Marriage is a cooperative enterprise. The attitudes, style of engagement, and actions of each member of the couple determine the marriage quality. Marriage is a process that develops from validating, accepting, cherishing, honouring, and celebrating oneself and spouse. Marriage thrives on curiosity, openness, presence, adaptation, and empathy, kindness, compassion, generosity, and gratitude.
How a couple experiences marriage depends on the sense of self and skills of each of its members. Attitudes and behaviours attest to the personal sense of self and reflect one’s assets or deficits. A couple may seek help to improve aspects of their marriage, work through a crisis, or work through chronic problems resistant to past treatment.
Dissatisfaction, desire, and hope are essential for change. I support marital couples and work with them to develop a broad understanding of their problems. I help a couple appreciate the strengths and resources each brings to the marriage. Together, we create a portrait of the relationship they desire. I then help the couple to develop practical strategies for creating a fulfilling and rewarding marriage.
Approaches for helping a marital couple enhance the quality of marriage include:
- Establish and maintain a collaborative relationship with the couple.
- Develop a joint description and understanding of the problem.
- Identify what each member wants the marriage to be.
- Identify and highlight positive attributes and strengths that each member of the couple brings to the marriage.
- Develop a joint portrait of the marriage that the couple wants.
- Frame the problem in terms of the level of the development of members’ sense of self and skills, or psychiatric disorders or medical conditions.
- Identify beliefs, values, and experiences that underlie the difficulties.
- Helping members work through the effects of the experiences that support negative personal beliefs.
- Help members develop common beliefs and values that strengthen their marriage.
- Supporting members develop practical strategies for managing personal difficulties, promoting personal growth, cultivating a fulfilling, rewarding marriage.