Marriage can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. But making marriage works is not an easy matter and requires constant investment. It is often recommended in my practice to participate in a premarital counseling. Creating a successful marriage is possible when you are open to change. It requires effort, knowledge and skills to build satisfying and lasting relationship.
Marriage counseling is a valuable modality for couples who want to build a healthy, satisfying and long-lasting relationship. Marriage therapist provide couples with the skills and strategies they need to manage life together in a healthy and fulfilling way. A marriage counselor can be the necessary step for overcoming crisis. Yet, marriage counseling is not just for unhappy couples; it can be a valuable to any relationship since it gives each person involved fundamental tools and healthy coping strategies to manage their communication, show respect for each other, and grow in healthy ways.
spiral2grow utilizes proven methods of marriage therapy to help married couples create successful marriage. spiral2grow marriage counselors in New York City can guide you even if your partner does not want to participate in counseling. Often, when one person changes, the whole relationship dynamics change, which affect the other person to changes too. The effective marriage counselor will teach you new ways to interact with your partner that can make you both feel connected and happy while growing individually as well as a team. Whether your relationship is in trouble, or you just want to make it better, spiral2grow of New York City can help by providing marital therapy, pre marital counseling as well as infidelity counseling.
spiral2grow, a leading provider of marriage counseling and couples therapy in NYC, has marriage counselors experts and effective marriage therapists, who are expert in helping and building successful marriages as well as saving marriages in crisis. spiral2grow, located in midtown Manhattan at 260 Madison #8023, New York, NY 10016, offers proven marriage counseling and couples therapy for individuals and couples, while providing workshops for marriage improvement and enhancement.
Marriage is not simply a bundle of legal entitlements. It is about something much more profound, fundamental, and transcendent. The state of being married, while still a strongly desired goal, has been under siege for many years. Marriages that once lasted a lifetime are now fortunate to last several years. Today more than half of all marriages end up in divorce.
There are many reasons contributing to this sorry state of affairs. Our society has made it relatively easy to terminate a marriage – at least on paper. So when things get difficult and arguments break out, people abandon their partners instead of learning to work out their differences.
Paradoxically, while marriage becomes increasingly less stable, it is the one relationship that contributes most to global happiness. More people depend on the marital relationship for feelings of satisfaction and well-being than upon any other source of satisfaction including work, economic success, friendships, or even children.
The following is a list of what satisfied married couples tend to do:
- Express love verbally, sexually and materially;
- Participate in mutual self-disclosure – they share their “inner lives;”
- Offer each other emotional support – mutual nurturing in times of adversity;
- Express appreciation, admiration and physical affection;
- Accept demands or put up with shortcomings – they accept imperfections;
- Create time to be alone together – this nurtures the relationship.
Also, based on John Gottman’s research the following components are important to successful long term relationships for marriage and couples.
- They are gentle with each other.
- They spend time in and enjoy conversation with each other.
- They allow for influence by their partner.
- They do keep score by remembering the good things their partner does for them.
- Each partner knows themselves reasonably well.
- Each partner honors the others dreams.
- There is a positive sense of humor in the relationship.
- There are shared goals and a sense of team work in the relationship.
- There are good conflict resolution skills in the relationship.(sometimes it means to do, and sometimes it means to let go)
- There is a sense of continued romance in the relationship.
- Contempt, for the partner, in all it’s forms, will more than anything else bring the relationship down. It needs to be avoided or worked through.
Poor communication skills, disagreements and misunderstandings can be a source of frustration, distance and anger, or a springboard build a stronger relationship and happier future. Communication is one of the most basic and important issues in a relationship. Unhappy couples are often unable to communicate, and when communication breaks down, so does marriage and intimacy. Couples with high level of communication skills are more satisfied with their marriages and are more likely to solve their challenges in a better way.
As such, effective and respectful communication is a fundamental part of a healthy relationship. When people are not communicating well, they stop relating well, and times of change or stress can really bring out disconnect. Without communication, there’s nothing to hold the relationship together and function smoothly. When you communicate well, you can work through whatever problem you’re facing.
It is always better to address problems through communication then to bury them thinking that they will go away eventually – they won’t! Talk it out in a way that is supportive and loving whenever necessary. Learning to have effective communication in marriage is one of the most important aspects of marriage that a couple can work on.
Dealing with Conflict
We all have conflicts in our relationships. Sometimes they are simple disagreements, and other times they are horrific battles. John Gottman emphasis the importance of differentiating between a problem that is solvable vs perpetual problem. Gottman Institute research has shown that 69% of relationship conflict is about perpetual problems. All couples have them – these problems are grounded in the fundamental differences that any two people face.
They are either 1) fundamental differences in your personalities that repeatedly create conflict, or 2) fundamental differences in your lifestyle needs.
The research concludes that couples repeatedly insist in solving perpetual problems that are very difficult to solve. As such, rather than focusing on solving the issue, it is more important to establish a dialogue about them. If couples cannot establish healthy dialogue about it, the conflict becomes gridlocked, and gridlocked conflict eventually leads to emotional disengagement.
Let us explain the difference between a solvable problem, a perpetual problem, and a gridlocked perpetual problem.
