Part One: The Complexity of Marriage and Marriage Counseling

Examining inner and outer patterns of feelings and behaviors is part of couples therapy (Istock/.deva)

Examining inner and outer patterns of feelings and behaviors is part of couples therapy (Istock/.deva)

Do you sometimes wonder why there’s a general feeling of negativity in your relationship?

Do you wonder if you should go through the complex, painful and expensive experience of divorce? Is it the right course for you and your family?

Where can you turn for help? Are there really “Four Steps to a Happy Marriage?”

There is A LOT written about how to help a relationship. Goodness, just google this topic! Lots. What information can you trust?

Currently, the big three marriage theorists that therapists you find in your local community study are: Dr. John Gottman of the Gottman Institute, Dr. Sue Johnson, creator of Emotion Focused Therapy and Dr. Hendrix Harville, creator of Imago Therapy.

Which therapists can you trust? Many of the therapists in your local community study all three methods to some extent, but don’t certify in one method. This is because it’s very expensive to certify in any one method, generally there’s an annual fee payable to the organization for the use of their name and also because there’s a lot of other topics to study that will enrich their practice. It doesn’t mean that your therapist isn’t skilled in relationship work if they don’t certify in one method. In fact, in may indicate they are well rounded and draw from different methods in their approach.

I take a multi-pronged approach with couples. I draw from Dr. Gottman’s work as he’s been actively researching marriage and divorce for over three decades. His research provides us with a clear backdrop for couples to understand what concrete steps need to be taken in order to boost the positivity in their marriage and lay a better foundation.

I also draw from Dr. Johnson’s work in that we look at how underlying unexamined childhood wounds affects a person’s present day adult attachment style and interferes with feelings of security in present day relationships.

And finally, drawing from Dr. Hendrix, we look at the Imago construct, the false image we create and perceive that doesn’t allow us to see self and partner in relationship with clarity.

Next, we’ll look at some of Dr. Gottman’s work. He provides clear, evidence based information distilled from his many years of research about what predicts divorce.

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