Couple counselling is for couples, regardless of whether they are married or not. Sessions take place in a safe space and look to improve communication and to resolve issues within an intimate relationship. Approach is a practical one, whereby couples are given "homework" to complete in between sessions.
2 out of 3 marriages sadly fail today, so there is more need for relationship counselling and guidance than ever before. Marriages fail for several reasons but some of the reasons include us living in an instant gratification society where we believe that if something is not working then we need to abandon it and find someone else to make it work with. Many people have a false perception of what marriage is and are ill-equipped to deal with some of the challenges marriage brings. Marriage is not two halves coming together to form a whole but it should be two complete whole individuals forming one. It is advisable to complete some form of a marriage preparation course, where any unresolved issues can be dealt with, before entering into marriage. Marriage tends to act as a magnifying glass whereby it magnifies any problems which existed before getting married. Examine your reasons for wanting to get married. Is it out of neediness and perhaps loneliness or is this truly the person you can see yourself spending the rest of your life with?
HEALING FROM AN AFFAIR
Everyone defines cheating differently, but an affair is usually a wake-up or break-up event in a relationship. Dissatisfaction is not the only reason that people cheat, some cheat simply because the opportunity presented itself. So while people don't necessarily go looking for someone else, they are seeking to be someone else. An important question to ask yourself if you are the one having the affair is 'Who do I get to be during the affair and what prevents me from being this in my primary relationship?'
How to start the healing process:
- End and grieve the original vision you had for the relationship and define a new one. Grief tends to come in waves, some days you might feel like you are on top of things, only to be triggered emotionally again.
- Focus appreciation on what is working and expand on that.
- If you were the one who was cheated on - be aware of hanging onto the victim/martyr role as this results in feelings of powerlessness. The more insight you have into your own stuff, the better partner you can be.
- Monitoring your partner's every move will not reduce your anxiety and it takes a lot of energy that may be better spent on improving the relationship. Frequent monitoring will often turn the relationship into a parent-child role and not one of two adults.
- Working through an affair requires vulnerability from both partners.
- Seek professional counselling to navigate the complexities of healing from a relationship. Communication needs to occur at the right time and in the correct way, counselling can assist with providing the safe space and tools to do this. Recovery from an affair can be a lengthy process.
Photo credited to Rachael Crowe
SEXUAL FULFILLMENT WITHIN A RELATIONSHIP
The most important step to achieving sexual fulfilment is to understand the differences between men and women when it comes to sex. Sex is not about satisfying a need it is about expressing one’s love physically and forming a deeper bond with each other.
- There is a saying which states that “sex begins in the kitchen”. A man who prioritises his wife outside of the bedroom is much more likely to encounter a loving and receptive woman when he climbs into bed at night. Physical touch throughout the day is often a great form of foreplay and will add to sexual intimacy.
- Both partners must be committed to satisfying the other before themselves.
- It is often difficult to always be in the mood especially in today’s hectic lifestyle and especially when children are added to the equation so it is vital to still make time to connect not only on a sexual level but also on an emotional level.
- Keep things interesting and avoid falling into a routine. Surprise one another and spice things up every once in a while. Leave a sexy note somewhere for your partner to find or arrange a secret rendezvous at a bed and breakfast to surprise your partner.
- Have a “date evening” at least once a month where you both dedicate time to each other. Make a rule that neither of you will discuss work, the broken sink, the children etc. but make a point to only focus on each other. It does not have to cost a lot but setting aside time to build on your relationship is vital.
- Communication is vital to learn to know each other and what each person values and enjoys. Do not ridicule each other if one partner dares to express their deepest desire.
- Respect your partner if they do not feel comfortable doing something and never use force.
- Be wary of the influence of pornography. It does not depict a healthy view of sexuality and it becomes about merely satisfying one’s own needs and not about the other person. Pornography also releases dopamine in one’s brain which can become addictive and men or women involved in viewing pornography may find their brain has become rewired only to respond to pornographic images and not to their partner.