Why Marriage Counselling Can Fail & What to Avoid
75% of people say they’re Worse off or Even Divorced after Marriage Counseling!
Don’t Let That Happen To You!
Today I got an email from a couple who I was working with this month to strengthen their relationship. With their permission, they have let me share their story in order to help and inspire others and give hope that it is not only possible to transform your relationship, but that you change things quickly.
Mary and Kevin have been married for 19 years. They started to fight 7 years ago after the birth of their second child. Kevin felt angry and annoyed that he could never do anything “right” in the home or with their 2 sons according to his wife. She was always complaining and he started to avoid her, staying as late at work as possible to avoid her nagging. Mary felt alone, unsupported and irritated at the lack of attention Kevin gave her. She felt distant from him and whenever he wanted to be physically intimate she refused. This infuriated Kevin further, he was working so hard for what “a sexless marriage and unhappy home life ” To make things worse his work was also an area of stress, poor management, the threat of redundancy and unresponsive colleagues. He thought about divorce and so after telling his wife how fed up he was, they started marriage counseling.
During the marriage counseling sessions they had in Dubai they were encouraged to take it in turns to go into detail about the main issues they were facing. They were asked to explain all the events that have caused the biggest pain throughout the marriage since they got together 19 years ago. Each week they would turn up, pay the fees and open up. Often they would feel angrier and more agitated after that it was hard to work on being kinder. Mary said that after each session she felt less and less like being close to Kevin, Kevin felt like a failure and retracted. Sadly the reverse of what they wanted was happening. Each week they went again, desperately hoping that their marriage would start to improve after the emotional, time and financial investment they were putting into it, unfortunately, it was not working for them.
One plus from the experience was that they learnt to really listen and understand each other’s problems. Yet there was no solution or strategy to move them past hearing each others’ pain. They wondered if it was time to throw in the towel as if they made each other so unhappy, was there any pint in trying?
Mary, Kevin & I met, I explained how I help couples rebuild love and connection in a different way. A way that has worked for thousands of couples and may just work for them if they put their issues aside to start with and focus on rebuilding the love & connection. Below are some tips I shared, so if you are looking to save or strengthen your marriage you may find them useful. Whether you work on your own, with a relationship & connection specialist like me or with another marriage counsellor.
Firstly let’s explore why marriage counseling can fail.
It often starts by focusing on the problems
Talking about problems in marriage counseling can often cause:
- More negativity
Analyzing what has gone wrong creates more negativity. Negativity kills closeness and passion. No one wants to hug, let alone make love with a grumpy, moody or critical person .
- Resentment to build
Resentment can build up even further, through bring all of the pain and hurt to light. Letting go of resentment is an individual process, done in harmony with corrective future actions. You cannot let resentment go by re-hashing it out again. Often by bringing it individuals become angry and resentful, as they re-live the experience. Re-living the experience can make a couple feel more against each other and create further distance as opposed to closeness the very thing they came to get.
3.It focuses on blaming
One of the easiest ways we can harm our relationships is fixate on blaming them. When we blame we give all of our power away. If we say to our partner “it’s because you did this…” or “you didn’t do that for me.” we are saying I am not in control of my behaviour or actions, it’s your fault and I’m not to blame. When we say this (even if that is true to some degree that they did contribute to it) we are not taking responsibility. Yet in order to have a successful relationship and life for that matter, we HAVE to take responsibility of our own behaviour.
If we don’t how on earth can a couple move forward? Think about it. If I am drinking heavily, or getting angry and abusive, or giving the silent treatment to my partner because of something my partner has said or done to me and I blame them solely. I am saying that I have no control over what happens. I put all the possibility of a good relationship on them, that they will have to change and act perfectly in order for me to be the person I want to be in the relationship.
Which is ludicrous!
When couples get stuck in the blame game – they become trapped. It’s impossible to rebuild trust that things will be different unless each steps up and takes responsibility. If no one is accepting responsibility then trust can never be rebuilt, because words such as “I’ll change” will be meaningless.
It’s impossible to trust someone who claims to act differently who in the same breath says it’s all you.
Blaming also causes distance, negativity and a sense of hopelessness the opposite of what you need to be close and save a relationship.
- Creates shame
Most men and women, take pride in being a good husband/wife/ mother/father/ friend and person more generally. When we hear a long list of our “failings” from our loved ones perspective, who knows us so well we already feel terrible. Driving and paying to listen to these out loud in front of a marriage counsellor can be extremely more painful and lower our self-esteem. We may feel crushed, worthless or become defensive and aggressive to protect our view point. Again feeling low or becoming more tense and frustrated is not going to help a couple to become close again. It certainly does not create more love.
5 Lacks a structure and future focus
If you are constantly fixated on the past, how can you move forward to create a fun, loving and intimate future together? In my experience helping thousands of couples now, things don’t get better by themselves. It takes a plan, goals and daily ACTIONs to move forward.
So if marriage counselling doesn’t work for many people, what does work? This is my alternative approach to marriage counselling which I offer in Dubai and across the globe online 1-to1 and through my online program. You can adopt these strategies by yourselves if you don’t have the money for an online program or 1 to 1 counselling.
What does work
First we re-establish closeness, connection and reinstall the romance through acts of love, kindness and respect. We do this based on each other’s top 5 relationships needs of the 16 most desired . Next we create a plan to put the romance back into it.
- Remove Negativity
We eliminate negativity and there are various ways to do this and inject positivity and fun back
- Clear Resentment
We individually work on clearing resentment and frustration, so we are free from it’s burden
4.Create a shared meaning & purpose
We focus on creating a shared meaning and having shared goals, we discuss our inner most dreams and look at aligning them.
5.Adopt the 10 key communication success principles
We address any issues that need to be resolved from a point of compassion, love and respect. We cover the 10 communication success principles that happy marriages adopt, so anything needing covering can be cleared to move forward.
Whether we get to work together or not, follow these steps to save your marriage and see your connection and closeness return.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me, I’d love to hear from you and to support you have a happier life and home in any way I can.
From my heart to yours, Nicola
Relationship & Connection Specialist
P.S For more tips to strengthen your relationship and become closer, be sure to download my free e-book “7 Secrets to Strengthening or Saving Your Marriage “https://training.nicolabeer.com/7-secrets-marriage/”