Relationship Advice – Happy Vs. Unhappy Couples – Tips for Building a life lasting Relationship between Two People who are in Love
It is wonderful feeling to be in love and date each other. While dating prior to the commitment made to each other for a long term relationship, the couples meet for a while and then pine for each other till they meet at the next date. Everything is seen by them from behind the rosy shades of love and affection for each other. The emotions of possessiveness and yearning do not bring in the mundane communication of a daily grinds of life. But being in a long-term relationship isn’t merely pining for the lover’s physical intimacy alone.
Being in long term relationships will involve managing and taking care of many other lives in addition to the lives of the lovers. And it is not an easy task. . Both people need to accommodate themselves to new family atmosphere and new relationships in their lives. Gradually they will have to raise their own families to make their family a complete unit. They need to then communicate over many other issues in addition to the romance and love in marriage. Their issues that gain priority over love may pertain to jobs and careers, money and household expense, household work and taking care of the babies, social, cultural and religious affairs, parenting and in many cases taking care of the aged and old in the families. As a couple begins their journey into the long-term relationship of wedded bliss, their love for each other many a times may take a back seat and the love gets reduced to a few stolen kisses and quickies here and there.
The couple forgets about nurturing and keeping the flame of love and desire for each other alive. Soon the infatuation of physical hunger wears off and then the focus shifts from the affection to the problems. The stark realities of need for more money, career priorities and of culture, of religion, and of family may cause concerns and small squabbles. Before these squabbles get blown into major issues and a beautiful relationship begins to disintegrate. The couple needs to understand that every relationship is important in life and more so with the one with whom you have to spend your life time. Needless to say, that every difference and misunderstanding should be treated as worth working for and saving, once the infatuation begins to fade. Communication is the only tool and doorway to establish a better understanding; essentially the couple, need to take up all those problems that are causing strangled relationship .
In a country where approaching a psychiatrist/psychologist brings with it all kinds of taboos, fears and the unknown stigmas, reaching out to a family therapist by a couple simply can be a big uphill task. Most often the couple would prefer suffering in silence in their day to day disagreement and dispute rather than approach a professional family therapist. Approaching a therapist is often looked at as a step to lodging complaint against the partner. Couples shy off from reaching for the professional help because they do not want to disclose the problems they are having in their marriage to the family for one simple reason,”What would the people say “.
Let’s understand when do you need to approach a therapist and what process would couple therapy involve.
When you feel your communication with the spouse ends up into irritation and leads to the stomping of feet and rushing out of even a normal discussion quite regularly, the time to reflect is now.
When you feel your love has vanished and your acceptance of each other has been going down day by day, you need to be in touch with a family counselor.
When you carry strong resentment towards your partner on any account ,you should know,it is time to explore a session with a good family therapist.
When you feel you or your spouse has been losing interest in all kinds of spousal activities ,it is time to get a professional help to explore, understand, reflect and reconcile the challenges to your marriage .
Professional help can be available from an approved professionally qualified family therapist and not the usual agony aunts writing columns or providing readymade prescription to all problems.A good qualified professional family therapist necessarily should hold recognised postgraduate qualifications in family therapy in addition to a post graduate degree in psychology. The therapist should have a good standing in dealing with family therapy and counseling.
When you decide to eventually consult such a therapist you can be assured of total privacy and confidentiality of any discussion with the therapist.The professional code of privacy and confidentiality is absolutely sacrosanct for every therapist ,belying the fears “,What will people say”.
Let us now understand ,what would the therapy involve.
Usually the first session begins with the introductory process wherein the therapist is keen to understand as to what kind of issues,problems and disputes have been occurring in your family life and /or marriage.
The session involves knowing about your family history, the systems and the units of inner family circles within the family ,the communication system in your family and the power systems of the family.
The therapist is keen to understand the reasons for your contacting him/her i.e. the problems you are facing as a couple.How long has the problem been occurring and whether you have been consulting any other counselor earlier,if so what has been the impact of such counseling.
