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What to Do When We Don’t Know How to Fix a Marriage Alone

What to Do When We Don’t Know How to Fix a Marriage Alone

Jane has been with her partner for 10 years, and has been married for 7 years. She expressed how her relationship with her husband was awesome until she started having children and “everything went downhill”

Jane kept wondering if marriage counseling could repair and fix the rift in her relationship with her husband.

Here, moms in our communities whose relationships have benefited from the help of a marriage counselor describe how it helped and share three reasons to seek counseling when your marriage is on the rocks.

Here I would explain some benefits of marriage counseling according to gathered information from women who have gone through the same process, and how it positively influenced their marriage.

Getting a neutral third party involved is highly helpful.

Couples most times don’t know what went wrong when a marriage goes wrong or what is the best approach to solving the situation at hand. As a Mum once shared “My husband of 9 years, shared with me that he had fallen out of love with me, he couldn’t pin point how he got to that point, the causes, why or when he got to that point”

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When identifying the problem is difficult, getting back the spark in your relationship seems like a long road. Getting someone who is an expert in relationship can really be a start point to bringing back the spark in your relationship.[1]

Sometimes you the woman have to take to initiate visiting a marriage counselor, yes it might somewhat be pricey but its advised that women have a level of financial independence so as to help in situations like this, where you have to bring a third party who is neutral to both parties for fairness.

Due to the fact that a counselor is a neutral third-party, he or she would not get in the middle of any heated arguments or take unfair sides in any of such scenarios; instead the counselor would try to help both parties understand each other’s point of view.

Loveth expressed “I am so very grateful for counseling, as it helped me and my husband who have been married for 11 years restore the spark, now we feel like we love each other even more than we used to when we met”

If a friend or a family member is brought to give this kind of help, it might be difficult for them to take a neutral stand but a counselor would 1) Continue communication 2) Try to find out the exact reason why your relationship is on the rocks and 3) Help you come to terms with the facts that both of you can live with.

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Friends and family can help you, but do not allow their ideas/opinions cloud your because only you can feel what you feel the way you feel it.

The rate of your Communication would improve.

The counselor would help facilitate conversations so couples would know how to work through their problems.[2]

According to Rachael

“during counseling I realized that having someone listen to what I am saying can help me collect my thoughts and express them in a better way than I could have expressed them on my own”

“Couples counseling is a great way to reconnect and make it through this time until the spark comes back, or help the two of you make a decision about what to do with this relationship if he or you decide not to continue it,” Tiffany agrees. “The counseling can help you through all of it.”

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Couple counseling is a very good way to help reconnect and bring back the spark in your relationship, or also help both parties make a decision about what to do with your relationship. Counseling can help you go through them all.

It has been said in most cases that women handle marriage separation grief worse when they are not financially stable, so this is just by the sides’ ladies. Try to have some sort of financial securities going on, so you don’t go breaking down, this can also apply to men.

Counseling helps you recommit to your relationship.

It has been said that counseling would only work if both parties are committed to the sessions; counseling works for some people and doesn’t work for others. The possibility of counseling working for you is solely dependent on the parties involved and their involvement to make it work.

If both parties are serious and they want to stay together the percentage of its working is really high, but in the case that one person is just going through the session to please the other one and has no plans of taking it serious then it is less likely to work.

The Big Payoff

There are all different kinds of marriage counselors who come from all different angles. You may need to put in the hard yards in going to a counselor, but there’s always the chance that the first one you go to may not suit the both of you. Don’t be afraid to try a different one! But if you stick with it, there of course is a handsome pay-off.

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There are chances that you might jump a counselor or two before you get the one who would suit both of you, marriage counselors come from different angles so they all have different ways of handling issues, it might be pricey, yes! But it is an advisable shot at bring back the spark in your relationship.

Jennifer P. said,

a counselor helped her and her partner realize after a seven-year-itch that they weren’t giving each other the attention that they each deserves. Kids change everything, but because both she and her husband were willing to go through with counseling, things got easier. [Now], we have three children and are best friends.

