Many couples enter my office hoping to work on their marriage, but not having a clear vision as to how they might go about it. For many couples, previous efforts to make the marriage better in some way or another did not work. Some have not yet tried anything new or different, but realize that things just aren’t quite right and that a change is needed, while others have concluded that something in the marriage is truly broken and must be fixed. That’s where I come in.
When I am coaching a couple, my goal is to help clients figure out how to make their marriage stronger, more enjoyable, and healthier. I usually begin working with a couple by asking them to tell me their story: The how’s, what’s, where’s, and why’s of their union. I ask them why they decided to marry each other, what is working and isn’t working, how they have tried to fix things, etc. This gives me a sense of who they are as a couple, presents me with an outline of the shape and complexities of their particular relationship, and helps me to begin to understand what they feel the important issues are.
I spend a good deal of time gathering lots of important information, observing when and how they work well as a team in telling me their story and where they do not. I learn about what has changed since they first met and first fell in love and what has stayed the same. I also learn about what their hopes and dreams for marriage were before and after they met.
Once this initial phase is completed, clients usually turn to me and ask, “Now what?” This is where the work gets most interesting. I respond by asking them a simple question about what they think is the most important thing to work on. I give them a number of options in terms of how we might work together to make this most important relationship better and then ask them to decide, together, which option would be best. They can take as long as they need to decide which way they’d like to work, but it is up to them to decide which option they will select.
Not every coach who works with clients to help them strengthen their marriage works the way I do. Some prefer to evaluate couples in terms of how they relate, communicate, and make decisions. The coach then draws their own conclusions about what would be the best way to proceed and recommends a particular course of action for the couple to follow. The reason I do not work this way is that I have found that encouraging a couple to decide what it is they’d like to work on and how they’d like to work together is more effective and yields the most meaningful results.
In this manner, from the very start, clients and I collaborate in our mission to help them get to wherever it is that they’d like to be in their relationship. I believe that most couples really do know what they like and don’t like about their relationship and what they’d like to see change. They also know what it is that they need before they can take a leap of faith and do things differently. By inviting couples to teach me what’s important and what it is they are after, we can collaborate and work together to find it. What could be better than that?
To learn more about how I work to help couples, contact me by leaving a comment below or at betsyrosscoaching.com