The therapist in this session evaluates the relationship the couple shares only on peripheral level as the depth of understanding and the misunderstanding would be assessed only in subsequent sessions and that too with a complete unbiased mind .It is not the task of the therapist to judge you,nor does the therapist acts as a complaint centre. The major task of the therapist is to understand the underlying emotional upheaval prevailing within the relationship of couple ,or amongst all other members of the family .
Though the families of the spouses or / and the spouses obviously look towards the family therapist as the complaint lodging centre ,but that definitely is an absolute misunderstanding of the process of family counseling .The therapist lends an unbiased ear and attention to every dispute,difference of opinion and misplaced emotions. The therapist is not a judge but a facilitator for bringing about better understanding of the misplaced emotions and feelings amongst the family members . It generally happens that the therapist is looked at as the mediator of the disputes by the family members,but mediation definitely has never been the scope of any family or couple counseling.
The therapist would also try to learn from you ,your career graph if working or in own business,the money position,the spending habits,financial interests if any and of course about the extended family members’ financial interests if any in connection with your finances.
Then again sometimes either of the spouses who has contacted the therapist,expects by default that the therapist would align with her or him ,but a true professional therapist approaches the counseling without any kind of preset mindset.The main task of the family therapist is to understand the tensions ,stresses and hindrances prevailing within the marital /family relationships and evolve better perception of the problems prevailing between the marital partners and other family members.
The couple issues could relate to any of the following:
Relationship of either spouse with in laws and other family members. Household responsibility and commitments of members in honouring their responsibility.
Daily chores and spousal attitude towards sharing the chores.
Relationship of the spouses within and outside marital boundaries .
Marital compatibility of thoughts and emotions. Sexual adjustments and acceptance. Sexual orientation and attitudes towards partners.
Parenting plans ,children and parenting issues.
Communication pattern between the couple and the problems being faced in the communication.
Setting up priorities for the marriage and providing needed priority,time and space to each other in the marriage.
Modern couples also look for personal space in marriage as otherwise the relationship often gets suffocated with too much closeness .
Having understood all that has been delineated above, the therapist has to understand personalities of both the spouses ,the acceptance level or non acceptance levels of each others habits ,attitudes,opinions and daily functioning.
In fact a good therapist will help the couple evolve a new outlook and perception of their respective relationship provided ,the partners have the patience to continue with the sessions conducted over a long period of time varying from three to six months .the session may be conducted once or twice a week depending on the convenience and availability of both the spouses.
Though initially every session appears to be an exercise in raising grievances by the couple against each the other . The therapist’s intervention helps the partners read positive and negative cues of each others emotions in the right perspective and the couple soon moves from the warring zone to the negotiation levels. The negotiation is often done by the aggrieved partner to secure future as assurances and promises .The understanding levels though still remain far fetched and many more sessions will be needed to gradually establish a trusting common bond ,wherein an acceptance of each other is re-established amongst the family.
“I have always had a very problematic marriage and all efforts to make things right have been of no use. I have been advised by my friends to seriously think of consulting a marriage and family therapist .But every time I think of reaching out to one, “the only thought that comes to my mind is, “What if this too does not help. Let, me ask you a simple question, “does marriage counseling really work?’.
Priti (name changed) had expressed apprehensions about the process of marriage counseling when she had, asked me this question.
Experts differ on the effectiveness of marital issues in marriage and family therapy. Some of them will simply say no to any external intervention in a marriage. They are of the opinion that “marriage is sacrosanct and privacy of the bed room should stay within your bedroom. Most of them however will speak in favor of getting a professionally trained family therapist’s help. Marriage is often an adjustment of two different personalities who come together to raise a new family in their wedlock. In this journey some distance can be smooth, some part of journey could be rough too, where an external help can smoothen the edges and provide the necessary cushioning.
Your life can be difficult and beautiful both at the same time. The life of the newly married couples is like a baby conceived in the womb of a mother, giving tough time to the mother all through nine months of its growth from the embryo to delivery but once the baby is born life becomes joyfully beautiful, yet bringing with it challenges everyday of raising a child. The joy of watching your baby grow always is greater than the challenges that come in the process of being a mother.