Mary Canny says,

a counselor helped her and her husband realize that they were not giving each other the right dose of attention after giving birth to their children, the kids changed everything and they took most of the time and attention from both parties. Now they have the perfect relationship and they are the best friend to each other and also to their children.

Counseling is always a great medicine to fixing marriage issues and is advised for anyone who wants to save their relationship.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] GoodTherapy.org: Relationships and marriages
[2] About Relationships: 5 Benefits of Marriage Counseling

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Elise Bauer

Freelance Writer, Lawyer & Blogger

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Last Updated on October 30, 2019

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

Change is tough, there’s no doubt about it. Old habits are hard to shift, and adopting a new lifestyle can feel like an uphill battle!

In this article, you will learn about a simple yet powerful model:

Stages of change model, that explains the science behind personal transformation.

You’ll discover how and why some changes stick whereas others don’t last, and how long it takes to build new habits.

What is the Stages of Change Model?

Developed by researchers J.O. Prochaska and Carlo C. DiClemente over 30 years ago[1] and outlined in their book Changing For Good, the Stages of Change Model, also known as the Transtheoretical Model, was formed as a result of the authors’ research with smokers.

Prochaska and DiClemente were originally interested in the question of why some smokers were able to quit on their own, whereas others required professional help. Their key conclusion was that smokers (or anyone else with a bad habit) quits only when they are ready to do so.

Here’s an illustration done by cartoonist and illustrator Simon Kneebone about the different stages a smoker experiences when they try to quit smoking:

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    The Stages of Change Model looks at how these conscious decisions are made. It emphasizes that change isn’t easy. People can spend a long time stuck in a stage, and some may never reach their goals.[2]

    The model has been applied in the treatment of smoking, alcoholism, and drugs. It is also a useful way of thinking about any bad habit. Social workers, therapists, and psychologists draw on the model to understand their patients’ behaviors, and to explain the change process to the patients themselves.

    The key advantages to the model is that it is simple to understand, is backed by extensive research, and can be applied in many situations.

    The Stages of Change Model is a well-established psychological model that outlines six stages of personal change:

    1. Precontemplation
    2. Contemplation
    3. Determination
    4. Action
    5. Maintenance
    6. Termination

    How are these stages relevant to changing habits?

    To help you visualize the stages of change and how each progresses to the next one, please take a look at this wheel:[3]

      Let’s look at the six stages of change,[4] together with an example that will show you how the model works in practice:

      Stage 1: Precontemplation

      At this stage, an individual does not plan to make any positive changes in the next six months. This may because they are in denial about their problem, feel too overwhelmed to deal with it, or are too discouraged after multiple failed attempts to change.

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      For example, someone may be aware that they need to start exercising, but cannot find the motivation to do so. They might keep thinking about the last time they tried (and failed) to work out regularly. Only when they start to realize the advantages of making a change will they progress to the next stage.

      Stage 2: Contemplation

      At this stage, the individual starts to consider the advantages of changing. They start to acknowledge that altering their habits would probably benefit them, but they spend a lot of time thinking about the downside of doing so. This stage can last for a long time – possibly a year or more.

      You can think of this as the procrastinating stage. For example, an individual begins to seriously consider the benefits of regular exercise, but feels resistant when they think about the time and effort involved. When the person starts putting together a concrete plan for change, they move to the next stage.

      The key to moving from this stage to the next is the transformation of an abstract idea to a belief (e.g. from “Exercise is a good, sensible thing to do” to “I personally value exercise and need to do it.)[5]

      Stage 3: Preparation

      At this point, the person starts to put a plan in place. This stage is brief, lasting a few weeks. For example, they may book a session with a personal trainer and enrol on a nutrition course.

      Someone who drinks to excess may make an appointment with a drug and alcohol counsellor; someone with a tendency to overwork themselves might start planning ways to devise a more realistic schedule.

      Stage 4: Action

      When they have decided on a plan, the individual must then put it into action. This stage typically lasts for several months. In our example, the person would begin attending the gym regularly and overhauling their diet.

