Throughout life, the changes, transitions and phases we encounter challenge us personally, in our relationships, and in our every day. Having a lifetime relationship coach provides support through critical stages of growth and development. Whether it is marriage, the birth of a child, loss of a parent, divorce, or retirement – the continuous insight, perspective and constant safe space can provide the skills and tools to not only cope, but heal and find strength in each new chapter of your life. Here, I share many reasons for considering relationship counseling through all stages of life.
Premarital Relationship Support
Pre-marital counseling not only prepares you and your partner for the challenges and opportunities of married life, it enriches the pre-marital stage and deepens your relationship, making you both even more excited to commit to each other for life. In fact, premarital counseling is so helpful and even powerful that some states require it before issuing a marriage license. To strengthen the case for premarital counseling, researchers from the University of Denver found that it lowers the divorce rate by 31%.
Relationship Tune Up
Relationships are just like cars: they can experience wear and tear, and periodically need a tune-up. If we ignore the little things that go wrong, we may end up dealing with a major relationship breakdown. While a relationship tune-up is not therapy, per se, it is a session to evaluate your relationship – and the intent is preventive. Many are familiar with pre-marital and couples counseling, which is usually assumed to be for troubled relationships. However, a relationship tune-up is really the in-between where most relationships lie.
Birth of a child
The addition of a new baby and the presence of children can decrease overall marriage satisfaction and happiness. Children often bring about financial stress to a couple, impose time constraints, and create an abundance of household duties, especially for women.
Experiencing a pregnancy loss is unforeseeable and unfathomable, and many women (and couples) who experience this loss find it difficult to manage their grief. Going through grief with a partner can seem like an easier process than going it alone. But the truth is, until you actually go through a traumatic experience with your partner, you will not know how each other is going to handle it. For some couples it can be a severely devastating and difficult experience to navigate together. But there are ways to help your relationship after a miscarriage.
The infertility experience is filled with stress. Who to tell, how much to tell, how to cope with the fertile world, how to communicate with loved ones and health care providers, how to juggle treatment and personal life and, above all, how to bear the interminable waiting. This list could be much more extensive, but you get the idea: it doesn’t take long for infertility to become a ruling force in your life.
Empty nest syndrome is a feeling of grief and loneliness parents may feel when their children leave home for the first time, such as to live on their own or to attend a college or university. It is not a clinical condition. Since young adults moving out from their families house is generally a normal and healthy event, the symptoms of empty nest syndrome often go unrecognized. This can result in depression and a loss of purpose for parents, since the departure of their children from “the nest” leads to adjustments in parents’ lives.
“Crowded Nest Syndrome” – Surviving the Return of Adult Children
Nearly one in three unmarried adults lives with a parent in todays age. Young adults may continue to either live with their parents or move back in with their parents past the customary age for leaving home. This practice is connected to the lack of employment opportunities for adults, the standard of living in certain cities and financial hardship caused by student loans or other financial debt. This transition from ’empty-nest’ to ‘crowded-nest’ can be challenging for parents who thought their role in the home was complete and can affect the couples communication, stability and financial situation.
If an individual has a relationship with an addict, there are multiple ways that this is may be affecting their life: Control: Individuals who are living with addiction feel overwhelmed, which can lead to a need to be controlling. This can look like a parent who is managing their children’s relationships or a boss who is micromanaging everything. Easily Anxious: tend to worry more about everything when they have an addiction. They become very focused on making sure everyone is happy, thus making work and daily life harder than it should be. Trying to Help: People in a relationship with individuals with addiction often try to make triggers go away. If the individual says that a messy home drives them to drink, the people around them may take to cleaning all the time in order to stop them from drinking. While the blaming can feel personal, it’s typically just an excuse and is not at the root of the problems. Other’s Behaviors: Individuals will begin focusing on the addict’s behaviors. Fixating on whether they will drink or use drugs tonight, perhaps wondering if someone will be there to help if there’s an overdose. More often than not this leads to self-neglect and a cycle that repeats itself. Denial: It’s extremely normal for both the addict and loved ones to deny there is a problem. Denial can perpetuate the disease for the individual living with addiction, as well as the family. Addiction can have a significant impact on all individuals. This is a disease that can be helped through therapy, life coaching and addiction treatment, assisting those affected to live a more normal life.
Parenting is one of the most fulfilling feelings in many people’s life and they compromise many of their career opportunities to give their kids what they perceive as happiness, joy and love. Somehow, parenting our children is the most responsible thing most of us ever do, yet we are doomed to experiment every day of our kids’ life, through trial and error, in search of the best parenting formula. Parenting has been going on since the beginning of humanity, but many parents still feel they must reinvent the wheel over and over again and count on some mysterious instincts they are supposed to have. More often than not, parents have difficulties balancing their jobs, partners, relationships, financials and children. They also struggle to make do with whatever resources they have in order to meet their kids’ needs. This situation is reflected by their kids’ behaviour and state of mind, often causing unhappiness, frustration and self-doubt. Kids make parenting an even bigger challenge. Luckily, help is just around the corner.
Loss of Loved One (parent, friend, sibling)
The pain of grief can often cause you to want to withdraw from others and retreat into your shell. But having the face-to-face support of other people is vital to healing from loss. Even if you aren’t comfortable talking about your feelings under normal circumstances, it’s important to express them when you’re grieving. While sharing your loss can make the burden of grief easier to carry, that doesn’t mean that every time you interact with friends and family, you need to talk about your loss. Comfort can also come from just being around others who care about you.
Loss of Job
The loss of a job can be devastating to your bank account, career and self-esteem. When this happens, you may ask yourself, “Where do I go from here? It’s too late to start over…how will I provide for my family and get through this?” The fear and shame can be paralyzing. Starting over seems impossible. It’s never too late to start again. Coping with and recovering from loss of a job is made manageable with the help of a life coach. By going through the necessary steps of surrender, facing reality, finding the opportunity and positive amidst the negative, you can help turn your mindset and career around.
Dealing with Prolonged Illness
Are you or a loved one dealing with a prolonged illness? Living with chronic illness or pain – or being in an intimate relationship with someone who is – can lead to depression, stress, anxiety, hopelessness and a feeling of isolation. It can be debilitating, demoralizing and devastating for the individual, the couple or the family. Questions of “Am I a burden?” “What if it gets worse?” and “Am I good enough?” can plague the mind. There is hope! Having a coach who has experienced this intimately provides credible insight and understanding. It is possible to have peace of mind, to live life fully, and be in healthy relationship with yourself and those around you.
Transition into Retirement
Retirement is both an exciting and a confusing time. Many aspects of your life are totally rearranged — especially routines, roles, and responsibilities. Add to that spending a lot more time with your partner and the potential for problems skyrockets. When a couple does not talk about their expectations for the big and little areas in their new life, tension and resentment often challenges their relationship. You may have a relationship that was running like a well-oiled machine. Then one or both of you retire. All the changes impact what you want and need in your relationship. It is a wonderful opportunity to enhance your relationship. But it requires you to renegotiate the “rules of engagement.” What needs to be renegotiated? Nearly everything. Odds are your old roles and responsibilities have been working just fine for some time. But now that the amount of time you have available has changed, it’s time to reexamine who does what around the house, how much time you are going to spend doing things together, and how much time you will do things separately. Even how you make decisions might shift. If you were used to making decisions yourself in your area of your former life, it might be necessary to look at how you are going to handle the increased number of decisions that now affect both of you.
As a San Diego marriage therapist and couples counselor, Craig Lambert, LCSW is dedicated to helping people realize their relationship’s potential through all life’s stages. To take the next step, contact Craig today.