Is there Hope For Your Marriage?
I want to offer you authentic hope based on real results. Many couples on the brink of separation or divorce have pretty much given up hope for positive change to occur in their marriage. If there is even a little bit of motivation left within each marriage partner, you can learn how to turn your marriage around, quickly.
Learning and applying specific relationship skills in a concentrated and focused structure will begin to heal the rupture in your relationship and bring your marriage back to life. Imagine being able to heal and change your current marriage and have it become the marriage of your dreams. Just think how you would feel about yourself and your spouse if you could protect your children from unnecessarily having to cope with the trauma of divorce!
Perhaps you will consider holding off with the separation, divorce papers and attorneys for at least a few days. I hope that reading this will give you enough direction, hope and motivation to seek a licensed marriage therapist with expertise in The Imago Marriage Intensive.
The Imago Marriage Intensive
In my twenty-five years as a marriage counselor, it is more typical than not, that couples come to my office in a marital crisis. If they are on the brink of break-up, they are in no mood, and in no condition, to embark on a long course of counseling. They need help now. They need to make changes now.
It was in response to this need for immediate relief that I developed The Imago Marriage Intensive Program that I have successfully used with hundreds of couples as a Marriage and Family Therapist. This concentrated, intensive approach to working with couples, has been compared to months or years of other therapy. Typically, the couple and therapist work together for 5 hours in one day, followed very soon after by a few two-hour sessions. I have found this method of working with couples to be far more effective in achieving immediate, sustained, positive change than the more common practice of meeting for a one-hour therapy session, on a weekly basis, over a long period of time.
The couple’s work is by no means complete after one intensive 5-hour session. However, during that 5 hours, you learn key relationship skills and are immediately able to effectively and consciously choose to change destructive behaviors and begin healing your marriage. These new communication and relationship skills will give you the tools, insights and structure to immediately change the climate of your relationship. A significant, immediate shift that I consistently see is the couple’s renewed feelings of hope that positive and immediate change in their relationship is possible. Let me assure you, for the majority of couples, hope for transforming your current marriage into the marriage of your dreams is absolutely possible, realistic and can begin to happen during the first 5-hour intensive session.
“Love is not effortless. It requires mindful commitment to behave in the best interest of your partner; to make daily deposits into the emotional account of your beloved.”
Immediate, Positive Change Is Necessary
I tell couples at the beginning of our intensive session that profound, positive change in your marriage in a day is not only possible, it is essential to decide to turn the course of your relationship around immediately. Most of us resist change until our feet are put to the fire, until the pain has become too intense to endure the climate of the existing marriage any longer.
The Chinese pictograph character for “crisis” is comprised of two symbols, “danger” and “opportunity”. When our marriage reaches a crisis point it opens up the opportunity, perhaps for the first time, for rapid, life altering change to occur. Crisis can be a wake-up call for couples to make necessary changes and move toward a fresh start.
We don’t ask someone with a life threatening injury to wait around for help. We take aggressive, life saving measures immediately. The Imago Marriage Intensive Program offers immediate help if you want to bring your marriage back from the brink of separation or divorce and/or want to quickly make changes in your marriage. A marital crisis calls for drastic measures. This is not the time for group therapy, a marriage seminar, or simply self-help. You need a licensed, very experienced clinician with specialized training in intensive couples counseling, who believes more in saving marriages than in divorce.
Crisis work is different from growth work with individuals or couples. Profound change must take place quickly, and must be sustainable. That is the goal of The Imago Marriage Intensive Program. Deciding to participate in the Program is a couple’s first bold step toward healing and saving their marriage. After learning structured communication techniques and intentional behaviors I usually advise my clients facing the divorce dilemma, especially if there are children involved, to commit to staying in the marriage and doing the relationship work for a limited amount of time, 4-12 weeks. After a short time it will become evident if their new, intentional behaviors are creating desired change in their marriage. We are looking for positive progress, not perfection. I often tell couples in my practice that a therapist is like training wheels. “You use the therapist until you both are up and rolling, and feel confident”. Couples do not have to face these relationship struggles alone. There is help available.
Having tried a variety of methods to help couples in crisis, I am completely convinced that an intensive approach is the most effective way to begin to help couples make necessary changes that will quickly shift their relationship on to a positive track. This book outlines the intensive therapy process that I take couples through, and presents a program of pre-therapy exercises that I suggest couples do in advance of an intensive 5-hour couples session.
The 5-Hour Intensive
If you decide to put forth your best effort for just 5 more hours, you can better determine if you and your spouse are able to make some of the key changes that will lead to the healing and renewal of your marriage. You and your spouse have the potential to achieve a monumental success by modeling tenacity and commitment to your marriage. What a legacy of love to offer your children!
Realistically, you can't expect your loving feelings to magically and suddenly change before behavior changes. If you decide to do the work of healing your marriage and learning and practicing new skills, the feelings of love, romance and pleasure will regenerate over time. When you change the behavior, the feelings will follow. Making changes in a troubled marriage is like planting a seed and watering it daily, keeping the faith that it will blossom. Then the little green stalk appears, and the blossoming continues as long as you continue to nurture it. There is no great magic to making a relationship work. It requires putting energy in the right direction to create the marriage you both want. If you do the work, the marriage works. It is not always so easy, but it is that simple.
Put Your Energy Into The Right Approach
Discouraged couples often tell me they have tried counseling, seminars, groups, etc. over the years and nothing has worked, so why try again? This is a little like trying a lot of the wrong medicines on your sick child and saying, “Oh well, we know there is a cure but we can't seem to locate the right medicine at the moment, so let’s give up and let her die.” Hardly! If it were your sick child, you would probably be tenacious and never give up until you found the right medicine.
It breaks my heart to see couples, particularly parents, give up on their marriage before getting the help that could make the difference. In so many cases, divorce can be or could have been prevented with the right intervention. I wish that relationship skills were taught in school, or that they were a required course before getting married or before having children.
Fortunately, it is never too late for a new beginning. I hope you will make the choice to use your current marital crisis as a turning point for re-creating your marriage. It truly is possible to bury the old marriage and negative ways of relating to one another and start a fresh new marriage with your current partner. The goal is not to "go back to the old marriage". Most likely, neither of you want what you have been experiencing for the past several months or years. Why not go forward toward a better and different relationship with each other and with your children?
A proven strategy for divorce intervention and prevention is the focus of this book. Even if for you or your spouse, it feels like just too little too late, and one or both of you are not motivated enough to rethink divorce, certainly five more hours is not too much to ask. If this is not possible for you at the moment, the only alternative may be to help yourself and your children heal through the trauma of divorce with the most love and care available.