Marriage-counselling-2

How The Art Of Forgiveness Can Save Your Marriage

It’s been said that kindness is the key to a long and successful marriage. And while its importance is indisputable, the ability to practice daily forgiveness can really be the defining factor in whether you make up or break up. So says a clinical psychologist I spoke to, who wishes to remain anonymous, and who has more than 30 years experience in couples and relationships counselling.

RELATED: Why Random Acts Of Kindness Can Boost Your Well-Being

Of course, there are some things, like domestic violence and unfaithfulness, for example, which often can’t and shouldn’t be forgiven – definite deal breakers.  It’s also important not to accept put-downs and cruel treatment – no one ever deserves that! But we’re talking here about relatively minor relationship disputes such as your husband/partner saying the wrong thing, forgetting something, being late and/or being inconsiderate and unkind at times.

marriage problems, happy marriage, forgiveness

After all, everyone makes mistakes, gets things wrong or says something that they later regret. So it is inevitable that our partners will do something to hurt, annoy or offend us from time-to-time. When this happens it’s totally normal and natural to get angry, but is it good to stay angry?

My psychologist contact says a big, resounding no! For prolonged anger can have significant negative impacts on our physical health and emotional well-being; the longer we feel angry the more damage is done. So, it’s vital we get over our anger as soon as possible and forgive our partner, she says.

Whenever our partner makes a mistake, says the wrong thing or is lacking in tact and consideration, we feel resentful and angry. If we can’t forgive these slip-ups and each time hold onto the resentment and anger, we will eventually have such negative feelings towards our partner that any positive, loving emotions will be overwhelmed,” she says.

“An inability to forgive and let go of negative emotions will lead to resentment and dislike of one’s partner and could spell the end to a marriage. Conversely, being able to forgive and move on is absolutely essential to maintaining a happy marriage.”

marriage problems, happy marriage, forgiveness

So, how on earth do we mere mortals practise the art of forgiveness? Sometimes, the forgiving is really, really hard to do and it might take time to work through our thoughts and feelings. And, if you have a slightly overdeveloped sense of vengeance when someone really wrongs us – certainly one of my failings – it can seem impossible just to let it go and move on. However, move on we must – for the sake of our marriage.

The psychologist says it’s all about perspective, baby. “After the initial feeling of hurt and venting of our anger, it is important to step back and carefully assess how important to you this issue is. Is it something you feel very strongly about, or is it something you can talk through and let go? If it’s the latter, calmly tell your partner how you feel and why, explain why what was said was hurtful and perhaps suggest a better way or saying what he/she said or did,” she says.

“If your partner is open to this and willing to talk the issue through, try and let it go and move on. How? Ask yourself how important the issue is in the great scheme of things. Will it matter tomorrow, next week, in 10 years? If not, there’s no point in holding on to it, let it go now.”

The psychologist’s top forgiveness tips include:

  • Be firm with yourself; engage in some positive self-talk, reminding yourself it’s harmful to hold onto negative emotions.
  • Imagine blowing all the anger and resentment into a balloon then letting it float away.
  • Remind yourself of all the things you like and love about your beloved partner. Think about great times you’ve had together, places you’ve gone and feel-good things you’ve done together.

In addition, the psychologist advises us to carefully decide if the relationship dispute we have with our partner is small and deserving of forgiveness, or actually something seriously damaging to the relationship, which you can’t overlook and need to address.

If it’s the first instance, we should forgive quickly whenever we can; forgive and forget the unimportant things. This is because forgiveness is good for our emotional well-being and the health and viability of our relationship.

So, ladies, hopefully that anger and resentment are gone by now and you can go pash/hug your husband and forgive him for his many failings, just as you’d like to be forgiven for yours. He is but a man, after all…

marriage problems, happy marriage, forgiveness

What do you think? Do you find forgiveness hard?

Images via Brain Body Beauty, Mamas Health, Motivational Interviewing Montreal, ter4ng.wordpress.com

May 21, 2015

What To Expect: Couples Counselling After Infidelity

Finding out your partner has broken your trust and had an affair can feel like the ultimate betrayal, but if you find you both still want to work through the problem and stay together, couples counselling could be the way forward. Naturally, after being cheated on, you’ll be going through a host of strong emotions, including anger, humiliation and heart break. But after time, you may begin to feel you can forgive your partner.