- Solvable problems can be about chores, housecleaning, parenting, disciplining children, sex, and in-laws. Solvable problems for one couple can be about the exact same topics that could be perpetual problems for a different couple. A solvable problem within a relationship is about something situational. The conflict is simply about that topic, and there may not be a deeper meaning behind each partner’s position. A solution can be found and maintained.
- Perpetual problems are problems that center on either fundamental differences in your personalities, or fundamental differences in your life style needs. All couples have perpetual problems. These issues can seemingly be about the exact same topics as what for another couple might be solvable; however, unlike a solvable problem, these are the problems that a couple will return to them over and over again.
- Gridlocked perpetual problems are perpetual problems that have been mishandled and have essentially calcified into something “uncomfortable.” When a couple tries to discuss a gridlocked issue, it may feel like they are “spinning their wheels” and getting nowhere. The nature of gridlock is that hidden agendas underlie the issue. That that is needed to be explored.
The key issue to understand is that what matters most is not solving perpetual problems, but rather the affect with which they are discussed. The goal should be to establish a dialogue about the perpetual problem that communicates acceptance of your partner with compassion, affection, and even humor and amusement. In that way the couple learn to live and actively cope with the unresolvable problem rather than allowing it to fall into the condition of gridlock. Gridlocked discussions only lead to painful exchanges or icy silence, and almost always involve the Four Horsemen (criticism, contempt, stonewalling, and defensiveness).
Build and Develop Intimacy
Intimacy and romance play an important part in providing the reassurance and trust that underpins all successful relationships. Intimacy tends to grow as the relationship evolves. It also tends to follow a pattern as with time. Couples newly in love typically experience feelings of closeness and excitement and have regular sex, says Kraft. That’s followed by the stage in which many couples start a family. Having children significantly changes a couple’s intimacy.
We all want a fulfillment in a relationship, particularly in intimate relationship. Where there is a lack of intimacy and romance one or both partners may feel unfulfilled and dissatisfied with the relationship. Intimacy isn’t just about good sex, though sex is a big part of it in partnerships. Intimacy is achieved when the two of you can share your thoughts, opinions, and feelings with one another. Intimacy is when two people create an environment where there is a true heart to heart connection. During deep intimacy, couples feel a sense of peace, harmony, balance and unconditional love for their partner and when they are in their partner’s presence. There is no battle of ego’s, no need to win, manipulate or control. Intimacy is deep connection and some say even spiritual.
When you’re truly intimate with your partner you feel safe and secure. You can talk about who you really are, say what you need and want, and be heard by him/her. You are authentic and true to yourself. Intimate relationships also have a sense of mutuality and care, which means you’re as concerned with your partner’s satisfaction and happiness as with your own. You want to see your partner emotionally, intellectually, socially, sexually and professionally fulfilled. Your marital intimacy is also strengthened when you two are spending time as a couple, having fun together, and surprising one another.
We will explore the varied meanings of intimacy and help partners articulate their expectations and fears, consider alternative modes of relating, and negotiate the best fit between them. Creating intimacy in a relationship takes time and isn’t always easy, but it’s possible to create intimacy with your special someone. Intimacy is the freedom to be yourself. Building intimacy is expressing yourself more and more in your relationship. Building intimacy doesn’t mean you’ll make all that happen, of course, but your partner’s satisfaction is equally important to you.
Sexuality in Marriage and Intimate Relationships
Sex is one of the most intimate form of connection available for many of us. It can be also deeply personal and even secretive aspect of our lives and relationships. Our attitude, belief and values may define the way we feel about our sexuality. We may feel very vulnerable or very free about it. Creating and maintaining healthy sexual intimacy can foster greater emotional connection and intimacy in other parts of the relationship. At the same time, relational problems can impact sex lives.
While some sexual problems are simple to treat many sexual challenges may be complex, which require the therapist to holistically understand the physiological, mental, psychological, relational and contextual issues. Many couple therapists feel that if you treat the couple communication issues, the sex will fix itself. At times, I find that the opposite is true as well – that the sex difficulties are an important foundation, and if you treat that the communications improve. While improving intimacy and emotional connection may lead to improved sex life, other factors must be considered. Today more than ever, couples must address their sexual needs and even challenge their sexual dilemmas.
While discussing sexual issue may be an uncomfortable topic for many clients and even therapists to talk about, it is critical to have the courage to resolve sexual problems so couples will engaged in a more fulfilling and loving relationship. Therapist must create an atmosphere in their sessions that would give clients the safety and comfort to talk about anything or bring up sexual issues. Emotionally Focused Therapy provides a safe context in which to explore your sexual intimacy and concerns.
While many therapists avoid addressing sexual experiences because they are not equipped to deal with it and they may be afraid of losing the clients, it is important to directly (and respectfully) ask clients about their sex life (sexual concerns, sexual side effect etc.) as it is important element in intimate relationship. Often a couple’s sex life reflects and is impacts the couple’s feelings of closeness, safety, and being valued.
Through the counseling process we can address the following sexual issues:
- Unlock sexual barriers, particularly after having kids or getting older
- Develop the courage to take emotional risks and enhance erotic bonds
- Provide long-term sexual and intimacy strategies rather than short-term and quick fixes
- Overcome sexual and erotic blocks stemming from insecurity, shame, fear, guilt and trauma
- Learn to communicate sexual needs in a respectful way
- Gain a greater understanding of porn, kink and other atypical sexual behaviors
- Tap into greater sexual domains (fantasies and deeper connections)
- Other sexual issues that may be discussed in marriage counseling includes:
sex-starved marriages, premature ejaculation, impotence, delayed ejaculation, issue of sexual desire, unsatisfying sex, “must-do” sex, compulsive sexual behaviors, sex and religion dilemmas. Also, recovering your sex life and establishing safety after a sexual affair is also a focus of therapy.
