I was approached recently by Anisa Rawhani, who is a student-writer for the Lifestyle Section of the Queen’s Journal. Anisa posed a variety of questions on marital counselling for an upcoming article on young marriage, and the trend of couples marrying later in life. It’s a fun piece and explores the views of couples at Queen’s University who are married or recently engaged, along with Anisa’s own view of marriage and the complexities therein. I was asked about the most common concerns that bring couples to therapy, and how counselling can be helpful. We discussed common marital concerns such as communication, intimacy or connectedness and conflict resolution. I indicated that all marriages experience difficulties at one point or another. These challenges often arise during periods of transition or changes to the family system, for example, relocating, having children, experiencing loss, career changes, periods of self-discovery; and they are often the result of dysfunctional patterns of relating or interacting. Anisa asked about advice I provide to couples and I explained that the counselling framework leads to a journey of self-discovery and awareness rather than top-down advice. However, outcomes of therapy often include learning how to effectively listen to your partner, including reaching for emotion beyond the words; being assertive in communicating your perceptions, feelings and needs; and practicing forgiveness and compassion rather than ‘score-keeping’, which can prevent important discussions from occurring right from the start. I indicated my belief in the importance of pre-marital education, which includes a journey of self-awareness and partner-awareness, to determine areas of alignment as well as growth areas within the relationship, where pre-emptive problem-solving can occur.
You can read the full article here: