*Not their real name
Patricia* come home early one day and was shocked to find that her husband, Larry*, cheating on her with their helper. She feels betrayed, angry, and confused. She fired the helper and the couple began couple therapy.
*Not their real name
Sex is important in a marriage as it is an expression of the intimacy of the relationship - you cannot get any closer physically to another person. Good sex is very much interrelated with intimate trust, friendship, and conversations that create emotional connection. Evidence is very clear that if people feel good about sex, they feel good about their relationship in general. Research has shown that in marriage, sexual satisfaction is related to relationship satisfaction, stability and love commitment. When sex is non-existent, it has a significant impact on the relationship.
As we step into the new year, let's look at 5 common problems people face and what we can do about it:
Some of the most common issues faced by elderly folks at home, with regards to their kids and grandkids are loneliness, lack of sense of purpose, relevance or importance, being disregarded, etc. While the elderly are trying to still contribute and assert their role in the family, others are not necessarily accepting that. There may also be generation gaps where each are operating under different perspectives, information, beliefs, and values. For some, the family had also change the main language of communication so there might also be language barriers.
Many of us is focused on pursuing love. Are we aware of the different type of love and how to identify true love? Look at the relationship you are in and consider which of the 7 types of love you are in.
With the prevalence divorce rate, many of us are now growing up to be Adult Children of Divorced Parents. Having gone through the turmoils of our parents' divorce, we now feel the past is over and we can focused on living our own life, cutting our past and leaving it behind. What we may not be aware of the continued effect of this hurt in our current, present lives as adults.
Tricia* just realized that her husband, Kent*, doesn't want children, and she does. Emotionally it's hard for her to accept. Doubt start creeping into her mind: should spell the end of the marriage? While they did not have clear plan about having children, but Kent had made some indication that gave her the impression that he wanted children too. Why have he changed his mind?
*Not their real name
Julia* and Tom* are having a secret war over money. Tom is angry with Julia because no matter how much he earned, she spent it all. Every month, not only do they not have any saving, she managed to rake up even more credit card debts. Tom has no idea where the money went or how he is ever going to be able to pay off the debts. Coming from a family where the man is expected to be the breadwinner and provider, Tom decided it was his responsibility to provide for all of Julia’s “needs”. His solution for the situation is to work harder to provide but he is getting very resentful that Julia has so much needs. Julia, on the other hand, felt neglected and ignored by Tom and decided that she needs to spend to make herself feel good. This is a habit she learnt from her mother. Julia also noticed that Tom is working a lot and decided that since money is the most important thing for Tom, she’ll hit him where it hurts so maybe he would sit up and pay attention to her.
*Not their real name
After the initial stage of dating, finding time to be together is a huge challenge for many couples. This is especially so for those who have the additional demands of children or demanding jobs. However, couple time together is important for the relationship to remain strong, and the closeness and intimacy to continue. So how can we have time for each other given the busy lives we have? Here are some suggestions in terms of ritual we can put in place in our lives as a couple:
Having looked at the goals of coparenting, let's look at how we can communicate so as to facilitate this process.
In a relationship, couples weather many problems and issues. For couples where 1 partner is struggling with some mental health issues (e.g., depression, anxiety, Asperger, ADHD, OCD, etc.), they experience additional stressors which other couples do not have to undergo. Many of them, however, do not have awareness about these unique stressors. Instead, blame would often be attributed to the affected partner personally, i.e., being uncaring, selfish, unkind, or even abusive.
For those who had divorced, parenting will have its challenges. However, may be even more difficult is co-parenting your child with other involved adults in the child’s life (be it your ex, new partner, grandparents, etc). Relationship stress often occurs when one or both people can’t agree on who is responsible for fulfilling what needs the child may have. Conflicting co-parents are often unable to nurture the child successfully. Effective co-parenting is required to help your child develop to be holistically-healthy, balanced, socially productive, and reasonably content (happy).