Anger in Intimate Relationship
Shakyamuni said, “Do not return anger with anger; instead, control your emotions. That is what is meant by diligence.” (from the Sutras).
Difficult partners can be a great distraction and destruction to us and others. They drain our energy, waste our time, create negative encounters and disturb our piece. However, if we transform the way we deal with these people or negative situations in general, then we will transform our life for the better. The new way can become very helpful for our personal growth and happiness.
When interactions with your partner is escalating into angry dynamics, they often stop being productive. If your partner gets back to you with angry response, it might be an opportunity to step back, assess your goals in the situation and ask yourself, “Is my respond beneficial to my needs or goals?” Whether your partner slams doors, punches walls, withholds sex, threatens, uses profanity, verbally or physically abuse you or your family, these angry behaviors are an attempt to control and inhibit their partner. The effort to control another person by using anger is not only extremely negative social behavior, this behavior will accomplish the exact opposite in the long run. It leads to divorce and breakups due to the deterioration of intimacy.
Managing anger in a relationship is like a pressure valve on a water heater designed to release when the pressure inside is too built up. People have more than two choices in handling anger, some work to suppress their anger; others feel they need to release it. In fact, it is healthier to neutralize your anger with exercise, breathing techniques, anger management therapy, and couples counseling.
spiral2grow Marriage Family Therapy in a relationship in New York City, has professionals that include anger relationship experts, anger counselors and psychotherapists, who are expert in providing tools for couples to deal with anger in their relationship. spiral2grow Marriage Family Therapy located in midtown Manhattan at 260 Madison #8023, New York, NY 10016, offers management for anger in an intimate relationship in a variety of formats: individual anger management, anger couples therapy, marriage counseling anger management workshop and group in New York City.
The following ways are a manifestation of anger in couples or married relationship:
- Stress build-up and negative energy
- Engaging in a negative vicious cycle such as Bickering and Fighting
- Ongoing conflict and escalation
- Communication challenges and breakdown
- Physical, verbal and emotional abuse/outburst
- Feeling walking on egg-shells
- Not feeling emotionally safe and inability to form an emotional bond
- Challenges with family members, specifically in-laws
- You feel life should be fair, and things are not how you want them to be
- Hitting and slamming objects, pets, or people or desire to inflict harm
- Short Temper and impatience causing problems in a marriage
- Failure to understand and have compassion
- Use words such as “should,” “must,” “have to,” “fair,” “deserve,” etc.
- Experience a high degree of resentment and contempt
- Being inflexible and not accepting influence from your partner
- Court Mandated Anger management therapy
As you can see the anger in a relationship can be manifested in many ways. Check to find more about faces of Anger.
How Anger Harms Your Marriages
The negative expression of anger in the family, especially between husband and wife, hurts them and their marriage in some the following ways:
- Damages the safe environment and destroy trust
- Builds frustration and resentment
- Creates a negative atmosphere and promote selfishness
- Amplifies fear of being hurt
- A distant relationship that leads to sadness, loneliness and anxiety
- Negatively damages self-esteem
- Moves away from being authentic and walk on eggshell
- Reduces sexual and intimate connection and increases sexual temptations
- Contributes and amplifies addictions such as drinking, gambling and other compulsive behaviors
As you can see, the failure to effectively expressed anger in a healthy way leads to an increase of aggression, hostility, cynicism. It ultimately damages both parties and create distance and resentment.
However, when anger is expressed in a balanced way and appropriate manner, anger can function as a tool for changing aversive behavior and overcome a barrier to intimacy.
In fact, the healthy expression of all negative emotions – sadness, fear, disgust, envy and shame – is critical to maintaining a strong sense of authenticity, leading to life of integrity and meaning.
Marriage Therapy in NYC
spiral2grow Marriage and Family Therapy has marriage counselors and marriage therapists, who are helping and building successful marriages as well as saving marriages in crisis. We offer proven marriage counseling and couples therapy in a variety of formats: individual marital counseling, couples counseling, saving your marriage classes and saving marriage workshops. While there are some couples who do experience profound marital satisfaction with little if any serious conflict along the way, for the majority of couples things happens. For multiple reasons, if the problems of marriage are ignored and not dealt with, or when one partner intimidates the other into backing down or shutting up, a tremendous rift between partners is created and the marriage reach a danger zone.
Many married couples experience major disappointments, arguments, family difficulties and realize that their marriage is in distress. When a marriage is on the rocks or when couples are working their way back from a near-divorce, they are faced with the ultimate challenge. Re-establishing commitment, trust and infusing the partnership with love and care takes introspection, compassion, forgiveness, patience and effort.
It is ,also, important to be present in the relationship, not only physically but also mentally. Pay attention to your partner, there will always be something new to learn about him/her. Once you realize what things your partner longs for, you will build a deeper connection and leaving the marriage or engaging in adultery will be the last thing that would enter his/her mind.