Marriage offers similar such journey of smooth ride and rough road of mutual problems .The partners to a marriage love each other and at times hate each other but they continue with the journey of matrimonial bliss. Sushant and Daisy (names changed) are in one such relationship. They have had fights; yet they have been living into their marriage despite all odds for ten years. “It had never occurred to me even once that I should walk out of this marriage. I am from a conservative Christian family and Sushant belongs to a kind of liberated Hindu family. Our marriage had not been accepted by our respective families for almost five years. There were issues of social norms, of cultural differences, of devotions and faith. My mother has been a devout Christian and it was difficult for her to conceive that her daughter will not follow a religion of the family”. “Both I and Sushant had made a pact that we would always refer our matters to a third unbiased arbitrator in case of any of the differences that might crop up into our marriage. We found one such unbiased opinion and advice in Family Therapist and Marriage counselor Dr Ramneek Kapoor and all our differences get resolved to our mutual interest”.
“I have had many cases of family differences, husband wife disputes, cohabitation problems and other adjustment issues and working through their disputes and differences can really be worth it. Most such married couples come to us when they face communication issues, marital discords and even the personal ego matters, at the breaking point of their marriages, but they are benefitted by consulting a professional family therapist and marriage counselor who help them in dealing with those difficulties, look at their disputes from a much wider point of view and different perspective. The couples are encouraged to sort out the difference, take them on to find satisfactory resolution instead of being judgmental and giving up on the relationship. They are made to work hard to eventually come to an understanding of the beneficial fruits of making their marriage a success.
“Much of the ideas people get about their marriage counseling at times can be wrong. It is not necessarily the bed room story that is talked about in the counseling. A marital life holds many other points of discord and differences of opinions. There can be personality issues, adjusting with other members of the extended family, household issues, individual career matters, spouse behavior concerns, children growth subjects, older parental care concerns and of course faith and trust fears . Only a third party intervention may not solve these issues but a detailed worked out therapeutic strategy and planning with the help of a qualified professional Family Therapist and Marriage Counselor can definitely go a long way in resolving all such matters.
“It sounds good. It makes sense to me” said Dinesh(name changed) when he had walked into our clinic for consulting us on his broken marriage of fifteen years. “The problem is my wife feels it usually doesn’t work. We had gone to a traditional matchmaker to help us reconcile a broken marriage. Their process is not very professional”.
You really have to be careful when dealing with a delicate matter of marital compatibility and communication breakdown. It cannot be resolved merely by advice of do’s and don’ts. All matters need to be handled in a manner that the counseling given has to achieve the outcome, the couple and the family looks forward to. An untrained and non professional marriage counselor has no idea what he or she is faced with and how this needs to be analyzed and resolved.
In a complex family therapy situation counseling an estranged couple may be the hardest thing to do .It takes longer to resolve their differences and the couples are advised to be patient and cooperate with the therapist ,whose basic aim is to help the client come to agreement and understanding within them.
Surveys indicate that many of the match makers, social activists and soothe Sayers undertake family therapy and couples therapy. They do not possess the professional qualification and they never got their training into marital counseling and family therapy.
We need to understand that couples coming for family therapy and marriage counseling are mixed agenda couples. Often one or the other party will have thought of either divorce or separation. Traditional matchmakers or even normal psychologists will not prove effective in dealing such marriage counseling as they do not know the professional way to deal with those problems.
Much of the advice couples get from family advisors or traditional matchmakers sounds good to the ears but it doesn’t work in real life. When it comes to marriage counseling, one solution cannot be applied to all situations. Each marital discord will have its own unique dynamics and a professional Family Therapist and Marriage Counselor takes into account the uniqueness of each dynamic while dealing with a husband and wife disconnect.
