You knew it wouldn’t always be easy, but –
You’d probably heard people say how much work marriage was. And on some level, you knew “happily ever afters” really were fairy tales.
But you were so in love – and it felt so right you couldn’t even imagine it would get to this point.
Fighting over silly things. Feeling alone even when you’re together. Sleeping in separate rooms.
So often, the “issue” is NOT the “issue.”
After years together, stressors – both in and out of the marriage – have created hurt, distance, or bad habits. This is common over time.
And it can feel hopeless when you can’t define the issue – or you don’t feel heard – or all those hurts have piled up and created a wall between you.
Conflict can escalate to the point where you feel as though you traded a wedding ring for a boxing ring in your house.
But your relationship is not a lost cause.
You can learn how to identify and work through the real issue.
Though the “issue” is different for every couple, the way you talk about it is what makes all the difference.
With practice, you can learn how to keep difficult conversations going without cutting each other. You can revive the friendship that brought you together in the first place.
You can finally articulate the meaning of the life you’ve built together.
Falling in love is instinctual. Making marriage work – is work.
It can, and it does. And I’m here to show you how.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Before we start, we gotta have the “Come to Jesus” talk.
So often, couples come to me hoping I will do something, say something, give them something that will right the ship in 3-6 sessions.
OR, each is hoping I will make their partner see the light. Boy, do I wish I could.
My dream of seeing couples satisfied in their marriage – getting the connection they need as humans – would be a reality, and the ripple effects would be astounding.
But here’s the reality: This is a marathon – not a sprint.
You’re trying to turn around an ocean liner – not a kayak. And that can only happen with one small act at a time.
The kind that turns you toward each other. The kind that helps you understand your own needs and desires in the relationship. The kind that tries to understand those same things in your partner.
Don’t get me wrong! I’m NOT saying it will take years of therapy to get there. But it will take intentional effort in – and out – of your sessions. It will take awareness and practice.
As with so many things in life, the things we work at the hardest hold the most value and reap the most benefits.
“Are we there yet?”
It’s a process. And sometimes, we can’t see the progress day in and day out. Think about the nephew you haven’t seen in years. He looks all grown up the next time you do, doesn’t he?
One complicating factor is that this work involves humans, and humans change. We grow – we adapt – we evolve. Evolution is a wonderful thing, but it means you’re never “there.” You never “finish” learning about and adapting to your partner. It’s how you “grow” old together.
In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell identifies the 10,000-hour rule: to become an expert in anything, you need at least 10,000 hours of practice. He applied this to computer programming (think Bill Gates), classical musicians, and athletes.
But it’s also true of the skills it takes to make a marriage work.
While you may never “finish” working on your relationship, once you commit to the practice and develop your skills, you CAN become an expert – on your partner and your marriage.
Forget Dunkin.’ The world runs on intimacy.
Intimate relationships are the foundation of the family. The research is undeniable; people in satisfied marriages are healthier in numerous areas. (I could go on with an exhaustive list here, but I hope you take my word for it.)
Healthy parents breed healthy children. Healthy children grow into healthy adults. And healthy adults are the building blocks of community.
Aren’t the ripple effects exciting? (Ok, maybe it’s just me, the feelings and relationship nerd.) Seriously, though, if you two can better manage your stress as individuals and within your relationship, you have enormous power to make a collective impact.
But I digress.
That’s where I come in!
My excitement about your potential led me to seek level two training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy, an evidence-based approach to helping couples manage conflict and strengthen their friendship.
Making the complications of the marriage relationship tangible for everyone, John Gottman’s work has directed my personal and professional experience of marriage for a decade.