds recognized accreditation and registration.
How will Marriage Counselling Help Me?
Marriage counselling is often considered a means by which one partner tries to coerce the other into attending sessions to be "fixed".
Sometimes this is accompanied by threats of separation if the partner is non-compliant. This is what DOES NOT WORK!!!
Marriage counselling works best when there are two willing participants who are committed to doing the work of change.
It is more often a slow yet sure process and sometimes couples stumble along the path of progress as they work towards changing old habits that no longer work for them.
It is important to know that change - even positive change - is stressful. This is normal. As humans we like certainty and feel threatened when our well-worn patterns of behaviour are challenged. Even though we may recognise that these patterns no longer serve us - and have become a threat to our happiness - it still requires consistent and conscious work to bring about lasting change.
Ester Perel explains the secret to long term desire in the video below
In long-term relationships, we often expect our beloved to be both best friend and erotic partner. But as Esther Perel argues, good and committed sex draws on two conflicting needs: our need for security and our need for surprise. So how do you sustain desire? With wit and eloquence, Perel lets us in on the mystery of erotic intelligence.
During marriage counselling you will learn to:
- Commit to one another in a way that will enhance the degree of success the relationship achieves and the satisfaction that each partner enjoys.
- Show compassion to one another.
- Perform daily acts of kindness to one another.
- Share your feelings with one another with care.
- Maintain self respect and respect for your partner.
- Negotiate effectively for win-win outcomes.
- Recognize when your "buttons" have been pushed and take personal responsibility for your emotions.
- Let go of taking things so personally.
- Give and receive affection regularly.
- Take time out together just to have fun.
- Foster long term trust by being open and honest with one another.
- Remember that Love is a verb - it is a doing thing and requires thinking loving thoughts and engaging in loving actions on a daily basis!
- Seek what you desire rather than worry needlessly about what you fear.
What Can I Expect During a Marriage Counselling Session?
During your session with Christine, you will be asked to identify the main frustrations that you each have with one another.
This is to form a basis of intentions to be set regarding what CHANGES are appropriate to make to the dynamic patterns of your relationship. In other words, how do get in your own way and each other's way of maintaining a loving connection?
It is important that this process is seen as a step towards positive change, rather than an opportunity to blame each other. It is simply useful in identifying where the changes need to be implemented and how.
Christine then educates and facilitates the couple through a process known as Imago Dialogue introduced by Harville Hendrix, PhD, and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD.
Another useful part of sessions with Christine is how the couple will have the opportunity to re-imagine their marriage. New goals will be set for the relationship as a new "contractual agreement". This can then serve the couple as an ongoing way to evaluate if they are still on track in what they have both agreed they want to experience in their relationship together.
What is different about Caring4Couples Marriage and Relationship Counselling?
Caring4Couples is like comparing an exclusive boutique to a large department store. Caring4Couples is a counselling and psychotherapy practice with sole proprietor, Christine Bennett as the only therapist. Christine cares about couples and has spent over 20 years training, researching and working with couples.
There is also a limited number of Certified Imago Therapists practising in Sydney.
Christine values her clients and always feels privileged when a new client calls for help. If you do call and receive a message from an answering service, Christine will usually call back within an hour or two. Please leave a message!