Therapy, Reading or Workshops?
Research shows that most couples wait 6-7 years after a problem begins to ask for help. Therapy works best for couples who are so “stuck” that they cannot get out of patterns on their own.
Therapy is also useful for couples in a crisis such as the discovery of infidelity and need a “calmer presence” with the skill and knowledge to help them negotiate the scary and tricky times.
Reading is great for enriching a relationship. Reading also can be helpful for couples who are just beginning to recognize that there is a problem and they want to make things better. This can even be helpful if one person is slightly more motivated than the other to take the leadership in making it happen.
There are several good books for couples to help them develop skills and knowledge to improve their marriage.
John Gottman, PhD, a researcher from the University of Seattle in Washington, has written several books that have useful exercises along with some easily understood explanations for the purpose of each exercise. Couples can read and go through the exercises together as a way of enhancing their relationship.
Some of the books to look for are:
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (John Gottman and Nan Sliver, 2004)
Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage: America’s Love Lab Experts Share Their Strategies For Strengthening Your Relationship. (John Gottman, Julie Schwartz Gottman and Joan Declaire, 2007)
The Relationship Cure: A Five Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family and Friendships. (John Gottman, 2002)
Another book that is helpful if only one person wants to work on the marriage is:
Divorce Remedy: The Proven 7 - Step Program for Saving Your Marriage. (Michele Weiner-Davis, 2001).
Other books will be listed on our recommended reading list.
Workshops and weekend retreats are excellent ways to build skills and knowledge for making marriages work. These provide opportunities for couples who are experiencing typical couple communication problems or want to enhance their relationship. These workshops are often offered through churches. Some are given in interesting and exotic places by national presenters. Whatever your budget, there should be an option available.
We also have experience conducting weekend workshops for couples. Contact us if you would like to explore the possibility of our presenting a workshop on healthy couple relationships for your group.
Retrovaille is also another option for couples who are experiencing significant problems in their marriage and would like to try this possibility. These retreats were started in the Catholic church, however other denominations are now sponsoring them. Retrovaille retreats are led by other couples who have experienced difficulties such as infidelity, alcoholism and other serious issues, and found their way back to a satisfying relationship.