Couples who would like to save their marriage should consider marriage therapy. Yet, it is important to note that you don’t have to wait for a relationship to deteriorate. The sooner you arrive to counseling, the greater is the benefit and the better the success.
Save My Marriage – Marriage Help Overview
If you feel your marriage is failing, if you are facing marital crisis or challenge, it is critical that you start the process of saving your marriage now. . . before things spiral into a place that is truly irreparable. If you do not take action, the negative momentum of the relationship moves against you and before you know it, the relationship is too far gone.The failure of a marriage is never due to one specific thing, but a culmination of things which are at first ignored until the situation becomes untenable. No marriage crisis appears overnight. Rather, the crisis builds slowly over time. This is why the sooner you seek help from a professional marriage therapist, the better you will be prepared to move forward and begin the healing and progress. Remember, it is never too late to save your marriage to start creating the marriage of your dreams, yet seeking marriage help soon is critical. Forgiveness, change, rebuilding trust and seeking help are key to saving your marriage. This is why you need marriage counselor to teach exactly what you need to know. Don’t wait for your marriage to get divorced. Don’t wait for your dreams and hopes that you both had for this relationship to die if you want to save your marriage.
When Should You Seek Marriage Help?
The followings are few examples when marriage counseling can be helpful:
- Repeated negative interaction that creates distance and distrust in the relationship
- Diminished or nonexistent affection and/or sexual desire
- Feelings of loneliness or alienation in the relationship
- Betrayal or breach of trust in the relationship
- Life trauma or dramatic change in life situation
- Addictive behaviors; for example drugs, alcohol, pornography, gambling
- Lack of connection or intimacy in the relationship over long periods of time
Couples should consider marriage therapy when the relationship has become unhappy or unfulfilled for one or both partners and the continuation of the relationship is threatened. Yet, it is important to note that you don’t have to wait for a relationship to deteriorate. The sooner you arrive to counseling, the greater is the benefit and the better the success.
Preparing for Marriage/Couples Therapy
spiral2grow Marriage and Family Therapy help couples build successful relationship. A licensed marriage therapist, Moshe Ratson offers proven marriage counseling and couples therapy for individuals and couples, while providing workshops for marriage improvement and enhancement.
How to Prepare for Marriage/Couples Counseling to Make it Effective?
Frequent arguments, anger escalation, power struggle, infidelity, financial difficulties, in-laws issues are only few examples of negative dynamics that many couples face in their relationships. If couples find themselves stuck in vicious cycles or find it difficult to solve, it would be wise to seek guidance of a professional counselor who specialize in relationship counseling.
A therapist can provide an un-biased and professional perspective on the marital challenges; guiding couples making positive change toward better relationship. Unfortunately, too many couples mistakenly believe that counseling is a quick fix while the counselor is going to “correct” the problem in the relationship, mainly the issues of the other spouse so that they can live happily ever after. Obviously this is one example a misconception that many couples have about therapy. So, if you are planning on investing time, money and energy on couples therapy, it would be wise to have the right perspective and prepare yourself for the counseling process. If you are interested in planning marriage or couples counseling and to set the right expectation, the following are few guidelines that will help you create an effective therapy process that will lead to successful results.
- HAVE A VISION
It is important to have a vision of the life you want and the relationship you aspire for. A vision involves identifying and imagining something you really want. A vision includes the passion that provides the driving force to create a sustained effort to bring it to reality. Know which kind of relationship you want to have as well as the kind of partner you want to be. Many times couples have competing visions that create division. Try to establish unity and common vision that would help you and your partner refocus on the same goals, purpose and vision.
- DEFINE YOUR GOALS
A vision creates a bigger picture which must always be in front of you. Think about what it is that you hope to get from your marriage therapy even before you start the counseling. Define the skills you want to learn and the problem you want to solve. Remember that you want to improve your relationship and be happy, so move away from small issues, unimportant argument or misunderstanding. Focus on big matters, vicious cycles and unhealthy dynamics that hinder your relationship; focus on promoting flexibility and happy relationship rather than being right or defending principles that makes you rigid. Remember that normally there is a tension between short-term gratification and the long-term goal of creating a healthy and fulfilling relationship.
- BE PROACTIVE RATHER THAN BEING REACTIVE
Reactive behaviors are driven by emotionality, impulsivity and short term desires. Proactive attitude allows us to move away from being victimized and passive toward responsibility and compassion. It is one of the building block of self reflection and personal growth. Understand that the therapist is not responsible for fixing your relationship but rather than guiding and empowering you to make the necessary changes. Regardless what other people or your partner do with their lives decide to take charge of your life to make your life more fulfilling.
- TAKE RESPOSIBILITY
Proactively leads to responsibility. Responsibility equals “Response Ability.” That means you are responsible for everything you say and do, and you are in charge of yourself, your relationship and your life and ultimately your happiness. The expression “taking responsibility” is somewhat misleading. The reality is that if we want it or not we always respond to external stimulations. We actually have no choice but to respond, even if we do nothing. The main point is to recognize that you are the one that needs to take care of yourself as no one can do it for you. The more you improve your response to the problem (how you think about it, how you feel about it and what you do about it) the more successful you will have in your relationship. The key is self-responsibility, not selfishness.
