End of the line?

Couples who seek my support are often in crisis.  Either one or both partners have reached the 'end of their tether' on some level.  They are so caught up in the negative cycles of their day to day battle they can no longer see the wood for the trees.  They often view what is happening in much bigger and bleaker terms than may be the reality.  Conversely, there may be nothing left to salvage.

The desire to save your marriage can be overwhelming; the desire to end your marriage can be equally overwhelming.  This is never an easy decision and takes time to understand the full situation in order to make a balanced assessment based on sound thought processes rather than hurt, angry, knee-jerk reactions.

Setting aside time for some couple counselling sessions will help to clarify the state of the relationship.  At its best, the couple can find new more harmonious ways of being together - to regrow their love and appreciation for each other - this is sometimes a surprising outcome when a couple is 'at war' and apparently cannot find a way forward.  Even where one partner has been unfaithful, mending and strengthening of the relationship can still be achieved with hard work, understanding and determination.

Sometimes, however, reconciliation cannot be achieved. After trying everything to save your relationship, if you still decide to separate, counselling mediation can be used to help remain balanced about what needs to be done in order to achieve separation . Goal-focused sessions where the practicalities of who is going to move out, the financial implications of running two homes and most importantly working together to ensure the continued love and care of your children can all be discussed in safety.

Spending some structured time together to sort out your emotions and the reasons for this ending can also be a really useful way to fully understand with clarity the need for separation. Allowing time to be reasonable, realistic and rational about your situation, without resorting to argument can make the difference between an acrimonious or amicable ending.

Children should not be used as marital glue - it is better for children to have two happier parents who are separated than living within the disharmony of an unhappy parental relationship

Investing in the bank of Us

So often I hear stories either from individuals or couples about neglect in their relationship - taking each other for granted is common until things go very wrong.  Only then the couple make an effort to save themselves, but by then it may be too late.  Whilst busy with the mundanity of everyday life - the demands of jobs, children, household chores - they forget to invest in their relationship, and pay the ultimate penalty for their neglect - relationship bankruptcy.

This particularly occurs when two individuals are busy with their young family.  They are parents and partners together and whilst caught up in the ever-increasing needs and demands of their young children, they often forget their own needs for mutual appreciation and for time set aside to be a couple together.

By choosing to find time for each other the balance can shift from 'all about everything else' to 'something special for the two of us'.  Taking time out for each other will give you the chance to remember what it is like to be a couple again - set apart from the family you have made together. 

This does not require grand gestures of gifts and weekends away.  A care-free walk hand-in-hand on a summer's evening; a getaway camping trip to be close to each other and the elements; a 'date-night' now and then.  These are a few simple ways to keep your couple connection alive - by making room for the 'us' you are making sound investment.  In the home environment, a foot or back rub offered without needing to be asked; a spontaneous loving hug; an admiring glance; a warm smile - these are simple little gestures that can help keep the warmth and connection in your relationship; stolen moments away from the pressures of life.  The children also benefit from seeing a wonderful demonstration of warmth and love, an example they can emulate when they are adults.

These simple measures can prevent the dissatisfaction that quickly leads to sniping and bickering  - which can in turn lead to major unhappiness between you.  In the hum-drum and excitement of life you can easily lose sense of why you are together and potentially lose each other.  All human beings desire to be someone's 'special person' but for each of you to feel special needs investment from both sides.

If time spent together leaves either of you feeling as though something is missing or that the love and conversation has died, it could be time to seek help to facilitate you to a warmer, more connected relationship.

Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike - J.K. Rowling