What FAQ do you want me to know right now?
I’m so sorry you are here and yet I am glad you are. I know you are getting closer to being ready to live life differently in the future. And that, my friend, is a very good thing!
Is there any hope and help?
YES! There is hope and there is help! While I will not make any promises about how much help you will experience, I can say without reservation that you can get help. You play a critical part in your relationship(s). I know if one person in any relationship changes towards healthier living and being, the relationship will change too. It must. The relationship cannot stay the same if one person changes. I am not saying they relationship will improve~! I am saying you can become healthier and that is worth its weight in gold.
Will we stay together?
Excellent question. I do not know. I do know that for most of us, doing nothing leads to more of the same or worse. If both partners are willing to do the hard work of repair and reconciliation, there is a tremendous chance the relationship can become much healthier than it ever has been.
Is divorce inevitable?
No! Most relationships can experience healthier togetherness. Help, hope and healing for relationships is available if partners are willing to do the work.
When is divorce inevitable?
I do not know that divorce is ever inevitable. I’ve seen couples figure out how to live together and have zero relationship! ZERO RELATIONSHIP! I can’t imagine the pain of living together with someone you once loved and wanted to be with for the rest of your life and now could not care less if they live or die.
Are there situations when you do not advise couples counseling?
- Maybe. Each relationship is unique but there are three A’s that signal couples counseling may not be appropriate at first.
- Affair. If one or both of you are in an ongoing affair that needs to be discussed. If a partner is unwilling to disown the affair, it is usually a deal breaker for couples counseling (IF THE GOAL IS SAVING THE MARRIAGE). See the Q&A Below that asks, “I’ve made up my mind! I’m getting a divorce! What is the point of counseling in my situation?”
- Abuse. If one or both of you are being sexually, physically, emotionally, or spiritually abused you are probably not safe. How can a relationship experience repair and reconciliation if both partners are not totally safe with each other. GET SAFE. We will talk about abuse before couples counseling can proceed. (SEE ABUSED? (Next Q&A).
- Substance Abuse or Addiction. If one or both of you are abusing a chemical or using porn, it may affect how we proceed.
- Let’s talk about your situation. Call me at 501-920-6096. There’s hope!
You may be abused and not even be aware of it or know what to do about it. If you want more information, TAKE PRECAUTIONS to protect yourself as you investigate.
- DO NOT USE YOUR PERSONAL PHONE OR COMPUTER IF THERE IS ANY THOUGHT YOUR PARTNER MAY MONITOR YOUR PHONE OR COMPUTER!!!
- Go to a safe place and CONTACT the National Domestic Abuse Violence Hotline at 800-799-7223 or TTY 800-787-3224. Their web address is www.thehotline.org. Use a safe means to contact me and let me know you are safe, Bill at 501-920-6096 (The Carpenter’s Hope Counseling Center).
I’m afraid to change. Will I have to change?
I know. That makes sense. No one likes change. So, no. You do not have to change unless you are tired of continuing to get what you’ve gotten. If you are tired of your normal, then yes, change is necessary.
Will it be hard to save our relationship?
That depends on how difficult and deeply entrenched your harmful patterns are. Every relationship has patterns of behavior; some are healthy and helpful and some are unhealthy and destructive. The sooner you get started, the better. The longer you wait the harder it will be.
We’re in crisis NOW! What can we do?
Get help and hope NOW! If you keep doing what you are doing you will keep getting what you are getting~! Call me (Bill) at 501-920-6096 now. Leave me a message if I do not answer. I will return your call as soon as I can. There is help!
How can we know if you are a safe person and that you won’t judge us?
Great question. I am a safe person. I know what it’s like to lose everything and go from dying inside to thriving since 2006. My journey allows me to be with you in the midst of unbelievably difficult days. I will not turn my back on you. I will not shame or blame you. Shame and blame are not effective motivators towards healing a relationship. Instead, shame and blame just drive us apart.
My partner is the problem! Why should I come to counseling?
What if my partner will not come?
I know. I am so sorry. Be patient. Get help for yourself. If you become a healthier you, your partner may soften and lean into getting help. Stop the blaming, shaming, attacking to get them in. It does not work. You are working so hard to save the relationship. I know. I can see you in my heart. You’ve tried everything you know to make it work, but nothing is working. You are not being heard. That is a terrible place to be. Call me. I believe I can help.
I’ve made up my mind! I’m getting a divorce! What is the point of counseling in my situation?
Understood. I get it. You’re done. Here’s two things to consider:
- A divorce tears apart in every aspect of a person. Think about the great losses. The tearing occurs at the spiritual, sexual, emotional, physical, mental, and security aspects of a person. Some areas are more impacted than others. You may benefit from having a professional walk with you through this journey.
- If underage children are involved, divorce gets a lot more personal and complicated! Check out Ron Deal’s website: http://www.smartstepfamilies.com/home.php. I attended a DivorceCare group when I was contemplating divorce (I highly recommend DivorceCare for anyone considering or divorced). There I heard about three general goals of reconciliation:
- Lowest Level: the two of you can be in the same room or apart and you do not try to kill each other with your hateful looks. The two of you do not discount or disparage your former partner with your kids or anyone one else. Finally, there is acceptance between you. Both of you have new partners and neither of you hate the new partners. You accept the situation as it is and you know you’ll never be friends or married. You cooperate for the sake of the kids.
- Mid-level: the two of you and your new partners can be in the same place at a holiday or special event. You can enjoy the event and maybe even be glad to see your former partner. It’s okay to laugh and be together, but you’re never going to be married to each other.
- Reconciled. In the course of time and hard work, the two of you repair and reconcile and you remarry or stay married. I’ve seen this happen.
Are you going to tell me I must stay with my partner or I must get a divorce?
No. It is not my place to tell you to do anything. I do share actions that lead to life and not death. I also share actions that prolonged long enough, lead to relationship death. It is my calling to help you explore what is best for you.
Do you have a formula for killing a relationship?
- Yes! Google “Gottman four horsemen”
- Use CONTEMPT (it’s the most toxic), CRITICISM, DEFENSIVENESS, or STONEWALLING for a long enough time… we all use these behaviors from time to time, but the prolonged use kills relationships. ANY RELATIONSHIP.
You don’t want to dig up the past! You just want to move forward!
I know. Again, that makes sense. Yet, past experiences shape and drive current experiences. I am a Christian. What that means to you, I do not know. I’ve heard many Christians glibly say, “Hey. I’m not perfect! I’m just forgiven.” Heck, I’ve said it. I don’t say that anymore as an excuse for bad behavior. If I have hurt and wounded someone, my relationship with them will remain broken to some degree until that place of brokenness finds healing. Healing broken relationships is hard relationship work worth doing.