- BE OPEN TO CHANGE
Therapy is about change, which can be scary and difficult. However, if you and your partner are each open to making changes, you will have greater opportunities and better chance of succeeding in counseling. Compromise and good will is important element in order to create change and make the marriage better. If you are willing to be creative and open to new ideas, including any suggestions the therapist gives, you will find the counseling sessions to be more productive.
- EXPECT DISCOMFORT DURING CHANGE
Changing anything including adapting new ways of thinking or doing things brings emotional discomfort. The change puts you in unfamiliar and uncomfortable zone and pushes your limit. This is only natural. At first when thinking about change or staring taking actions, there might be an emotional risk. Experiencing internal change and building new skills requires tolerating strong emotions, which is not easy. But the fact is that you will never be able to encounter different worlds if you always stay safe in your comfort zone. The more you push yourself into this uncomfortable territories, you expand your freedom and personal growth.
- HAVE COURAGE
Creating change is not easy and builds commotional pressure. The discomfort of change requires courage to face it. It also takes courage to love and build relationship. Nothing makes you feel more vulnerable and exposed and often feeling out of control than love. Deep love gives you exciting, exhilarating, uplifting, and joyous to your heart, but you won’t get to experience the gifts of love without courage. Uncomfortable feelings let you know you are not prepared. If you view these feeling in that way, it becomes a signal to you that you need to continually work on yourself be better. So, have the courage to face the difficult feelings and act and toward love and better relationship.
- THINK INFLUENCE RATHER THAN CONTROLING
Everyone has something they would like to change in their partner. Clearly, the greatest improvement in a couples’ relationship come when both people change and grow. To establish such positive environment, partners need to create an environment that is conducive to change. This is why thinking in terms of influencing your partner rather than controlling your partner is so critical. No one wants to be controlled as it only brings resistance. Be soft with your partner when asking them to change. Explain to them what you will do to help them make the change you want. When both partners focus on themselves and make positive changes that have meaning to the other, it serves as reinforcement and is a catalyst for additional positive changes.
- BE CONSTRUCTIVE, SPECIFIC AND CLEAR
While criticism can be destructive, constructive criticism can be a relationship-building and enhancing. For example, if your partner spend less time with you and you would you like spend more quality time with your partner, you better say it. If you would like your partner to be more expressive, you better tell him that. The key point is to be able to express your need constructively, respectfully and gently. It is important to be specific and clear about the desired behavior that you would like to see rather than attacking the character of the person or assuming the intention of your partner.
- ANALYZE YOUR COMMUNICATION
Communication is the basis for healthy relationship, and inability to communicate in constructive ways creates the majority of the problems in a relationship. Communication means that you are able to express and share things about your thoughts, feelings and needs. It also means that you carefully listen to your partner and understand them. By learning to communicate your positions clearly, respectfully and assertively, you can turn problems, conflict and challenges into constructive discussion that provides the spring board to improve your relationship. Communication is a habit that requires constant practice and conscious effort. A therapist can guide you toward healthy ways of communication that alleviates misunderstandings and brings harmony.
- UNDERSTAND YOUR PARTNER AND BE EMPATHETIC
Be supportive and offer reassurance and encouragement to your partner. Try to understand their resistance and even more importantly be empathetic and non-judgmental. Knowing why they are or are not willing to change will help you understand what motivates them. Deeply understand and accept their concerns and encourage them to do their best. If you are not clear about your partner position, ask constructive questions. Questions will help clarify things and uncover reasons beneath causes and situations.
- BE YOUR BEST SELF
When you focus on making yourself the best person you can be, you make yourself as well as your marriage stronger. The greatest gift you can give to yourself and your partner is your own personal development. Don’t wait for circumstances or other people to change, take the initiative and change what you can. By being your best, you also serve as a role model to your family and enable them to be their best person. So, when you strive to be your best self everyone wins. You will be a better partner, a better parent and a better citizen.
- FOCUS ON POSITIVES RATHER THAN JUST ON PROBLEMS
You are probably familiar with Rick Hanson “The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.” Unfortunately the brain has evolved to focus on the negatives rather than the positive. It is mainly true in romantic relationship when you focus on what wrong with your partner and what is wrong in the relationship. As such, you rarely take the time to appreciate what you have in the relationship or praise your partners for what you do like. The problem is that you expect things to be good: to receive the good without having to do anything to make them good. It’s easy to lose sight of the areas in which relationship function effectively. So, make an effort to be positive and appreciative to what you have. Also, don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills and more positive energy.
- TAKE SMALL STEPS
Lao Tzu wrote “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” The idea of small step approach is a philosophy for life that help us reach major goals by breaking tasks into small and manageable steps. If you are able to be creative and find new ways to interact in your relationship, you will be able to transform your dynamics and improve your life. In the same manner, building mini healthy habits not only creates good habits, but also uproot bad habits. So, remember, small steady steps bring incremental change that lead to big results.
- BE PATIENT AND COMMIT TO THE PROCESS
It is important to realize that successful counseling does not happen overnight and your problems will not be fixed immediately. It simply takes effort to sustain improvement over time – staying conscious of making a modification over time – being aware to be more giving, more appreciative, more respectful etc. It takes effort to think, pay attention and act. So, remain consistent with the counseling treatment to make the most efficient progress.
To summarize, the main goal of the counseling process is increasing your knowledge about yourself, your partner and the patterns of interaction between you. It is about finding new more effective ways to build motivation and act in a mature way that is conducive to attain your relationship goals. Psychotherapy becomes effective as you apply new knowledge to break ineffective patterns and develop better ones.
