Figures published by the Office for National Statistics in December 2012 show that around 42% of marriages end in divorce in England and Wales. They also suggest the chance of divorce is at it’s peak between the fourth and eighth wedding anniversaries.
Why do couples separate? Different sources say different things. Some of the reasons include lack of communication and differing expectations as well as perhaps the more obvious reasons like infidelity or domestic abuse. Issues such as the arrival of children, job loss and money problems, and also life-changing events such as serious illness place huge pressures on all couples.
For me, relationships should be based on love, trust, mutuality, honesty and a sense of being dedicated to the other person above all else. But can this be achieved given all the pressure? I believe so, and giving your relationship a chance to have a voice is one of the keys to this. It’s very easy to blame the other person, or even to blame oneself, for the problems that you experience between you. My approach from the outset is that blame is left out completely, and I encourage couples to lay any obvious issues to one side so that we can all see how best to address these.
I start with two or three sessions to establish a safe environment in which we can discuss what brought you to counselling. I will then help you to assess different areas your relationship. This might include an online questionnaire, and a session with each person separately. We can then see where the strengths are in the relationship as well as areas you feel you could develop further. A lot of the focus is around communication, and I may give you some exercises to help with this. Much of what I use has been developed over some 40 years of research by the Gottman Institute in Seattle.
It may be that the best course of action is for the couple to separate. I’m not going to claim to be able to save every relationship! However, even good will come out of this as you will each get a better sense of the need for preparation and improved communication as you enter any new relationship.
This may all sound rather daunting as you read this. My question to you is this – has your partner read this? Do you talk about your relationship? Couples I have seen have certainly found it helpful to talk about their feelings in a safe and neutral environment. Why not get in touch to find out more?