We hear from Power of Two members everyday. That’s because every member is assigned a real live person to be there marriage coach. At Power of Two our online marriage chat based coaching helps our members apply the content they are learning. Our coaches review all your work and give you feedback and encouragement. Their answers are never canned. Each coach listens to you and your situation and sends help just for you.
We are just so thankful & it’s been great to know from the beginning that anytime of the day or night I can just email my comments,questions to my coach. I don’t know anywhere else where that wonderful service is available, because I don’t think it is available anywhere else! We are just so fortunate to have the skills of all involved at PO2 to assist us all in our quest for good communication in our marriages resulting in a closer relationship with out spouse. — Jenny
And here’s how online marriage chat based coaching helped another member.
Thank you, Linda! I really like this program as it’s getting me to think about my approach to our relationship (and also allows me to see where I have been obstinate and reactive, which of course didn’t get me the desired result and just left both of us more upset.) and I am practicing my fledgling skills in our limited contact with one another. So far we are 2 for two (from my end, at least) in our interactions this week, so I take that as a good thing. 🙂 I’ll keep working through these modules. Thank you again for being there and being so supportive. I really appreciate it. — K.O.
Online marriage chat based counseling gets you the right information with a real human to help you make changes for the better!
I just listened to the podcast that you attached and appreciate that you sent me something right on target for where I am up to now. It was a great reminder of how things could work better and I’ll try. Getting this message from you makes the site so interactive and I really love the personal guidance.
Choosing a therapist got you feeling overwhelmed? Find out what options are available and how to pick the best therapist for your marriage (or other counseling needs).
Couples therapy can help you and your spouse increase intimacy, stop fighting and relieve long-term frustrations and old hurts. Therapy is not just for couples on the brink of divorce. In fact, the earlier you start learning how to keep your marriage calm and loving (even before you tie the knot) the better prepared you will be for inevitable future challenges.
Much “commonsense” advice on marriage doesn’t actually make sense when you look at it closely. Here are 8 common beliefs about marriage that are counterproductive to a happy relationship, if not down-right harmful! If you have been experiencing marriage difficulties, check to see if any of these bad pieces of advice on marriage may be at the root of the problems.
Bad advice on marriage #1: My spouse has to go to counseling with me or it won’t work.
Actually, one spouse can carry a lot of sway in a relationship and, on her own, turn around a failing marriage. Power of Two has been shown in studies to be just as effective as counseling when both spouses go. At some point you’ll need to get your spouse on board and working on his own contribution to the marriage. At the same time, he can be gently led into this by following your example of increasing positivity, practicing better communication skills, and initiating intimacy. Continue reading 8 beliefs that are actually terrible advice on marriage
Should I get married? Yes! I love him so much! I can’t imagine life without her…
Marriage is a big commitment–in fact, it’s one of the biggest commitments we can make in our lives. Is he/she “the one”? Are you ready?
Ultimately, no one can answer that but yourself. Not your parents, not friends, not marriage experts or writers like me. Here are 9 important questions to ask yourself that can help you answer the question “Should I get married?” Many of these are based on statistics that predict successful marriage or divorce. Continue reading Should I get married? 9 questions to ask yourself.
Social media is wonderful for keeping in touch with friends and family. At the same time, there is one category of person that you should not be reconnecting with-ex flames. Facebook has made it incredibly easy to indulge in nostalgia and look up people from the past. The Australian magazine The Age recently delved into the near-epidemic of social media-inspired affairs with the article “First love, the second time around.”
Nostalgia drives social media searches
Most people do not reach out to past romantic partners consciously looking for an affair–yet this is what often happens. Old flames hold strong sway over our hearts, triggering powerful and deep-set emotions related to desire, regret and attachment. Relationships that occurred during teenage years seem to be especially powerful. Continue reading The increasing danger of reconnecting with ex lovers online
Who is the ultimate example of how to stay in love and cultivate a healthy marriage for a lifetime? Those who have actually done it! Karam and Katari Chand just celebrated their 87th wedding anniversary, making them Britain’s oldest married couple. The two have been through a lot together and still claim they are deeply in love. They shared their insights on how to stay in love with an interviewer from British dating website Zoosk. Here are a few gems of wisdom from the couple: Continue reading How to stay in love: secrets from Britain’s longest married couples
First comes love, then comes marriage, then come taxes! If you’re one of the thousands of new couples married this spring and summer, get ready to embark on the adventure of marriage and taxes. The federal government provides many financial benefits to married couples, an it can be a little confusing how to go about getting them. Here’s a rundown of who your need to update on your new marital status and how to do it.
