Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Relationship counseling can help you keep the love of your life. If your marriage or dating relationship is not what it used to be, then read on. But first let me tell you a story.

A couple I knew many years ago, and one with whom my husband and I became close friends, perhaps even too close at times, married in 1975. I'll call them Bill and Julie. As with most marriages, everything was fine at first, even splendid, sometimes spectacular. Four years and two children later, however, things had disintegrated to the point that divorce seemed imminent. What happened?

Granted, my husband and I aren't marriage counselors, but from our perspective, Bill was most at fault. Of course we never let our thoughts be known for fear of alienating them as friends. In hindsight, maybe we should have. Bill domineered the relationship. He demanded that Julie do things his and his way only.

He wouldn't let her do many of the things she wanted to do. For example, she couldn't cut her hair; she couldn't wear makeup; she couldn't work outside of the home. Sadly, in 1982 their marriage ended in divorce. Their two little boys would suffer the consequences of their parents' decision for the rest of their lives.

Let's take a look at look at some issues concerning relationship counseling.

Would professional counseling have helped Bill and Julie resolve their problems? Possibly. We'll never know, though. Marital counseling is often a last resort for couples on the brink of divorce. Why is that? Is it a matter of pride? Is it a matter of money? Is it a matter of religion? Or do people, plain and simple, not realize the value of a professional counselor? Counseling isn't something that a couple should fear doing, even if their problems are minor. And, obviously, catching the smaller problems sooner can prevent the bigger problems later.

Moreover, couples who have married in recent years seem eager to try new avenues for solving problems, which makes counseling a good option. On the other hand, couples who have been married for many years seem less likely to go for counseling or to try new approaches, perhaps because it wasn't something commonly done when they were younger. As a result of their hesitancy, couples with marriages of thirty or forty years are now ending in divorce, which is a sad commentary on our society.

If you think you need relationship counseling, ask your spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend to go with you, but do so in a non-judgmental, non-threatening, and non-accusatory manner. If they sense your insinuation that they're the problem and need counseling, you're likely to encounter resistance to the idea. If for no other reason, make the fact clear that you want the counseling for yourself. Explaining to the other person that you have some issues you need to work on will make them more apt to view the idea of counseling more favorably, increasing the odds of them attending with you.

But whatever you do, don't accuse him or her of needing counseling--ever. Even if you think they're most of the problem, don't say so. Choose your words carefully. Once you're in counseling, they will learn tips and techniques that will help them improve and enhance their part in the relationship, just as you will.

With this in mind, don't be afraid to suggest counseling. Regardless of how long you've been in the relationship, it's never too late to resolve your problems with a qualified, degreed counselor. Much like a volcano, problems that appear small and maybe even superficial on the surface could possibly harbor a larger problem lying dormant below but is now ready to erupt. It's that eruption that needs to be stopped before it happens. And we do this by examining the surface problem for that which lies below it and rendering a cure through counseling. Face your problems in the present to strengthen your relationship in the future.

Bill and Julie's marriage didn't have to end in divorce. No one's does. There was no spousal abuse, mental or physical, on either one's part. In fact, while the divorce wasn't completely amicable, they remain on speaking terms today, even after all of these years.

If you're now separated or divorced, or if you're not yet married but have ended your relationship and want to restore it, I've discovered an excellent system for winning back your partner's love, if that's your desire.

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