January is known as “Divorce Month”…a month when there is an increase in calls to lawyers from couples seeking to end their marriage.
January is also known as Marriage Health Month for couple counsellors and the couples we work with.
It is our experience over the last decade and more that we have been operating as a counselling clinic, that there is a greater number of calls from people wanting counselling in January. As people look back at the previous year and evaluate goals for the next, they realize that they want change in their marriage.
There is another option between
- sticking a lousy marriage out, or
- getting a divorce.
A 3rd way… developing a different, more satisfying marriage.
Marriage is the most important relationship in our lives, and yet we often expect it to take care of itself.
- we don’t expect our teeth to manage without a dentist;
- we don’t expect our cars to go without regular oil changes and other routine maintenance, with the odd repair done when needed;
- we don’t expect our houses to clean themselves, or the laundry to magically appear clean in our drawers
…strange how often couples expect their relationship to run well without deliberate maintenance or tending!
In our experience, relationship maintenance or repair work when the cracks are manageable and easily repairable gets a marriage back on track. Connection between spouses is maximized and restored.
But when the relationship maintenance and the regular minor repairs that all relationships require are ignored, the cracks can develop into fissures and crevices that create distance and coolness between the couple.
Spouses stop being a safe place to land for each other, so they start protecting themselves…which in itself creates distance and further coolness as the relationship is no longer primary.
When protecting yourself from your spouse takes precedence over connection with your spouse, relationships deteriorate quickly. And it spirals down until one day one looks at the other and says, “I can’t even remember loving this person. I don’t want to be here”.
It doesn’t have to deteriorate.
Maintaining a healthy marriage can prevent a spiral into marital unhealth. If we can get a dental checkup, a physical checkup, a car checkup, a computer checkup…why not a marriage checkup?
Now…make no mistake…all marriages have seasons and normal “ups and downs”. I’ve heard officiating ministers, on more than one occasion, tell a bride and groom at the alter to take a deep breath and remember this moment of love and commitment. There will be times, in all liklihood, that the swelling of love at the ceremony will need to be recalled at a moment during a dark moment of tension and distance..
Brides and grooms need to be prepared to recall their love in a moment that it’s hard. Every marriage has a moment where one or both spouses want to attack or pull away or “throw in the towel”.
To know at the moment of celebratory love that there will be difficult moments ahead…and that is OK to have times of struggle. Struggle doesn’t mean to give up, it means to try differently.
Marriage is valuable and lifegiving and remarkable and hard and incredible and stressful and empowering and frustrating and sacrificial and potential-filled. And, ultimately, humans are hardwired to desire permanent pair bonding.
It’s important to proactively protect and build up this most-precious of relationships…to expect hard times, to expect to work hard to find strategies to work through them, that ultimately, years later will have a couple realize the strength that was developed in the relationship because of the weathering of those storms.
Do some relationship maintenance/repair:
- go out on a date,
- have an extra cup of coffee with deliberate conversation after supper,
- work through a book,
- take some online relationship-health quizzes and talk about the results.
- Or go for counselling for a marriage checkup.
We have a “Marriage Checkup” package.
The Marriage Checkup Package includes:
- The Gottman Relationship Checkup, a helpful tool that provides both you and the therapist with valuable information on the health of your marriage across multiple facets that research has proven important to measure. It is completed online after registering with us for the package, prior to your sessions. Consider it the equivalent of the “29 point Auto Inspection” that you get for your car.
- 2 sessions with Tami Shahnawaz to process the Gottman Relationship Checkup. She will review the results with you…celebrating the strengths of your relationships, and processing with you where there is a need for a “tune up”. She will facilitate helpful discussion between the two of you to improve the health of your marriage.
The cost of this Marriage Checkup $230 (includes GST) for two sessions, with the Gottman Relationship Checkup report. Special price of $210 for the same package during business hours. Additional sessions are available at our regular rates. Call us at 204 275 1045 or email us today to set up