      Stage 4 is the stage at which the person’s desire for change becomes noticeable to family and friends. However, in truth, the change process began a long time ago. If someone you know seems to have suddenly changed their habits, it’s probably not so sudden after all! They will have progressed through Stages 1-3 first – you probably just didn’t know about it.

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      Stage 5: Maintenance

      After a few months in the Action stage, the individual will start to think about how they can maintain their changes, and make lifestyle adjustments accordingly. For instance, someone who has adopted the habit of regular workouts and a better diet will be vigilant against old triggers (such as eating junk food during a stressful time at work) and make a conscious decision to protect their new habits.

      Unless someone actively engages with Stage 5, their new habits are liable to come unstuck. Someone who has stuck to their new habits for many months – perhaps a year or longer – may enter Stage 6.

      Maintenance can be challenging because it entails coming up with a new set of habits to lock change in place. For instance, someone who is maintaining their new gym-going habit may have to start improving their budgeting skills in order to continue to afford their gym membership.

      Stage 6: Termination

      Not many people reach this stage, which is characterized by a complete commitment to the new habit and a certainty that they will never go back to their old ways. For example, someone may find it hard to imagine giving up their gym routine, and feel ill at the thought of eating junk food on a regular basis.

      However, for the majority of people, it’s normal to stay in the Maintenance period indefinitely. This is because it takes a long time for a new habit to become so automatic and natural that it sticks forever, with little effort. To use another example, an ex-smoker will often find it hard to resist the temptation to have “just one” cigarette even a year or so after quitting. It can take years for them to truly reach the Termination stage, at which point they are no more likely to smoke than a lifelong non-smoker.

      How long does each stage take?

      You should be aware that some people remain in the same stage for months or even years at a time. Understanding this model will help you be more patient with yourself when making a change. If you try to force yourself to jump from Contemplation to Maintenance, you’ll just end up frustrated. On the other hand, if you take a moment to assess where you are in the change process, you can adapt your approach.

      So if you need to make changes quickly and you are finding it hard to progress to the next stage, it’s probably time to get some professional help or adopt a new approach to forming habits.

      The limitations of this model

      The model is best applied when you decide in advance precisely what you want to achieve, and know exactly how you will measure it (e.g. number of times per week you go to the gym, or number of cigarettes smoked per day). Although the model has proven useful for many people, it does have limitations.

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      Require the ability to set a realistic goal

      For a start, there are no surefire ways of assessing whereabouts in the process you are – you just have to be honest with yourself and use your own judgement. Second, it assumes that you are physically capable of making a change, whereas in fact you might either need to adjust your goals or seek professional help.

      If your goal isn’t realistic, it doesn’t matter whether you follow the stages – you still won’t get results. You need to decide for yourself whether your aims are reasonable.[6]

      Difficult to judge your progress

      The model also assumes that you are able to objectively measure your own successes and failures, which may not always be the case.[7] For instance, let’s suppose that you are trying to get into the habit of counting calories as part of your weight-loss efforts. However, even though you may think that you are recording your intake properly, you might be over or under-estimating.

      Research shows that most people think they are getting enough exercise and eating well, but in actual fact aren’t as healthy as they believe. The model doesn’t take this possibility into account, meaning that you could believe yourself to be in the Action stage yet aren’t seeing results. Therefore, if you are serious about making changes, it may be best to get some expert advice so that you can be sure the changes you are making really will make a positive difference.

      Conclusion

      The Stages Of Change Model can be a wonderful way to understand change in both yourself and others.

      While there’re some limitations in it, the Stages of Change Model helps to visualize how you go through changes so you know what to expect when you’re trying to change a habit or make some great changes in life.

      Start by identifying one of your bad habits. Where are you in the process? What could you do next to move forwards?

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Psych Central: Stages Of Change
      [2] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [3] Empowering Change: Stages of Change
      [4] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [5] Psychology Today: 5 Steps To Changing Any Behavior
      [6] The Transtheoretical Model: Limitations Of The Transtheoretical Model
      [7] Health Education Research: Transtheoretical Model & Stages Of Change: A Critique

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