If you’re looking into getting marriage counselling in Sydney and are anything like most of the couples I work with, you are trying to figure out how to save a marriage. You’re hoping to avoid the long term emotional, relational and potential financial consequences resulting from separation and divorce.
If you have children you’re also terrified of the long term emotional impact on them. My work has often been described as pulling a relationship back from death’s door. You don’t have to take my word for it, you could always have a look at some of the success stories from others that came to me for relationship counselling. I know I talk a lot about marriage here, I consider any serious relationship to be a marriage even if that’s politically tricky without the paperwork.
- Are you scared that your relationship is beyond help?
- Do you wonder ‘does marriage counselling work?’
- Do you find yourself caught up in behaviour you find unacceptable?
- Are you with a controlling husband or a controlling wife?
- Are you struggling to come to terms with a significant life change?
- Do you know what you ‘should’ be doing but struggle to do it?
- Are you regularly saying or thinking ‘I want a divorce.’
Here’s something you may not know about marriage counselling.
It is totally normal for your relationship to get bumpy at points. The size of those bumps depends on the kind of relationship you and your partner are in. The couples that come to me for relationship help generally find it very reassuring to know that it’s not just them that struggle which is why I’m passing that message on to you.
This is a gross over simplification of things but the very nature of how we choose our mates is fundamentally flawed, nature appears to have a strange sense of humour. If you combine that with the huge burden of expectation we bring to our relationships it is hardly surprising that there is friction. Part of being a grown up in your relationship is the awareness that every human being will frustrate, disappoint, anger and disappoint us. It is equally true that you, without meaning to, will do the same for your mate. This is the reality of being in a relationship and yet 50% of the population make it work so what are you going to do?
The first goal of good marriage counselling is to help you thoroughly understand how your particular dynamic as a couple is destroying any chance of emotional warmth or closeness. There is absolutely no point talking about ‘communication skills’ and ‘conflict management’ until that destructive dynamic has been dismantled. I’m qualified at ‘Master Practitioner’ level in Relational Empowerment Therapy with Terrence Real in Boston and have brought that to Sydney. Terry’s rate of success with couples counselling is so good I spent two years commuting backwards and forwards to the U.S. to study with him. Here’s a quick video where he outlines what makes his model so effective.
Hear from one of the world’s best relationship therapists, Terrence Real.
There are design flaws in traditional marriage therapy. According to Terry, what takes him hours most couples therapists miss. Be careful about who you work with, you may only get one chance! If you’re asking ‘does marriage therapy work?’ he’s brave enough to tell you exactly why a lot of relationship counselling fails.
The good news is that in some ways it’s not that complicated. As Terry says, there are only five relationship crimes you can be guilty of. Take a look at the list below. If you’re thinking about getting a divorce I bet you’ll find you already have a pretty good idea of what’s going wrong with the two of you. Keep in mind though, these are just ‘symptoms’ of a deeper issue you need help with if you’re trying to figure out how to save a marriage.
The 5 Relationship Crimes Happening in Your Home.
Are you or your partner guilty of any of these?
- Needing to be right
- Controlling your partner
- Uncontrolled /unbridled self expression
- Withdrawal or stonewalling
I’m willing to bet that when you add it up, you and your partner are doing at least three of the things I’ve listed above. The sad fact is you will continue to do so, no matter how hard you try not to and no matter how clearly someone explains that these things are bad for your marriage! Continue without solid support and you are heading toward separation and divorce.
Your traditional marriage therapist would just tell you to stop doing them but they are ignoring the fact that deep inside there is a piece of you that makes it impossible to do so. You know this is true because no matter how hard you try to behave better you still manage to behave like a bull in a china shop when you get upset or angry. Bizarrely the more you try to stop the more it can seem to amplify your marital problems.
The problem is that when you’re locked into any one of those five losing strategies you can never win and you can never get what you want. I know, it’s infuriating and really painful. I’ve seen it a lot, it’s very sad. You’ve probably tried every other way of getting out of the mess you’re in but you still feel trapped! And in a sense you are.
Are you sure my relationship can be saved?
I have no doubt you’ve been trying to save your marriage/relationship for years. Let’s face it, no one is excited about the prospect of getting a divorce. Most of the couples I’ve worked with have been on the edge of destruction for years and somehow they muddle through. I have no idea why people wait so long to get help with one of the most valuable things in their life. You can be darn sure they’d have had the car serviced if it was misfiring quite so badly.
So you generally have at least an inkling of what needs to change. The painful truth however is that knowing what’s wrong isn’t enough to fix it. If it was that simple you’d have worked it out together years ago, you wouldn’t need marriage counselling. What you really need is help to dismantle the dynamic that’s destroying your love for each other. It’s probably been going on for years which means you are both dealing with a mountain of hurt and resentment.
Do yourselves a favour, get relationship help with someone who knows what they’re talking about. Statistically it’s almost a certainty that you’re the wife looking for some hope, maybe you’ve got a controlling husband or he’s just sadly absent and you’re looking to avoid separation and divorce. Your major challenge is this, you’ve got to figure out how to get him to accept help after a mere 3 years of misery rather than the standard 7 years most couples wait. Take a look at the page on counselling services for men it will really help you. I’d also encourage you to sign up for the bonuses I offer as I’m a lot more direct in private.
I’d love your help but isn’t it expensive?
Yes it is. So is your home and so is your car if you have one. A lot of the most valuable things in life are expensive. Red Adair who made a living out of putting out some of the most dangerous fires on earth has a great quote; ‘If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.’ There is always someone willing to tell you they can do it for less. Seriously, a divorce is a terrifyingly expensive undertaking. Take the same money you’re living on at the moment and think about setting up 2 homes, a couple of lawyers to fight each other with your money and the costs associated with keeping your kids happy in two homes. Imagine the pain of having your children raised by a man or woman you don’t know and may well not like. If your home is about to go up in flames you might want to call in a professional. I put out fires for a living.
I heard couples counselling just ruins relationships.
I’m not going to argue with you on that point, a lot of it does. Twenty years back when I first started training in couples therapy the therapists I trained with had a joke that we were really in the business of making it ok to leave a bad marriage. It turns out that marriage counselling is REALLY complicated. The ESSENTIAL DIFFERENCE is the distinction between individual empowerment and relational empowerment. Most therapist have only ever been trained in individual empowerment which is great for the individual but often disastrous for couples. We have a world full of therapists encouraging you to reclaim your power in the vein of ‘I was weak now I’m strong, screw you I’m leaving.’ The sad fact is that you will have people climbing up on chairs to cheer you on as you leave behind a marriage and 3 kids.
I however view that as a sad, devastating mistake. Some couples therapists don’t seem to understand they are dealing with real families that don’t really want to head down the separation and divorce route. I took a real look into who was getting great results and got trained in a family systems based model with Terry Real, one of the worlds best. He is adamant that most of what passes for couples therapy is very destructive and borderline abusive which he says in the video above. You are sensible to wonder ‘does marriage counselling work?’ because some of it just doesn’t. I talk a lot more about what makes Relational Empowerment for couples therapy so unique on my FAQs page. You are right to be careful about the relationship counselling you choose to get.
The good news is this. You don’t have to stay stuck. No one drowns by falling face down in a puddle. You drown because you stay there! Roughly 50% of long term relationships actually work out, if you get help there’s no reason you can’t be one of those success stories. So if you need marriage counselling in Sydney now, contact me to see how I can assist you. If you’d like to hear more about what makes the approach I use so powerful then please take a look at the FAQs.
Author of ‘The New Rules of Marriage’ says…
Founder of ‘The Relational Life Institute’