Nancy Newport LPC, LMFT
The most important relationship any of us will ever have is the one we have with ourselves. Getting to know ourselves better, healing old wounds that keep us from being or having what we long for, can be the bravest and most fulfilling inner journey we ever launch. There is a lot of focus on creating outer makeovers yet the most gratifying makeover or even touch up you will ever engage in will be the one you create inside you. I invite you to imagine your life without the barriers that may currently stand in the way of you achieving your fondest desires. I would like to help you build a solid bridge across that gap to experience the life, the experiences, the choices you were born to create.
I work with churches, ministers and couples to “tailor make” a course in Preparation for Marriage for couples who prefer private classes rather than group preparation classes. Specific areas are targeted that they identify as the most needed by them. With my guidance, a course is created of four to eight sessions to address these issues as well as others that I may suggest or recommend. What a wonderful way to begin marriage — a foundation created together, complete with realistic expectations and goals. Potential problems are predicted and prepared for. Couples leave the course armed with many new tools to help them create the relationship they both desire with strong spiritual underpinnings to strengthen their commitment.
Having worked in therapy in this way, couples are more likely to access couples counseling in the future if they find themselves getting off track.
In relationships, we all experience times of feeling “not connected” to one another. It is essential to notice when communication is not working and to seek assistance if necessary to get back on track, so we don’t continue to drift apart. When two people are committed to one another and to their relationship, these inevitable times of feeling out of touch can be seen as opportunities to go to a deeper level with one another. The journey of inner work and discovery when done as a couple can greatly enrich the relationship and deepen the bond of commitment.
Divorce and Co-Parenting
Relationships tend to evolve over time in ways we cannot predict. Sometimes that means a lot of change and potential friction, competing goals, challenges that seem unresolvable. Almost half the marriages in this country end in divorce. We all could benefit from a guide/coach to help us get through such a painful time and to thrive on the other side. Even better to get coaching/counseling before this end point is reached to see if you can recapture your motivation to work on your relationship.
Even when a marriage or partnership is ended, the family does not end if you have children together. You will continue to have a relationship with your former partner forever in co-parenting your precious children. The biggest gift you will ever give your children is to get along with the other parent. And the first few years after a divorce can be pivotal in a child’s continued development. Yet when a partnership ends, there tends to be bitterness and hurt. A willingness to seek help in resolving those feelings and freeing yourself to move forward is a very healthy step for all concerned.
Ongoing effective communication between parents gives the children a much healthier family life and sends a powerful message about the importance of putting aside differences motivated by love for the children and family.
Now let’s be very practical, this sounds good and yet is so very hard to achieve. In fact, the likelihood is that you are so full of anger and hurt that for a awhile you have no interest in getting over it. Yes, of course. So visit there as long as you have to and then pack your emotional bags and get yourself a ticket out of there. You don’t really want to live there and the price you and your children will pay is enormous.
When two families come together through love to create a blended family, all can be the richer for the experience. There are usually some significant challenges along the way and getting guidance on how to predict and then negotiate the bumpy spots can facilitate a more rapid adjustment for everyone in the new family. A strong healthy start makes all the difference. It is helpful to seek some coaching before the blend occurs (see Premarital Counseling above). Many of the potential challenges are so predictable that frequently they can be headed off at the pass before they cause chaos for the newly blended family.
I believe we’re going to find that respect and affection are essential to all relationships working and contempt destroys them.