Couples can at times become disconnected emotionally for various reasons. Their passion and excitement can wear out faster than expected out of their marriage if their fights and day to day quarrels continue. Their novelty can finish sooner as monotony creeps in into their partnership. It happened to Nidhi (name changed) who admitted in a session
“I decided to call our marriage off because I felt like I have been living with a rival roommate not a husband, after we got married his attitude and tone changed towards me. His true nature comes to the fore as he sheds the facade of pretended love.”
What can married couples do if they’re having some difficulties?
I would advice, “one person in the marriage doesn’t have to wait for the other to start working on the reconciliation .Either of the spouse could begin with positive changes in the marriage. Don’t wait for your partner to agree, you can initiate the process of contacting a trained professional Family Therapist and Marriage Counselor.Do Not say to yourself that things will improve with passage of time. That’s the wrong ideation. The key to succeeding in your marriage is to sort out the differences at your earliest. What better time to begin doing this than now. Now is the time to find the right therapist; who will help you to connect with the person you married .You do not have to wait to be lucky in love .You make it your choice to be happy in your marriage, the love will flow thereafter. Get in touch with us today, and take control of your marital bliss. Let’s make it happen.
One last advice though, as far as possible stop discussing with your friends about your marital problems. You must not break the unwritten code of privacy of your marriage. Many a times it’s fatal to talk about your marriage or your spouse to family or friends. It’s a mockery marriage’s privacy and it’s not the done thing.
You should come to us at Family Therapy India and we will help you resolve all issues of your marriage in more amicable manner .Find us @ http://www.familytherapyindia.com.
I love to go to a garden nearby to look at the plants growing and to savor their fragrant breeze full of oxygen and greens. And let me tell you I do love to speak to the plants in the morning as they open up their lovely flowers to the rising Sun and rebuild their energy which they gather from the sunlight .At home we do not have a lawn where we could grow these plants (we live in an apartment) . But on the top of the building where we have managed to rent a terrace we do have a few pots with plants. These plants have very tenderly been reared by my daughter with great care and love. I have seen the fresh flowers of white, red and yellow colors bloom to the plants virtually growing from little buds to the full blown beautiful flowers. Whenever I go the terrace I water them, talk to them and make sure they feel loved and taken care of by me and feel happy about this. I feel my conversing with my plants exactly is the reason these plants have grown from tiny saplings to the full grown plants adorning their smile into these flowers.
Similar to these little saplings and plants all kinds of relationships need constant communication, love, tender care, nurturing and sunshine of trust and admiration. If any of the same is missing our relationships tend to get withered away just as all those seedlings died which had not been attended to by me.
We would often take our relationships for granted once we have formed them. We allow the novelty and the freshness of each other’s company wear of, thinking, “now that we have each other where the hell can the person go”. It is easy to do that as you get busy with the daily grinds of life. But like the delicate plants that were given extra care by me to grow, each relationship too needs to be handled with full involvement and care.
In a relationship or in a friendship, we need to regularly spread the showers of mutual understanding, of admiration the nurture and love. Not all relationships may require you to go out of your way to attend to them. A periodic touch of getting to know about each person as to how he or she is living life ensures we do not feel cut off and likewise the other person too feels in touch. In the current age of internet and social media though people are always available online, yet the lack of personal touch and physical presence of good listeners is felt by one and all. People living under the same roof and sleeping in the common bedroom become strangers as they remain occupied in their own virtual world of WhatsApp.Facebook,instagram,twitter and other online social media apps.
I have many a times met such husbands and wives who do not have either time or an empathetic ear for each other to give at least a hearing to the partners when they need to talk. Being there with an empathetic attitude and listening with patience to the other’s point of view can go a long way in solving many compatibility issues the couples face in their marital life.
I am currently meeting and counseling quite a few numbers of families, where all family members have agreed to spend at least two evenings in a week on working days and every alternate weekend in a month together on family outing or family dinner and they have shown wonderful results in their understanding of each other. The faces of the family members more especially the younger members beam smiles as big as the rose in the picture above after they find their parents spending a quality time with them in such a positive manner.