1. Social Security Administration One of the most essential things for marriage and taxes is to make sure you name and social security number match. If you’ve changed your name after getting married, be sure to alert the Social Security Administration. How: File Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. The form is available on SSA’s website www.ssa.gov, by calling 800-772-1213, or visiting a SSA office. Continue reading Marriage and taxes: 7 tips for newlyweds
Have you ever wondered, “Am I depressed?” Most people will experience depression at some point in their lives. At the same time, many may feel the symptoms of depression without recognizing it as such. Depression is a sliding scale of emotions, thoughts, actions and chemistry – depression can be a mild sense of being “off” to a debilitating experience. Symptoms of depression include:
Lack of energy/physical fatigue
Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
Feelings of hopelessness
Feeling an indescribable “dark cloud”
Changes in appetite or weight
Crying and unexplained sorrow
Unexplained aches and pains
If you experience any of these symptoms for a period of two weeks or longer, it’s a good time to ask yourself, “Am I depressed?” Recognizing depression is the first step to addressing it. Step two is exploring where your depression comes from. A marriage can be both the trigger and casualty of depression. This is the story of Bonnie, a real patient of Dr. Heitler:
Bonnie is a stay at home mom of two young children. She is a strong, creative woman who enjoys spending time with her kids and is usually very positive and energetic. Lately she has been feeling tired and has a hard time being enthusiastic about anything. She finds herself criticizing herself: “Your house is so messy,” “Why can’t you keep track of anything,” “You look old and worn out.” She is uncharacteristically snappy and irritated with her children.
One night she and her husband have an argument. She is unhappy that he works so late at his new job and comes home too tired to interact with her. She is so excited to see him and she feels abandoned. Her husband snaps back: “I’m doing this to support the family! I can’t risk asking for fewer hours. When I come home, you hover over me and the kids are so worked up…I need to relax, I can’t take it.” Bonnie drops the subject.
Interestingly, Bonnie hadn’t wondered “am I depressed?” while experiencing these dark times. Is Bonnie depressed? Yes. Is she depressed because she feels abandoned and is fighting with her husband? Well…yes and no. Depression, Dr. Heitler writes, is rooted in an imbalance of power. We feel depressed when we feel powerless. In Bonnie’s case, part of her depression stems from feeling powerless over her lonely situation. Her husband has dominated the conversation while she defers to his criticism and needs.
Depression is a common result of dominant-submissive conflict resolution. Many people believe that an argument is resolved when you have a winner and a looser. This belief comes from the mistaken idea that
power is the same thing as control, specifically, having control over another person. In fact, power is the ability to get what you want, but not by definition at the expense of those around you. Truly powerful people are able to reach satisfying solutions that also satisfy others – win-win solutions.
In reality, when you solve a conflict with a clear “winner” and “looser,” you don’t solve anything. Especially in marriage, a pattern of winning and loosing will lead to depression in the submissive spouse.
To help Bonnie get the root of her power imbalance, Dr. Heitler used a visualization experiment. You can try this, too.
First she asked Bonnie, “If you could be angry at anybody right now, who would it be?”
“My husband,” Bonnie replied.
“Close your eyes and image the last argument you had with your husband. Picture you two together. Now, who seems bigger.”
“Ok, now I want you to look up in this scene and see above you a light powder sprinkling down on you. It could be green, or gold, or like snowflakes. As it falls on you, you find yourself growing, like Alice in Wonderland. Tell me when you’ve stopped growing.”
“Ok, I’ve stopped”
“And where are you now? How big are you.”
“I’m towering over him, at least four times as big.”
“Now that you’re so big, you can look down and see things you couldn’t see before. What can you see about him now?
Bonnie reflected for a minute. “He’s all puffed up. He’s not really that big, he’s puffing himself up like a puffer fish.”
“Because he’s scared…and he’s covered his ears because he doesn’t want to hear what I’m saying”
“Why is he scared?”
Bonnie thought again. “He’s scared because he thinks that I’m telling him he’s a bad person. But I’m not, I know he’s a good person. I know he works late because he feels anxious about supporting the family.”
With this insight Bonnie was able to have another kind of conversation with her husband. This time, she brought the subject up delicately, talking about her feelings and clarifying how much she respected and appreciated him. Together, they came to a surprising solution.
Bonnie is a highly educated woman with a lot of drive and she realized that staying home all day with the kids wasn’t stimulating enough for her. She was feeling bored and frustrated, which contributed to her feelings of powerlessness and led her to get worked up when her husband came home. Bonnie decided to go back to work part-time. She found she was excited to see the kids again after her morning’s work and less frantic about seeing her husband when he came home. Also, the extra income she brought in allowed her husband to be more assertive about setting limits for his hours at work.
