I have been married for 17+ years and understand that marriage is filled with trials and blessings. When working with couples my style is warm and interactive. My goal is to help you improve communication, effectively solve problems, enhance your romance, and rebuild trust and forgiveness which is essential for lasting relationships.
The following is a look at a dance many marriages create (adapted from John Gottmans, Why Marriages Succeed or Fail
). If these things are happening in your relationship it is a good time to seek counseling.
CRITICISM: Attacking your partner's personality or character, usually with the intent of making someone right or someone wrong. REPAIR: Learn to make specific complaints and requests.
DEFENSIVENESS: Seeing self as the victim and warding off an attack. Example, making excuses, It's not my fault or disagreeing That's not true, you are the one REPAIR: Claim some responsibility even if it is only 10% your fault. Ask yourself, What can I learn from this, What can I do about this.
CONTEMPT: Attacking your partner's sense of self. Examples, hostile humor, name calling, body language such as rolling the eyes. REPAIR: Rewrite your inner script with thoughts of appreciation. Validate your partner, acknowledge the good parts.
STONEWALLING: Withdrawing from the relationship as to avoid conflict. Partners may think they are trying to be neutral but stonewalling conveys disapproval, icy distance, separation and disconnection. REPAIR: Practice getting undefended, allow your partners utterances be what they really are; just thoughts and puffs of air.
Many couples never come to counseling as they fear exposing conflict will worsen the situation or destroy the relationship. I am aware of these anxieties and will help you find the repairs and the language to have a successful marriage.