D is for Determination not Divorce

Unless you have blocked time in your schedule to drive to Probate and Family Court and file for divorce, when you enter my office for marriage counseling, roll up your sleeves and be ALL IN!

Some couples enter therapy as a “last ditch effort.” The mindset is, “This is my last try. If this doesn’t work, then it’s over.” How useful is this? We are willing to fail at dozens of diets and yet still try another one. Are you the kind of person who works really hard but if you don’t land a job after the 5th interview, do you just say, “Ah, whatever, I guess I’ll just be homeless.” Are you the type of person who gets sick and after 3 days on antibiotics says, “Forget it. I’ll just let myself die from this.”

Just as not all cancers can be cured, not all marriages can be restored. There are a lot of factors where a failed marriage is concerned. A LOT! With so many factors, there are SO many opportunities to change, even something so very small that you might think there is no way such a small change could make a difference.

The number one factor, for a positive prognosis in marriage counseling is two individuals who can each keep their mouth closed and ears open when the other person is talking. When I see this in my office, I know there is hope.

Lay down your sword and just be. We spend a great deal of time, effort and self-talk attempting to understand our problems as a couple through our own experience and then seek to validate our thoughts, feelings and actions based on our own voice.

When we have conflicts, we tend to use words like “never” and “always.”

You NEVER put me first. You NEVER say nice things to me. You NEVER put the children to bed. I can NEVER trust you.

You ALWAYS blame me. You are ALWAYS angry. I ALWAYS work harder than you.

Be careful about these definitive words. Using these black and white words usually makes you wrong.

When you enter my therapy office, we leave any words like “divorce” at the door. You can be as mad or dissatisfied with each other as you are. That’s completely understandable. But you owe it to yourself, your marriage and if you have children, your children, to work like you mean it. Work like you ARE resolving difficulties.

What Will Be Asked of You

  1. You will be asked to commit to SIX sessions, preferably once/week for six consecutive weeks.
  2. You will be asked to set reasonable goals, together, with my guidance.
  3. You will be asked to bring a notebook.
  4. You will be asked to complete homework assignments between sessions.
  5. You will be asked at each session if you feel you made your best effort on the homework for the week.
  6. You will be asked at the end of six weeks to evaluate the progress you feel you have made and to recommit or redefine goals. This might mean we drop sessions back to every other week, or for very invested couples using the tools on their own, every three or four weeks.

What Marriage Counseling is NOT

  1. Marriage counseling is not a courtroom.
  2. The therapist is not the judge or jury.
  3. The therapist is not a referee.
  4. The therapist is not the authority on how you should distribute household responsibilities, frequency of lovemaking, how you budget your money or discipline your children.

What the Marriage Counselor IS

  1. Someone who can provide a safe space for you to work together, especially on difficult issues.
  2. Someone who can facilitate effective communication.
  3. Someone who can assist with recognition of emotions, expression of needs and help you each identify your passions and desires.

It is my honor and privilege to counsel men and women in the deepest relational bond of marriage. Marriage is an art and a commitment, and so worth it! Just because you don’t feel all the feelz all the time, doesn’t mean your marriage is failing. That’s one of the gifts of marriage, that we can be upset with each other, have issues and challenges and struggles but have the mature love that reassures that we are one, even in the hard times.

Don’t find yourself standing in front of a judge having to answer the question, “Do you believe your marriage is irreparable?” without feeling sure about what you will answer.