Bring back trust

If after talking through the issue you both still want to be together, then couples therapy can help to bring the trust back into a relationship. Marriage counselling or relationship guidance will provide an opportunity for you both to open up and speak about whatever it is you want to discuss. The councellor will be entirely impartial and help to direct communications in the most beneficial way.

One step at a time

If you both really want to stay together and have gotten as far as attending couples therapy then that’s a great sign for your relationship.

After betrayal from one side of a couple, it is only natural that there will be many questions to be answered and cracks to be smoothed over, and it’s important you realise this will take time. Relationship guidance, although just the beginning of the process, can help you to understand one another, find answers, be honest, and return over time to being a happier and stronger couple.

Selecting a counsellor

Having made the decision to go to couples therapy, it’s important that you don’t rush in finding a counsellor you feel comfortable with and respected by. When contacting a prospect, have a few questions at hand regarding their qualifications, approach to counselling and fees. Also, check that they are registered to a professional association, and meet them in person before making a decision.

Some people may feel embarrassed or too proud to go to couples counselling, but if it’s the last chance to save a relationship you really want to be in then it may well be worth it.

April 27, 2014

What Can Relationship Counselling Do For You?

Ok, let’s face it, relationships are rarely perfect and, if you’ve found that special person you want to be with, then some relationship advice can come in handy. You may need to reconcile a particular problem, maybe you’re looking for a better way to manage some parts of the relationship or perhaps things have gone a bit stale.

Of course, it’s usually possible to talk to your partner about any problems in the relationship, and sort them out between you. Taking advice from good friends and family can also help, but if you find things aren’t improving don’t be afraid to visit a third party who can look at the issue objectively.

Visiting relationship or marriage counsellors is not uncommon in today’s society and it may well save your relationship.

What to expect in your first counselling sessions

It’s totally understandable that you might find it daunting to bare your soul and reveal your inner-most hopes and fears to a stranger. You may also be worried about upsetting your partner or making the problems even worse. But remember that relationship counsellors are trained to be impartial. They will avoid taking sides on who is the victim and will not attribute blame.

The first thing your counsellor would probably ask is why you’ve chosen now to seek outside help. He/she will then proceed to ask each of you what you perceive to be the problems, and what you would like to discuss. He/she will do their best to keep you relaxed and maintain a respectful discussion.

Future sessions may delve into certain aspects such as your family life and what problems took place in the week between sessions.

If you’re thinking about seeking relationship advice then that’s a great first step, as it shows you care. The chances are that if you’ve gotten this far in your relationship, after some relationship councelling  you will soon begin to support each other in making the necessary changes.

April 20, 2014

How to Get the Most Out of Marriage Counselling

If you and your partner are considering divorce, maybe you should try getting professional relationship advice in the form of marriage counselling first. Also known as couples therapy, this form of marriage guidance can give both of you valuable insights into the troubles plaguing your relationship. Here are some ways counselling could save your marriage.

Identify the problem(s)

You may think the only thing wrong with your marriage is your partner’s long hours at the office or the way he avoids your family, but in most cases, there are issues on both sides, and couples therapy can help you to identify them. Both of you will need to speak up and say what’s bothering you — and listen when your partner does the same. It’s necessary for both partners to agree that there are problems in the relationship as well as acknowledge that they’re part of them.

Be willing to change

It takes two to tango, and it takes cooperation by both parties to repair a damaged marriage. To get the most out of marriage counselling, you must own your part of the conflict and be willing to make the behavioural changes necessary to get the relationship back on track. Each of you must be able to say, “Our marriage is worth saving, and I’ll meet you halfway.”

Have realistic expectations

Some couples expect instant results when they go in for marriage help. Well, sadly things don’t work that way, because you can’t walk into the therapist’s office, toss your credit card on their desk and say, “Fix my marriage now.” Your marriage counsellor does not have a vial of magic fairy dust that they can sprinkle over both of you and instantly solve all of your problems.

Both of you will have to be patient and willing to work on saving your marriage. You must invest time and effort into making your relationship work. Focus on the goal of a lasting marriage in which both partners are happy.

The fact that you’re seeking relationship advice and marriage help is a sign that both of you are serious about staying together and building a new, more solid relationship. A skilled marriage counsellor can help you navigate the stormy waters of a relationship in trouble, but both partners must be willing to put aside past hurts and concentrate on negotiating a more positive partnership. With the right help and a lot of determination, you may be able to make your marriage stronger than ever.

Have you ever tried marriage counselling?

September 25, 2013