In-laws may be toxic and they may have a limiting and negative impact on our relationships. Not all in-laws are difficult, but some are.
Even when our husbands, wives and partners are “perfect,” it can still be hard to get along with their parents. The reasons we clash with in-laws vary, but there are a few core issues at the center of every dysfunctional in-law relationship. From old pain, cultural differences, expectations to inability to let go. This is why it is important to understand why in-law dynamics are so tricky, so you can manage those issues in a healthy way.
In marriage therapy you will learn how to spot and understand and manage the toxic behavior your in-laws are exhibiting before it destroys the close emotional connections you and your partner share.
Signs you’ve got a toxic in-law:
- Spotting the signs of a toxic in-law is crucial in protecting our relationships.
- They refuse to respect boundaries
- They attempt to control your relationships.
- They turn you and your partner against each other
- They hold on to old-fashioned ideas that contradict yours
- They are critical and make you feel bad
- They insert themselves into private discussions and decisions
- They show up without notice
- They promote drama and chaos
- They act aggressive or passive-aggressive way
- They are stuck cannot let go of past events
While every relationship and very situation is different there are some fundamental skills you can use to limit in-laws’ impact on your relationship.
Here are a few ideas:
- Become a united front
- Communicate and share your feelings and need
- Let your partner know that you need to work together on this problem
- Consider the situation from every perspective and brainstorm solutions
- Agree on the terms and make a plan of change
- Establish healthy boundaries
- Let your partner take the lead and support each other
- Adjust your own attitude about the situation
- Focus on changing your behavior
Parents with New baby
Expecting a Baby? Having a baby or young kids? It is normal for a family during that time to face stress and challenges. Survey has shown that a couples’ satisfaction takes a deep dive after the first child is born. And according to the Gottman Relationship Institute about two-thirds of couples become dissatisfied with their relationship within three years of having a child.
It is undeniable that being a parent is a unique experience that brings tremendous joy. Baby is the most joyous, miraculous and bonding experience for parents. When baby comes, it transforms you from a couple to a family. With that change, new profound challenges come out. A new born creates high level strain to the marriage. It is important to note that a baby does not solve couple’s problems by giving you a common project and unites you. In fact, often, a baby magnifies whatever issues you may have had before. This another reason why it is important to make sure that your marriage stays strong and satisfying.
More than ever, young families with babies and young children face greater challenges. During “baby times,” conflict increases and sex and emotional distance can easily developed. It is not surprising to see a larger number of mental-health professionals, especially marriage and family therapists, advise couples to undergo pre-baby counseling to deal with the baby-related issues, responsibilities, finance and expectations for sex, intimacy and social lives. My pre-baby or postpartum marriage programs are customized to fit your life situation, work, and values while building marriage, parenting and family skills.
In my family and couples counseling we will address the above issues and:
- Learn relationship and parenting skills that will help you make an easier transition from being a couple to being a happy family.
- Build a strong family skills and foundation is key to harmony and even more important so that you will be ready to balance baby and romance, creating a home where you and your new baby will thrive.
- Gain the necessary tools you need to work as a team as you face new responsibilities and ways to nurture your closeness on a daily basis.
For many years, I have helped couples successfully navigate through the challenges of life including the transition to parenthood to create happy families. All family issues such as marriage dynamics, parenting, intimacy, sex and family life are going to be discussed and addressed. I feel privileged to guide new parents in creating a happy balance of marriage, work and kids.
A list challenges couples face after having a baby:
- Parents may experience exhaustion, sleep deprivation, stress, incompetency and overwhelming feelings
- Change in priority, while focusing on the baby
- Build conflict resolution skills (including resolution long-standing conflicts)
- Increased responsibilities and workload
- Change in roles and household chores
- Baby brings about new challenges that question core values and beliefs
- Possible areas of conflict such as style and attitude toward parenting, childcare and schedules
- Greater financial strain
- Potential issues with extended family (especially in-laws)
- A baby brings a third party into the couple hood , which amplify conflict and argument
- Increased workload requires greater resources, which makes less energy and time for each other
- Break old patterns of relating that create distance
- Intimacy becomes dulls and conversation is mostly around a “baby survival” issues
- Some women may suffer from post depression and anxiety
- Partners may feel left out with the new responsibility and priority
- Sexual and romantic challenges amplify and partners may feel rejected, unattractive, less sexual etc.
- Parents may be sleep-deprived, stressed and short-tempered.
- Women’s hormonal changes, the physical demands of childbirth and nursing
- Spouses Partner may feel alone with new responsibilities and one or both may feel like the other’s not pulling his or her share
- Maintaining a healthy marriage post-baby takes a lot of time and energy
since we understand the importance of money and finance, spiral2grow, a counseling center in NYC, provides financial counseling for individuals and couples. We offer proven couples counseling, marriage therapy and financial coaching in a variety of formats: individual counseling, couples counseling and, marriage therapy.