To nurture well, the co-parents need to evolve from their conflicts to having clear goals, plans, priorities, “job description” (roles), and rules based on consensus. Although individual co-parents will have unique goals, most parents will strive for some general, basic long-term co-parenting outcomes.
“For better or worse, through sickness and in health, till death do us part.” Extra-marital affair, without a doubt, would be categorized under the “worse” part in the marital vow. Its damaging effects are due to the fact that it shakes the very foundations of the relationship: Trust and Commitment. The discovery of an affair in a marriage often leads to a crisis full of emotional struggles for all parties involved. Eventually, should a couple decide to continue their marriage, some of the questions that would surface are “Where do we go from here?”, “Will things ever get back to normal?”, etc.
Whether a marriage would survive an affair is dependent on the strength of the couple’s emotional bond, as well as the efforts both put in the recovery process. The tasks facing the couple are two: rebuilding the marriage and personal healing. Here are some tips on rebuilding a marriage after an affair:
We continue to look at challenges new parents face to stay focus as a couple.
Many of us enter into marriage with this fog of love, passion, and dream. One day we wake up from this fog and start wondering where did our love go? This is often a crisis point for some individuals, and in turn their marriages, where doubts and despair start setting in. The fears that grip them are “Am I able to stay married if I don’t feel love?” and “Must I remain unhappy forever?”
Hollywood movies and romantic novels are culprits in contributing to this crisis, where all these love stories depict the hero/prince and the heroine/princess getting married and hence live “happily ever after”, communicating that just feeling “in-love” is enough to conquer all. What they fail to show is what happens afterward where reality, routine, chores, mundane day-to-day tasks, and other people’s (in-law, children) presence set in.
The arrival of a child or children marked a new stage in a couple’s journey. Embarking in Parenthood is definitely a huge transition – priorities shift, roles are redefined, and the balance between freedom and responsibility undergoes a massive overhaul. All these are necessary to ensure that the child(ren) received the best care possible. Some couples described this stage as shifting sands where each day present new challenges and they have to decide and redefine.
For some couples, after this initial stage of transition, romance starts working its way back into their lives and they start gravitating towards each other again. However, for others, they slowly wander off onto 2 separate paths of estrangement. This is why many couples identify “having children” as the point when their relationship starts to fall apart when they show up for couple therapy.
Why are some couples able to find their way back to each other while others can’t? Obviously a lot of that have to do with the pre-child(ren) relationship of the couple but let’s look at some of the challenges parenthood brings and what couples need to do to overcome that:
“I’ve fallen out of love, is there any hope for the marriage?” or “I was never in love with my wife in the first place, I can’t see how I can start now.” These are common comments that I hear in my work with couples in therapy. Couples often react in surprise when they learnt that they can rekindle their love for their partner, or, for those who was never in love in the first place, they can grow to love their partner.
All of us have our own ideas of what love is. These ideas may be shaped by examples from our parents, friends, books, magazines, and especially Hollywood romance movies! A large number of couple ended up in my counseling room fearing the doom of their relationship because they no longer feel “love”. “Not feeling ‘love’” for their partner is one of the many excuses for people to justify their affairs and/or decide to end their relationship. Couples tend not to understand that a love relationship is not just a “state”, it is a process of never-ending opportunity to love once again, forgive once again, to commit to one another and to the relationship, over and over, again and again.
Let’s look at the stages of development in a love relationship and where potential point of “divorce” or leaving the relationship for couple who couldn’t successfully transit to the next stage:
Are you often frustrated in your attempts to get your love messages across to your partner? Or conversely, are you having difficulties relating to your partner’s expression of love? If so, it may be that both of you are speaking different love languages.
Most people are unaware that there are 5 different love languages and that each individual has a primary love language by which he or she expresses and receives love. If you express love in a way your partner doesn’t understand, he or she won’t realize you’ve expressed your love at all! It is as if you are communicating to each other in a foreign language. So what are the 5 love languages?
Ms Ho Shee Wai