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  • Writer's pictureYvette E. McDonald, LCSW-QS

Is Couples Counseling Necessary?

You're not positive when it happened but all of a sudden you don’t recognize the person sleeping next to you or perhaps you don’t remember the last time your spouse even slept next to you.  It’s frustrating and heartbreaking to think that this is what your marriage has become. You ask yourself is this what it’s supposed to be now, living in a loveless marriage? What happened to the fun, the happiness we experienced in the beginning of our marriage or for that matter when we were dating?  This can’t be my marriage. This must be a bad dream that I’m going to wake up from at any moment.

Is Couples Counseling for us?

All of these situations are difficult to sit in.  Marriage when first envisioned was to be that of a unbreakable partnership and a lifelong love in which you grow old together and make memories that last a lifetime.  A relationship free of lies and secrets, and a friendship like none other.  However, the vision and reality don't always match up for all. Everyone wants the dreamy marriage but all to often couples don’t know how to create, maintain and grow their marriage.  I both understand and can relate with these visions of marriage, as they were all the visions I had for my first marriage and when that all came to an end I was left in disbelief, bewilderment and surrounded by the broken pieces of my heart. However, I found the lessons out of the sitation, feelings, pain and difficulties which birthed a passion in me to work with and help couples through the hopelessness, pits and valley’s of their marriage in order to have a different ending then mine.  

So what will our time look like together?  Most recently I completed the Gottman Level 1 Training an emotion-focused, and highly effective couples approach based on Dr. John Gottman’s 40 years of compelling research.  With the expectation to:

  • Give couples a report with personalized results of their relationship

  • Help couples learn to manage conflict,

  • Deepen friendship and intimacy,

  • Share their life purpose and dreams.

  • Gain new insights into their relationship

  • Practical interventions

In addition we will:

  • Explore and clarify roles

  • Create rituals of connection on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis

  • Explore, create and establish health marital boundaries and guardrails

  • Discover each other’s love and apology language

  • Create realistic expectations surrounding routines, roles, parenting and marriage

  • Explore, learn and practice healthy communication

  • Identify and breakfree of unhealthy relationship patterns

  • Discover and implement the healthy dance of submission

  • Build on relationship strengths and improve areas of weakness

  • Enhance your love maps

  • Nature your fondness and admiration

  • See your partner as a friend, not an enemy

  • Enhance Trust

  • Deeper understanding of self and spouse

  • Learn how to communicate needs openly and clearly

  • Process and work through unresolved issues

For those desiring Christian Counseling we will do everything above but intertwine the disciplines of faith that pulls from biblical teaching.  Including elements such as:

  • Prayer

  • Use of scripture be it either read or referenced

  • Assigned Bible Studies, reading and retreats (I offer Right Now Media an Online Bible Study resource)

  • Explanation on how to integrate Christian truths and values into the marital relationship

For those that are in a Blended Marriage/Remarriage everything will be filtered through the complexities and uniquenesses that come from that situation covering topics such as:

  • Creating a remarriage that will last

  • Exploring the key qualities of happy remarriages

  • Exploring issues of communication, sexuality, and spiritually (if your coming for Christian Counseling) as it pertains to a remarriage

  • Children and parenting: Step Children, The ‘Us’ child

  • Successfully navigating thru the co-parenting relationship

  • Remarriage finances: Yours, Mine, Ours

Still uncertain if marriage counseling is right for you?  What’s still holding you back?  Pride? Shame? Finances? Time? Faith in the process? No worries it took me a hot second to start marriage counseling.  But, if I could do it all over again I wouldn’t have waited till the end of the marraige to seek help, because honestly it was more like divorce counseling than marriage counseling. Despite my experience marriage counseling is an amazing resource and I’m not just saying that because I’m a marraige counselor.  Marriage counseling can help you create a strong foundation that can go the distance. I love working with couples in all different stages of marraige but I’m extremely passionate in working with clients before the going gets horrible.  Every couple struggles and seeking counseling sooner than later is the best gift and investment you can give your marriage. Learning early on how to handle the bumps and turns that come with marriage in healthy ways avoids the distance and coldness that create a roomate climate.

So, if any of these early warning signs apply to your situation. Let's schedule an appointment right away.

  1. Inability to resolve conflict in a healthy way.

  2. Depression.

  3. Lack of communication.

  4. Lack of sex drive.

  5. The needs of the other not being met (sex, communication, connection).

  6. Inability to compromise.

  7. Breakdown in communication.

  8. Confusion about the roles of each spouse in the marriage.

  9. Pornography.

  10. Deceit.

  11. Disagreement about parenting styles.

  12. Addictions.

  13. Dramatic change in interactional patterns.

Your marriage doesn’t have to end. There is hope! You might be thinking well yours ended. Yes, you're right as many of my couples have asked me that and I explain in session it takes two to work on a relationship. So in our time together we will unpack, explore and create an intimate partnership for the journey of life that is more than just great sex, but makes you feel known, connecting to your own heart and that of your spouses.


Yvette E. McDonald is the owner and counselor at Traveling Light Counseling, a practice for couples helping them create an intimate partnership for the journey of life in the Port Saint Lucie and Martin County area. I'm passionate about couples create a strong friendship. If you're in the Saint Lucie or Martin County Area and married life isn't quite what you expected it to be at this point in your journey, please give me a call at 772-361-8448 for a free, 15-minute phone consultation.


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