Money is a desirable commodity that most people wish to possess. It evokes many emotions and strong believes. Not only do attitudes vary, but personality traits, upbringing, life circumstances and social perspectives mold one’s relationship to money. No wonder that financial and money issues are a common source of conflict between partners and often cause stress, anger, distress and unhappiness. No matter what differences couples have, how long you have been married, couples can benefit from discussing their financial issues:
Establish an equal status for both of you in financial choices. Don’t attached moral values to personal choices and decisions. Being frugal is no more honorable than being a responsible spender. Abstain from feeling more powerful if you are the sole or greater earner in the family. Your partner is doing his or her share in carrying the rest of the family’s load.
Establish a spending plan. Make a list of your fixed and flexible expenses and discuss how you will address them. Make decision how to spend.
Develop a family budget, even if you are meeting all your monthly expenses, to become more fully aware of all the fixed and optional expenses.
Plan for the immediate and distant future. Before you can create a plan, you must determine what you want to achieve. Discuss your financial wishes for the present and future and the meaning they have for you. Often the mere wish may seem frivolous, while the deeper meaning provides the insight that makes accommodating it worthwhile. Make a plan for how you will handle unforeseen expenses. Decide when and how you want to retire.
Be on the same financial page. Many couples make assumptions about their spouse’s financial expectations. This is an opportunity to make sure that you are on the same page. Finding out the meaning you and your partner hold, having a mutual understanding and respect as well as reaching mutual agreement about financial matters can tremendously impact your relationship for the positive.
Creating and implementing a written plan will minimize your stress and help you meet the inevitable challenges that life will bring with confidence. Solving financial problems and differences requires equality, respect, openness and consideration with healthy communication skills and effective conflict resolution skills. Using these tools can lead to a deeper connection between partners. Remember, even in the best of times, developing and sustaining a successful marriage is hard work. One of the top stressors in a marriage is financial hardship. It’s never too early or too late to create or adjust your financial plan.
How to Overcome Breakup and Divorce
Breakup and divorce is a devastating outcome for individuals and families. Going through the difficult process of breaking up relationships, particularly marriage or significant relationship is not easy. Regardless of how it happened and what are the reasons, breakup of a loving relationship can turn your whole world upside down while bringing with it painful feelings and emotional chaos. You might experience a roller coaster of emotions such as disappointment, stress, sadness and grief.
A breakup, separation or divorce disrupt your routine (home, friends, extended family, activities) and even your identity. The unfamiliar territory also bring confusion and uncertainty about the future. Because of the above reasons, overcoming and recovering from a breakup or divorce is difficult. While there’s no cure for a broken heart, there are ways to ease the pain associated with the separation.
First, accept the loss. As painful as the breakup is, avoid the instinct to deny it. You must face your pain and the reality that comes after the separation. Understand, that the healing process won’t be easy, but going through it and experiencing the strong feelings of anger, pain and grief is the only way to move beyond it toward healing.
Realize that everything in life passes, including the pain you currently experience. At the moment you might feel that your pain will be forever, or that you will never find love, this too will pass. In the end of the process will come out stronger, healthier and more mature. In you look at every experience you have in life (if pleasant or not pleasant) as a learning experience, it the long run, it will serve us well.
spiral2grow Marriage Family Therapy, with its couples counselors, provide the relationship expertise to overcome breakup, separation or divorce. Moshe Ratson, as a marriage therapist, is able to guide you through the painful process of divorce to emerge stronger and wiser. spiral2grow in NYC, located at 260 Madison #8023, New York, NY 10016, offers proven techniques to overcome breakup and deal with separation.
Coping with a Breakup
A committed couple might mutually agree to end the relationship, but a breakup often takes place when at least one member of the couple in a committed relationship was no longer interested in participating in this commitment. The process of breakup can be stress, upsetting, hurtful and even traumatic, especially when it leaves the relationship status uncertain and the other partner without closure.
Discussing the thoughts and feelings regarding the breakup and considering the reasons why it might have happened could be part of the recovery and healing process and make it easier to move on. The breakup, especially of important, long term relationship may involve pain and sadness that associated with the loss. Taking care of self-care, physically, mentally and socially may ease the recovery process.
While breakup may lead to self-doubt, insecurity, loneliness, void, anger and guilt, it can also serve as a chance to get to know oneself and even more as an opportunity to evaluate priorities, values, and life goals that ultimately promote personal growth. The knowledge and personal changes that gained from the breakup, then can be applied to future relationships.
Working through a breakup involves facing the sadness and disappointment, as well as understanding the reasons that contributed to the breakup. spiral2grow can help you to work through the breakup challenges, overcome the pain and loss and prepare you to move on to your next chapter (whatever it might be).
Marriage Therapy or Counseling for Breakups
Experiencing a breakup may cause overwhelming feelings that are difficult to cope with, and can lead to stress and depression, especially if the ended relationship was a serious one. People sometimes refer to themselves as broken-hearted when going through a breakup, and the process of grieving a relationship is very similar to grieving other losses. In this case, psychotherapists or mental health professionals that specialize in relationship breakups can be supportive and help people work through unresolved thoughts and feelings associated with the breakup. In general, breakup counseling can help individuals get back in touch with personal feelings and needs and reestablish a sense of self-confidence.
Divorce Counseling in NYC
Statistically, the US divorce rate for first marriage is between 40 to 50 percent. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher. So, it is not surprising that many marriages do not succeed. The questions are why and what could be done about improving relationship to make marriages be healthier and more fulfilling. Without blaming and recognizing the reasons and causes for divorce, the end of any relationship, particularly marriage, is a challenging one. While some individuals may feel a relief when the marriage ends, others experience it as a sad and stressful event.
