If you are considering marriage counselling or are perhaps looking to get the process started here in Sydney, welcome. If you are anything like most of the couples I work with, it’s likely that you have urgently been trying to figure out how to save your marriage. You’re also likely hoping to avoid the long term emotional and potentially catastrophic financial consequences that come from separation and divorce. If you have children, I imagine that you’re also terrified of any potential long-term emotional impact on them, too.
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, but perhaps you would feel reassured by reading through some of the success stories from others that have worked with me for relationship counselling. I know I talk a lot about marriage here, but it certainly isn’t a pre-requisite to have had a wedding to work with me. Realistically, I consider any serious relationship to be a marriage – even if you’ve never needed the paperwork.
- Are you scared that your relationship is beyond help?
- Do you wonder ‘does marriage counselling actually 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 actually 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 become bumpy at points. The size of those bumps depends on the kind of relationship you and your partner are in. The couples that approach me for help with their relationship generally find it very reassuring to know that it’s not just them that struggle, which is why I’m passing this message on to you. You aren’t in this alone.
The first goal of successful marriage counselling is to help both you and your partner to thoroughly understand how your particular dynamic as a couple is potentially 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.
For reference, I am the only person this side of the world who holds a qualification at ‘Master’ level in Relational Empowerment Therapy. I studied with the amazing Terrence Real in Boston and have brought my knowledge back to Sydney with me. Actually, the rate of success with my couples counselling has been so good since obtaining this qualification that I spent a further three years commuting backwards and forwards to the U.S. to continue studying with him. Terrence has over 40 years of experience, is widely regarded as one of the best relationship therapists in the world and implements what he refers to as a science backed approach. Hell, his latest book has a foreword written by Bruce Springsteen and, in my opinion, Bruce is an absolute authority on how to live.
Here’s a quick video outlining why Terrence’s model is so effective. It’s an important video to watch because very few people will tell you what an absolute disaster most of what is offered as couples counselling really is. I would highly encourage you to watch it to the end as he has a few words to say about my competence.
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 in his practice is missed by most couple therapists. Be careful about who you work with, you may only get one chance!
The good news is that, in some ways, it’s not actually that complicated. As Terry says, there are only five relationship crimes that 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 that 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 that you will 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 that you will continue to do so, no matter how hard you try not to and no matter how clearly it is explained that these things are bad for your marriage! If you continue to plummet down this path without science backed support, you will quickly find yourselves heading toward separation or divorce. Now, your traditional marriage therapist would just tell you to stop doing these things, but would also ignore the fact that deep inside there is a piece of you that makes it impossible to do so.
Worse than that, traditional marriage therapists rarely teach you how to do what works in a way that actually sticks. Recommending a book or article just isn’t going to do it. We now know what it takes to get you back onto the Master track and how to keep you there. In order to succeed, you need to develop a new skill set and, together, you and I will practice these new skills until they become easier to implement than whatever it is that you used to do.
The sad fact 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 and it’s incredibly sad. You’ve probably already 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 that you’ve been trying to save your marriage/relationship for years. Let’s face it, any sensible person is horrified about the prospect of divorcing their significant other. Most of the couples I’ve worked with have been on the edge of destruction for years and yet somehow, they muddle through. I have no idea why people wait so long to ask for help with one of the most valuable things in their life. You can be darn sure that they’d have the car serviced if it was misfiring even half as badly.
Strangely, it’s actually really hard to know whether a couple can be pulled back from the edge. I have often sat with couples who I thought were an absolute train wreck and I’ve watched them do a miraculous job of getting back on track. If I’m honest, this success is very closely related to a couple’s commitment/ willingness to learn how to do a better job of meeting each other’s needs. I regularly have this following interaction once we start the coaching phase of counselling:
Carl: “Michael, it can’t be that simple. That won’t work for us.”
Me: “Trust me, try it for now and let me know how you get on.”
Two weeks later…
Carl: “We’re doing so much better! I can’t believe it was that easy.”
People who are way smarter than us have utilised scientific experimentation to figure out what does and doesn’t work. Put simply, we know how to move couples from being the Disasters to Masters of relationships.
It’s often amazing to me that most couples know exactly 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 and you wouldn’t need marriage counselling. What you really need is help to dismantle the dynamic that’s destroying your affection for each other. This dynamic has probably been wreaking havoc for years which means you are both dealing with a mountain of hurt and resentment. Enough is enough, do yourselves a favour and seek relationship help from someone who knows exactly what they’re talking about.
Statistically, it’s almost a certainty that you’re the wife looking for some hope – maybe you’ve landed yourself a controlling husband or he’s just sadly absent and you’re looking to avoid separation and divorce. Whilst that is certainly tough, your major challenge is this; figuring out how to get him to accept help after a mere 3 years of misery rather than the standard 7 years that most couples wait. While you’re here, take a look at the page on counselling services for men as I believe that 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 when speaking to people privately.