Just as we need to take care of the plants, saplings and flowers an protect them from all kinds of weeds, strong winds, too much of sunshine, the same way we need to tend to the relationship by giving our empathetic, loving , and understanding physical presence and listening ears to all family members.
-Ramneek Kapoor – Family Therapist, Psychologist Counselor and Science of Living Expert.
Family will survive all storms with a little patience and perseverance
Every marital relationship is based on mutual trust and understanding. If ever such a question as mentioned in the headline above arises, your immediate response obviously would be, “I would definitely divorce him/her”, and that being an overstatement, you might get agitated and say, “I shall confront him/her and then ask him either to leave the person or leave me”. It is obvious we cannot tolerate cheating of any kind in our life more so if it comes from a marital partner. Hence the response from many without second thought would be, “I will kick him/her out “.
But what will be your reaction, if I ask you to reconcile with your partner in spite of all the betrayal inflicted.
Some of you will say,”He is talking out of his hat,” but trust me there are many others who would want to reconcile despite being betrayed. They’re willing to forgive and believe they can mend the marriage and bring around their partner to see the reason and come back to the marital fold.
It is true that most of us just cannot accept the idea of forgiving a cheating spouse, but you never know how you’ll react to that situation until it happens to you,
It becomes an altogether a different story when you’re faced with the decision of ending a marital relationship and the consequences thereafter you have actually ended many years long held marriage . You have spent a good part of your life setting up the marital home and then all of a sudden the fairy tale dream turns into a nightmare. It can really be shattering for both partners involved and more so I’d say if you have had kids in this marriage.
Some of the things that could affect the decision making to either hold on to marriage or move out of the relationship could be —living life without a father for the kids, living life without the kids, living life with lesser money, moving into parental home or moving into a smaller house, a different or lower standard of living, the possibility of looking for a new marriage partner again, and the prospects of your accepting the new life/new partner in your life. In totality it involves tearing up your years of brick by brick built home. Yes cheating is definitely unacceptable as it has undermined your value as a marriage partner and more so as a self respecting individual. But for many people it can be worth it to try to reconcile and rebuild from there. The decision to divorce is a punishment at both ends. It punishes the perpetrator and the victim both ie., The partner who has cheated gets that nightmare too.
If you have already made up your mind and you are in the process of divorce proceedings, we will advise you to at least give it a good second thought and pay attention to the possibility of reconciliation through the family counseling. If you decide to save your marriage and reconcile your marital relationship, you may want to follow some of the following important steps: advice:
-Do not just spy on your spouse: just expression of doubts can trigger distrust in marriage and if you have asked someone to follow your partner this spells into total betrayal. You have to learn to be a leader of your marriage and not a follower. Your integrity is the key word to your being the leader in your marriage.
-Just hang on to your marriage. The affair your spouse has been indulging into could be a passing fad and may end soon. It had been observed that most of post marriage affairs end up in 9 to 12 months time. Though you do not want to live this torture for so long but it could be worth it to save your marriage for your children.
-Your kindness can become the key factor. You do not have to treat your spouse with disdain, hatred or anger. You can be more accepting, more accessing, more sympathetic and more tolerant towards your spouse during this period. The kind attitude shown by you will bring about a feeling of guilt, repentance sooner than later and act on the conscious of your spouse.
-Use your seductive charms to your advantages.Do Not just grieve over what has happened and neglect yourself. On the contrary now is the time to use your seductive powers and your sexualities to charm the person like the proverbial music played by a snake charmer. Do not withdraw yourself into a shell; rather be more outgoing and more inviting to your spouse.
Soon you will notice the competition dying down and the vagrant partner returning back to marital fold. Even if it doesn’t happen soon do not give up, extend the rope a little more by your killing charms and soon the effect will take place.
Once the victory is yours, do not celebrate with a war cry. Maintain your dignity self respect and do not have a showdown with your spouse.You don’t want a spouse back with a dented confidence.Act natural and let the spouse gradually become so over a period of time.
-Ramneek Kapoor – Family Therapist, Psychologist Counselor and Science of Living Expert.
Family will survive all storms with a little patience and perseverance.