Power imbalances in marriage can come from one spouse dominating through aggressive behavior. In the worst case scenario this domination comes from violence and insults. At other times, as in Bonnie’s case, the imbalance lies more in one spouse deferring and “giving up” (this becomes easier the more depressed he or she already is). Usually the situation has aspects of both dynamics.
Just as both spouses contribute to the depression of one, both must be part of finding a solution. Whether or not your answer to “am I depressed?” directly involves marriage problems, it is imperative that you go to joint counseling as part of the treatment. It may surprise you that getting individual counseling for depression leads to a higher chance of divorce. This is because as one spouse may make progress they other may be left behind. Both spouses should progress together.
Your counseling sessions should give you the tools to find the root of depression and work through it while providing skills to face similar problems down the road. Remember, you and your spouse are a team! That is a huge strength. Working through depression in marriage will leave your marriage stronger, wiser, and closer.
Have you ever wondered, “Should I get a divorce?” Sometimes it’s hard to tell if your marriage problems spell doom for your union, or, if it is possible—and worth it—to salvage your marriage. Power of Two is founded on the principle that most divorces can be prevented by learning the skills for strong, healthy marriages. At the same time, some relationships have toxic and dangerous elements that make divorce the best option for everyone involved. These behaviors can be hard to face, and they should never be ignored.
The following are Dr. Heitler’s “Top Five reasons to Divorce”:
Your spouse is controlling. He/she attempts to manipulate you and/or control your friends, activity, behavior or money by the use of threats, put-downs, criticism, excessive guilt or anger.
Your spouse has cheated repeatedly. One infidelity does not necessarily spell doom—with lots of work, your marriage can recover and be stronger than ever. However, repeated affairs mean your spouse unlikely to change his ways no matter what.
There are unaddressed addictions. You should consider leaving if your spouse has damaging problems with gambling, drugs, alcohol, or other behavior and refuses or continues to avoid getting treatment.
There is an unaddressed mental disorder. Many couples live with mental disorders and have strong marriages. At the same time, if your spouse refuses to get treatment for a damaging or dangerous disorder, you should consider ending your marriage. It is the best for both of you.
Your spouse is violent with you or others, or mistreats children. This is the most resounding “YES” to the question “Should I get a divorce?” Remove yourself and your children from this situation immediately and seek professional help.
The good news is the most common reasons for divorce these days are not the ones above—and this means they are fixable!
“Should I get a divorce?…“ Consider couples counseling over divorce if the following sounds like you:
We just don’t communicate very well and can’t seem to resolve our conflicts. Communication and conflict resolution difficulties are the most common complaints of divorcing couples. Luckily, they are also simplest to change. You can learn the skills to handle these problems at any time and they will help you in all areas of life, from your spouse to in-laws to the office.
I just don’t love him anymore. Love is a cornerstone of marriage and feeling “out of love” can be frustrating and confusing. At the same time, the quality of love is constantly changing; sometimes hot and passionate, other times a cool, subtle bond. Do you really not love each other at all? Passion, intimacy and positivity can be revived!
Because it’ll be better for the kids. It’s true that having fighting parents is hard on kids. At the same time, so is divorce. Also, if you keep fighting while you’re divorced, it’s still bad. The solution? Learn to stop the fighting. Marriage education can help you replace your arguments with positive dialogue and win-win problem solving!
He/she’s just not the same person I married. We all change and grow as we go through life together. What’s important is knowing how to support each other on our personal journeys. Counseling can teach couples how to turn differences into powerful tools instead of a source of marriage problems.
I don’t trust him/her anymore. He lied and made a stupid deal, she gambled or cheated… Sometimes people do make mistakes. At the same time, most mistakes are repairable. Get the skills to analyze your errors and prevent future repeats. Sometimes the sourer the lemon, the sweeter the lemonade.
In the old days, and in many places still, divorce is a difficult, lengthy process that is highly stigmatized. This has the potential to trap spouses, especially women, into dangerous and unhappy marriages that fall into the category of good reasons to divorce, listed above. So, in many ways, it’s a good thing that we can quickly leave marriages we are uncomfortable in.
At the same time, this gives us the responsibility to think about our choices very carefully. And I don’t mean to imply that anyone takes divorce lightly! It’s just that marriage isn’t easy, and divorce is not necessarily the answer to your marriage problems. Consider this: If you don’t learn the skills for a healthy relationship now, you are likely to find yourself in the same situation with simply a different person in the future.
If you feel your marriage getting rocky, don’t hesitate to talk to a therapist or try a program like Power of Two. Problems are solved most easily when they’re caught early. And it certainly never hurts!
From an interview with Dr. Heitler, 10/11
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Psych Central just posted an article about communication pitfalls featuring Power of Two founder Dr. Susan Heitler.