Why try marriage counseling?

Why try marriage counseling?

I’m writing this post because it’s a commonly searched question. I suspect it may be coming from a place of desperation or confusion. Why should we try this? Will it even help us? We’re going to invest our time and money, will it be worth it?Thinking about the couples I’ve worked with over the years, I came up with a quick list of reasons to answer that question: Why try marriage counseling?

Read More

Double standards and Double binds: how gender stereotypes hurt our relationships

Double standards and Double binds: how gender stereotypes hurt our relationships

In this post I’m going to ask you to question some of your assumptions about men and women. I’ll confess that my ears perk up and I become skeptical whenever I hear someone tell me something like “you know how women are” or “he’s just a typical man.” These often set up unfair double standards and impossible double binds. I'll share a few reasons I think these types of statements are problematic.

Read More

I love you: Say the things that go without saying

I love you: Say the things that go without saying

People love knowing they are appreciated. Some people may not like hearing the actual words too much, and if your spouse is one of these people, you probably know it already. The point I’m making here is not so much about saying the words as it is about communicating the feeling. Anytime I suggest you say something feel free to substitute in your mind a way you know your spouse likes to receive love and appreciation.

Read More

Perpetual Problems: accommodating your partner's dreams

Perpetual Problems: accommodating your partner's dreams

I’ve got some news for you: Not all problems in your marriage can be solved. Some just don’t have solutions. These may come from differences in personality traits, religion, political opinions, cleanliness preferences, and the like. No matter how much you talk about these things or fight about which way is right, neither of you is likely to change or to change your partner.

Read More

Solving problems in your marriage: Compromise

Solving problems in your marriage: Compromise

I’ve got some news for you: Not all problems in your marriage can be solved. Some can be worked through using compromise, and some just don’t have solutions. These may come from differences in personality traits, religion, political opinions, cleanliness preferences, and the like. No matter how much you talk about these things or fight about which way is right, neither of you is likely to change or to change your partner.

Read More

The Marriage Counseling Relationship Checkup

The Marriage Counseling Relationship Checkup

Problems have been building in your marriage for a while. You try talking about it and end up fighting. You try again and end up fighting. Maybe you try to change and you try to ask for change, and you’re both still fighting and miserable. So, you gather up your courage and decide to try marriage counseling. You might hope that if you can just get in there for one session the therapist is going to convince your spouse that you have been right all along and amazing changes happen overnight. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but that’s not how these things work. You need a relationship checkup.

Read More

How to love an imperfect partner, or the romance in settling

How to love an imperfect partner, or the romance in settling

Let me set the scene for you:

I’ve got a couple* sitting on my couch. I like each one of them very much. I’ve spent a few sessions getting to know them and their relationship. They’ve told me about their complaints, their dissatisfaction, their deep disappointment that their partner has changed or isn’t the person they thought they married. One of them is considering divorce. The other doesn’t want divorce but also doesn’t want to keep going on with these fights and this distance between them.

Read More