Divorce provides an emotional roller coaster. Even the partner who chooses to separate may experience intense emotions that may be painful or difficult, such as grief, fear, anger, guilt, uncertainty, shame, anxiety and confusion. A divorcing family naturally experience stress. The situation clearly amplifies if children are involved (and even more when they are young),
It is not uncommon for couples or individuals to seek counseling to figure out what to do and help them decide whether to stay in a marriage or leave. Others may look for guidance and counseling and to make the transition from being married to being single again. Both of these goals and others can be addressed in individual psychotherapy or couples counseling.
Psychotherapy for Divorce
The stress associated with the divorce can be emotionally traumatic. This is where individual counseling, couples therapy or family counseling can help. Psychotherapy for divorce provides a safe environment for all involved to cope with the process of uncoupling, which can be mentally taxing. This kind type of divorce counseling or therapy may allow some couples to better achieve the dissolution of the marriage in a healthy, constructive fashion.
Working with an experienced therapist that specializes in divorce recovery can provide an objective, logical and healthy perspective and furnish the individuals with a necessary set of skills to work through the hardship of divorce. People may often benefit from counseling by learning more about themselves, developing greater coping and resiliency skills to deal with difficult times. Through counseling and the process of divorce, people may learn more about what they require from a relationship, and they may discover more about their own nature, personal preferences and core values. Even more, individual come to realize life transition as an opportunity for personal growth, development and transformation.
In addition, a divorce therapist teaches a conflict resolution skill and may act as a mediator and set guidelines to make sure that the divorce is achieved with minimal opposition and emotional harm. Psychotherapists can also help address issues, such as financial obligations and support, living arrangements, visitation, parenting responsibilities and other conflicting issues.
Children of divorced parents may go through a difficult time. They may be confused by the divorce or feel guilt, loss, anxiety, or abandonment. Family therapy can be important for children to help them navigate their own feelings during a divorce and reduce their anxiety to establish a greater well-being. If all members of the family are able to discuss their feelings about any issues that arise as a result of divorce, they may be able to process their emotions more constructively and better adjust to the changes.
Why Do People Get Divorced?
There are many reasons for why partners get separated or divorced. Many people decide to divorce or not to divorce not based on one single reason but consider a combination of factors or problems. The following reasons have been found as some of the most common factors leading to divorce:
- Infidelity and lack of trust
- Lack of commitment
- Marrying too young – for the “wrong” reasons or the “wrong” person
- Lack of compatibility or constant power struggle
- Difficulties in bridging cultural or personal differences
- Physical and emotional abuse or neglect
- Unrealistic expectations
- Addiction – alcohol, drugs, gambling sex etc
- Inequality in marriage or unclear division of roles or responsibility
- Chronic communication breakdown, unresolved arguments and conflicts
- Physical and emotional abuse or neglect
- Financial challenges and disagreements about money
Psychologist, John Gottman, with his extensive research about the main reason for problems in intimate relationship, identifies and describes the following “four horsemen” as the main factors that predict divorce:
- Criticism, particularly when criticism is not outweighed by frequent positive statements.
For Example: “You never think about how your behavior is affecting other people. I don’t believe you are that forgetful, you’re just selfish! You never think of others! You never think of me!”
- Contempt and lack of respect. When we communicate in a mean way – treating others with disrespect, mocking them with sarcasm, ridicule, name-calling, mimicking, and/or body language such as eye-rolling. The target of contempt is made to feel despised and worthless. Gottman argues that this is the single best predictor of divorce and can be seen even early on in a relationship.
- Defensiveness. People who cannot take responsibility for a problem, cannot fix it and cannot display empathy for their spouse. When we fish for excuses so that our partner will back off. The excuses just indicate to the partners that their partners don’t take them seriously.
- Stonewalling, which is intentional avoidance of interaction and discussion of problems. Stonewalling is when one person shuts down and closes himself/herself off from the other. It can make it impossible to resolve an argument.
Adjusting After a Divorce
Divorce recovery is not an easy process. Adjusting to the changes that take place after the divorce can take time, patient and effort. Part of the process is often the recognition and ultimately acceptance that the lives of the newly divorced people and the lives of those around them have been profoundly impacted by the divorce. Concerns about financial stability, employment, housing as well children well-being are normal. Worries over losing relationships with friends or family members as a result of the divorce can also be difficult to deal with. Additionally, the psychological impact on parents and children may be overwhelming. Feelings such sadness, guilt, anger, resentment, betrayal, fear and anxiety may affect each member of the family and need to be deal with.
While these issues are challenging, t can often be worked through during the recovery and healing process. Therapy can help one work through those feelings, make sense of the end of the marriage, and obtain a new perspective. Especially, psychotherapy for divorce, or counseling after the divorce can help in the establishment of a new life, allowing individuals and families develop a healthy perspective on the divorce that leads to an easier time. While divorce recovery counseling provides coping techniques, it also provides people with a safe, motivating, and empowering experience during this difficult time.
- After the affair by Janis Spring – Book
- What Makes Love Last? How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal by John Gottman
- Fighting for Your Marriage: Positive Steps for Preventing Divorce and Preserving a Lasting Love – by Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley, and Susan L.
- The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships – by John Gottman
- Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples – by Harville Hendrix