A New Type of Marriage?

I was at a web site today that mentioned an interesting bill being considered in the Alabama state legislature. The bill “would require couples entering into a covenant marriage to enter counseling before they’re married, and they attend counseling if they want to get a divorce. It also limits the reasons for which married couples can divorce.”

(covenant: a formal agreement or promise)

It’s an interesting idea and I’m wondering, if the bill is enacted, how many couples would take part in this. If you’re currently married, do you feel you would’ve benefited from a legally binding agreement that wouldn’t let your marriage end in divorce unless certain requirements were met?

If you’re not married, do you like this idea? Remember, this law would not you let enter into the marriage without first going through counseling with your future spouse.

I wonder what kind of counseling is being required here. I’d object strongly to counseling that caused two very capable people not to marry when they should have.

All in all, if a married couple has the tools to keep a marriage alive, supportive, and yes, even exciting, then I would think that would suffice. If you haven’t downloaded a copy of my book on marriages (which has many tools to help a marriage succeed), I’m making it available for awhile at no cost. Here’s the link to get the book.

THE NUMBER ONE Reason Relationships Fail

I realize it’s a bold statement to say THE NUMBER ONE reason relationships fail has been located. Well, it has been located and thousands are using this information to dramatically improve their relationships.

Before I get into it, let me tell you briefly about myself. My name is Stan Dubin and I live in Clearwater, Florida.

I run a national counseling firm that sends highly-skilled counselors around the United States and Canada. We help individuals and couples improve their lives to their satisfaction.

Image2Here is a picture of my family…

On my left is my wife, Mary Ann. And that’s our daughter, Chelsea, to my right.

My wife and I have been married for 34 years. Has it been a smooth ride all the way through? No. There have been some tough spots, some very tough. But we applied the same information that is being made available to you here, and each time we did, our marriage improved dramatically.

So enough about me, let’s get on with it… Read more »

Does Couples Therapy Work?

After reading an article by Elizabeth Weil for the New York Times, I felt compelled to share some important observations with you here. Her article was titled “Does Couples Therapy Work?” Here is a short excerpt:

The fact that couples therapy stresses out therapists has long been an open secret.

“It’s widely acknowledged that couples therapy is the most challenging,” says Richard Simon, editor of The Psychotherapy Networker. “You often feel confused, at odds with a least one of your patients, out of control.”

Part of the problem is that the kind of person who tends to become a therapist — empathic, sensitive, calm, accepting — is generally not the kind of person who is a good couples therapist. “The traditional, passive uh-huh, uh-huh is useless,” Dr. Real, a prominent psychologist, says. “You have to like action. To manage marital combat, a therapist needs to get in there, mix it up with the client, be a ninja. This is intimidating.”

“It’s frightening to be faced with the force of two strong individuals as they are colliding,” he says.

William J. Doherty, a University of Wisconsin professor of family social science, says, “A brilliant therapeutic observation can blow up in your face when one spouse thinks you’re a genius and the other thinks you’re clueless — or worse, allied with the enemy.”

Okay, first things first. A properly trained marriage counselor has absolutely nothing to be afraid of.  If the marriage counselor knows the precise reasons a marriage goes off the rails, fear of what patients may say or do never enters the scene. Read more »

Marriage Counselors…How Can You Tell You’ve Got a Great One?

When your marriage is in trouble, when you suspect infidelity, when things aren’t going well, the last thing you want is a marriage counselor who steers you in the wrong direction. So, how do you know what’s “right” and what’s “wrong” when it comes to working with marriage counselors. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • If your marriage counselor lets both of you complain on and on about each other, you’re not going to end up with a great result. If the marriage counselor does not know what lies at the bottom of criticism, then the critical thoughts and comments will continue, even after the marriage counseling is “completed.”
  • If your marriage counselor EVER takes sides, this will always produce a non-optimum result.
  • If your marriage counselor ends a marriage counseling session and either of you are upset,  this is not only poor form and unprofessional, it will have a negative impact on the marriage counseling process.
  • Read more »

Are Some Marriages Doomed to Fail?

No relationship is “doomed” to fail. I believe each person, through his decisions and actions, determines how happy and fulfilling his life will be. And I believe this holds true for married couples. I’m not big on fate or astrology. I’m big on personal responsibility.

Now, having said that, if two people with very little in common, who have spent very little time together race off to Vegas and get married, the chances of their marriage succeeding are not as great as the couple that has taken the time to know each other and who share many things in common.

I’m not against people meeting and having such a compassionate first week that they are absolutely compelled to tie the knot right away. I find that exceptionally adventurous. And I would never say such a couple is “doomed” to fail. With the right tools, every marriage can succeed.

How much should one know about a possible spouse-to-be prior to getting married? That depends on what each person considers important. Religion is extremely important to some and completely insignificant to others. Some consider opposing political beliefs a deal-breaker. How about each person’s ambition? Does the wife-to-be wish to have a full-fledged career and perhaps a child 15 years down the road? Does the husband-to-be want to continue in his current job that takes him out of town two weeks of every month?

It’s probably a good idea to talk over the main issues. The more things you share in common, the more points of agreement (and strength) you’ll have going in.

What if you’re married and you didn’t take the time to really sort these things out? Not to worry. It’s never too late to communicate. There is an earlier post on married couples setting goals. That will help.

A successful marriage is based on a few very key fundamentals. One of these is communication. The answer is always going to be in the area of more communication, not less.