"A divorce is like an amputation: you survive it, but there's less of you." Margaret Atwood
Stopping Divorce at the 11th Hour: Couples Counseling
Most couples find that they are willing to do everything they can to save the marriage, if at all possible. There is so much at stake when a couple gets to the point of considering divorce. No one wants to get to that point, yet many, if not most couples will reach a critical moment of either crisis or transformation. Instinctively they know that every effort that can be made, should be made. Even if you feel there isn't any hope left for your marriage, I can carry enough hope for both of you, until you get your second wind and start to believe again in the love and the deeper forces that brought you two together as a couple from the start. I am a Long Beach/Seal Beach couples counselor who can help you put the breaks on your divorce and pull back from the brink.
Yes, I'm afraid it's true. Once you realize that Cinderella and Prince Charming don't live happily ever after, you're faced with a heavy reality. But from a counseling/therapy point of view, this is the moment when you can begin to understand what it means to have a true partnership. As much as you may have been starry-eyed and in love with your spouse at one time, ultimately the two of you are two different human beings in this world. When you're trying to get two different people to live closely together and sync up their lives, there's bound to be friction.
We begin to think that someone else would be much better for us, much easier, more fulfilling. But when seeking a partner, you only get to chose from the other human beings in the world. When you are willing to see your partner clearly, you can get beyond the moment of crisis and a new era for the marriage can begin. You can find that your partner is the loving friend who can go the distance with you, and you can grow old together.
I would like to invite you to come to my relaxing corner of Long Beach to let the healing begin. Come early to take a stroll on the Seal Beach pier, or stay later for a movie or dinner together at one of the nearby restaurants. Keep the conversation going, or just take time for a pleasant hour or two together. I am committed to helping however I can, to get you through this painful and difficult time, and toward experiencing a new beginning for your marriage. I believe couples counseling includes more than just the time spent in the therapy office.
Many couples come in to see me when they have reached the end of their rope, and are ready to file for divorce, or may have already filed for divorce. While it's much better to come into marriage counseling before things get that far, it's still not too late. Sometimes a couple needs to reach a crisis point before they realize what they are about to lose, and how important it is to do everything possible to make the marriage work. If both partners are serious about giving it one last shot, then it is possible to save the marriage. In fact, this is the critical moment when a marriage has the potential to be reborn and to start anew. Marriage counseling can be that island of hope.
From my point of view, a couple is much better off doing the work they need to do on themselves and on the marriage than to just make the problems go away by going through with a divorce. In fact, a couple is often only changing one set of problems and difficulties for a new set of problems or difficulties. Especially if there are children involved, you are going to be dealing with your spouse for most of your life anyway.
Second and third marriages have even lower success rates that first marriages. This is because whatever issues have come up in your first marriage are actually bound to come up again, even if in a different form, with anyone one tries to have a relationship with. Marriage counseling can help you unlock the deeper difficulties that may have been a part of how you relate intimately and/or form attachments for a very long time.
And even if the marriage cannot last, I have found that the vast majority of couples considering divorce decide that they know they need to do everything they possibly can, and give it absolutely everything they've got, before they make that fateful decision and go through with the divorce. If divorce does turn out to be necessary, as it sometimes does, then having gone through marriage counseling, and having done everything you possibly can, you will be able to walk into your future without regrets, and without second guessing yourself. If if the marriage cannot hold together, you can gain the peace of mind that you truly did absolutely everything you could. That is actually a very, very important thing.
But let me encourage you to hold out hope for a little while longer. The moment of crisis does not mean that the marriage is over. It means that some kind of essential transformation will need to take place. This could be divorce, but this could also mean rebirth, a new phase of your marriage, one that might have been needed for a long time. Where there's a will there's a way! I would be happy to help get you through this difficult time, and on to a more hopeful future. Please contact me to discuss your marriage situation, and we can begin the healing process now.
Check out this article from Psychology Today:
A map for changing your behaviors that may change your spouse's mind, by Susan Heitler, PhD
In this article, Dr. Heitler talks about some basic elements that will be needed to face the problem head-on, and begin to take strong, healthy, pro-active steps to confronting the looming possibility of divorce. Many couples' counselors believe that when a couple is at their rock-bottom, and ready to divorce, that's when they need to give it one more year of serious and concentrated effort. That's where couple's counseling comes into play, if it hasn't already; (ideally, a couple should begin their counseling work long before they are on the brink of divorce, but this is not always the case).
A couple that is ready for divorce needs to include some couple's counseling in their process. I have found that 90% of couples, even on the very brink of divorce, don't really want to go their separate ways, even when they are deeply frustrated and in pain. What they really want is for their voices to be heard, their needs to be met, and their hearts to be treated gently and lovingly again, like they were in the beginning. What's important to keep in mind when you're on the brink of divorce, is that this is the critical moment when things could finally, truly turn around. Please let me know if I can be of help; don't hesitate to call or email me. Erik