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  • Marriage Breakdown
  • How to Stop the Deterioration
  • Rebuild Your Marriage

Listening: The Key to Effective Communication

Communication breakdown in relationships has reached epidemic proportions.

Couples are very busy. In most cases both partners work; they have children to raise; and family and friends to attend to. They are always in a hurry. In the Rush that has become their life, they find that they haven’t got the time to listen and to respond to each other. Before they know it they have stopped communicating and perhaps have even stopped relating.

If this problem is not addressed it may result in the demise of many relationships. The thing is that most couples are not aware that their communication has broken down. They accept as normal their brief contacts over a meal or as they rush off to work. With little time for sharing they establish a communication pattern based on a lack of listening as they pay lip service to what their partner is saying. A false belief emerges that if I see your lips moving and respond, I am listening and understand what you are saying. But just because you say “I understand”, does not necessarily mean you do.

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How to Resuscitate a Dying Relationship

All relationships are unique. There is no template for the perfect relationship and no one way to heal an unwell one. But we can always learn something from the experiences of others.

Judy and Will’s Story

When I first met Judy and Will they blurted out in a somewhat bewildered fashion that they really didn’t have a problem and didn’t know why they were talking to me BUT their relationship was feeling a bit flat and was there something that could be done about this?

Both went on to proclaim that when they met and married just over three years ago their relationship was wonderful and they felt great every time they were together. They had met on the tennis courts and were overjoyed in finding a companion that shared their passion for tennis and for a whole range of other sports.

For the first year of their marriage their life together centred around tennis, squash, biking and any extreme sports they felt challenged to try. They were the best of friends and felt they had “lucked onto” the perfect partner. They never argued, they did everything together and always had fun.

Things however suddenly changed. Judy suffered a knee injury and could no longer participate in these high impact sports.

Will felt sorry for Judy missing out on these activities she loved so much and initially he cut down on some of his pursuits so as to spend some time with her. But soon he was back on the tennis and squash courts and was engaging in all his sporting interests as before. He just relied more on his mates for companionship.

Judy began to use her new found time upgrading her skills through various courses and began to focus more on her career.

For the first time since they had become a couple they were no longer spending very much time together, and when they did get together over the odd meal they were at a loss as to what to talk about. They still were not arguing and were polite and civil to each other, enjoying a laugh now and then. BUT….

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Moving Forward after Adultery

When couples are asked what are the five most important qualities that keep their relationship alive and thriving over 90% will include “trust” in their answer.

Trust is a big one. It means “to have faith or confidence in someone or something and to believe in the honesty and reliability of someone else”.

Today when we think of trust in a relationship we automatically assume we are talking about sexual fidelity and the trust that each partner holds in the other to keep sacred the sexual union. And indeed infidelity is one of the main reasons relationships end.

But trust does not only impact on the sexual. A wife may not trust the children with her alcoholic husband. One partner may not trust the other with money. In abusive relationships one partner cannot trust the other with their safety. When communication is poor in relationships both partners often can’t trust each other to listen.

Without disregarding the significance of these different perspectives on trust it is sexual infidelity that catches the attention of society and makes a great impact on relationships. It raises such questions as: “What happens when trust is gone due to sexual infidelity?”; “Does this breach of trust mean the relationship is over?”; “Can a relationship survive this betrayal?”; “If yes-how?”

These were exactly the questions that Lin and Craig were asking when they came to counselling.

Lin and Craig’s Story

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