69% of marriages have a perpetual problem that is never going away, says author John Gottman. The financial and emotional costs don’t end just because your marriage does. If your divorce is ugly, so will dealing with your partner be as time moves forward. You’ll be forcing your kid(s) to choose between you or your former spouse/partner at weddings, holidays, family gatherings and more if you don’t learn new ways of communicating, even after you’ve split up. And, that ugliness your kids saw growing up doesn’t end there. You’ll either become or try to become the favored parent. Maybe you’ll
Well, the first six months of my 26-year (still) happy marriage came close to ending before it even got started. We were acting like our parents and communicating the only way we knew how, and that included sometimes the good, but mostly the bad and the very ugly.
Growing up, I experienced the wagging finger by my mother toward my father. Then I watched my father stonewalling my mother; sitting there taking it in and saying nothing in return. Talk about escalating an already highly charged “conversation”?! My in-laws had their own ways of communicating and that included name-calling or ignoring each other, which is a form of contempt.
These so-called forms of communication or lack thereof, are simply patterns of unskillful interacting.
Did you ever learn how to communicate and relate to others in school, college or a Catholic Pre-Cana? Maybe to some degree, but usually, we just tried our best to get along with others. Ordinarily, there were no instruction manuals handed out. We just communicate with each other doing what we’ve seen or experienced growing up. Period. And, if you have been to therapy or marriage counseling, then good for you!
Now, there are Relationship Coaches, and I am one of them.
I recently completed a high-level Relationship Systems Coach Training and I am further equipped with more great coaching tools to help couples whose relationship is in stress. Perhaps you’re no longer communicating like you once did or you have financial concerns, job stress, lack of intimacy, not on the same page with how to raise the kids, or dealing with your mother-in-law, or ex and much more.
Coaching couples means a lot to me, personally, because it took me decades to get over the divorce of my parents when I was 20 years old. How did I deal with it? The only way I knew how at the time: I got married myself, just to escape the fallout because I felt my entire childhood had been a lie.
Although my first marriage would only last 18 months and feels like a lifetime ago, this was the way you handled things, or you did something else like have an affair or you ran from the relationship, as in separation and divorce. You learned how not to commit. You learned you didn’t want to make someone else happy (and that’s not a thing you can do anyway, but that’s another article for another time!). And, if you’re trying to figure out the math, no, I didn’t go to college at the time because education wasn’t valued by my mother (although my father was a college grad) hence the story ‘higher education is not necessary’. Are you starting to see any patterns you’re guilty of in your own relationships?
Fast forward twelve years and I’m now in a second marriage. The help of a few therapists, which was the only modality available then, proved great for our marriage. Yet, our relationship got even better when my husband participated in this same Relationship Coach training before me, at least a decade ago. Those tools and new ways of communicating changed our relationship for the good and how we communicate with each other. You see when one partner starts to change, the other either goes along or chooses something different.
Might Relationship Coaching be the answer to your marriage? I offer a 60-minute complimentary coaching call for couples to experience new tools right away, while we determine if I can help.
Check out my website for more information.
Terri O'Donnell is a certified Life Coach. She is an honest, straight shooter who is dedicated to using her training and experience to help people live the life they desire.