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Getting Your Marriage Prepared for the “Big One”

Humans can be terrible at thinking about and planning for the future.

Take my wife, Ellyn, and myself. We live in the San Francisco Bay area. Possibly one of the most famous fault lines in the world runs through our great city. Geological experts have been saying the next big one looms on the horizon and could strike any time now. Almost anyone with any knowledge of the Bay Area knows that it’s more a matter of when not if an earthquake will strike.

So how did my wife and I prepare ourselves? A few bottles of water and a small camping stove.

No bug-out bag and no earthquake-proofing. Basically, the minimum we could do to prepare ourselves. No expert or casual survivalist would say we’ve sufficiently prepared ourselves for the next big one.

To really prepare ourselves, we should retrofit our home’s foundation. When the city’s founders were first building these famous San Francisco homes, they lacked knowledge about laying foundations to withstand large earthquakes. Those early builders just built the houses with the same knowledge shared by everyone else – dig a hole, pour some concrete, and start building.

These days, we better understand what happens during a quake. Engineers have studied the problem and developed a solution that can withstand pretty much everything but the most severe earthquakes.

Have Ellyn and I listened to the experts and used this knowledge to prepare ourselves? Or have we put off our preparations, gambling our home and lives?

Well, we have some bottles of water.

Like many other humans, we suffer a common affliction – we procrastinate on anything requiring significant planning or effort.

How does this apply to our marriage?

Ok, humans are bad at preparing for natural disasters, but how does this apply to us, you might be asking?

Disaster strikes more than 500,000 couples every year. For most, this disaster is more devastating than an earthquake and can shake our homes to their foundations.

We’re talking, of course, about divorce.

Every year, more than a million couples get married. Unfortunately, half of all those marriages end in divorce. All that love, promise, and potential is reduced to figurative rubble.

And unlike the unpredictable “next big one” to strike San Francisco, divorce is statistically predictable. Most divorces occur within 4 years of a couple tying the knot.

Sadly, even knowing that they face 50% odds, most couples don’t make an effort to disaster-proof their marriage. They procrastinate and put off anything that could help them until the disaster has already struck. However, by then, it’s often too late. There’s no point in relaying your foundation when the home on top has already been reduced to rubble.

Don’t worry, there’s hope!

Ok, I know that’s a lot of doom and gloom up there, and we’re sorry. We needed to make a point, and we hope you’re hearing us. It’s worth noting that those are the numbers now, but they can always be changed.

Early homes and skyscrapers would fall over from the slightest shake. But as technology advanced, buildings learned to go with the flow and stay upright. Similarly, we now know much more about how relationships work and have the tools required to help them weather multiple disasters.

It’s worth noting that a little now can go a long way later. When starting early in a marriage, couples counseling helps prepare your marriage’s foundation before a disaster has struck. It’s much easier to learn healthy communication skills and conflict resolution before you’re in the midst of a significant argument, for example.

There is also a powerful thing you can be doing now on your own to get ready.

We can begin preparing our marriage for what’s to come by changing to a positive attitude focused on what we can control.

Instead of getting stuck thinking about “what my partner needs to change,” we change our thinking to “I will do what is required of me.” This subtle shift in energy and focus has major implications for the health of your relationship.

Thinking positively about what you can be doing to prepare yourself helps reinforce your marriage’s foundation. Remember when you first got together with your significant other? You saw them as amazing and never gave a second thought to making small sacrifices for them. Thinking about doing what is required of you takes you back to that early energy.

Get started preparing your relationship today.

We believe in relationships. At Grow My Relationship, we love seeing couples flourish and thrive.

Please hear us that we’re not saying that everyone is doomed to fail. Yes, the current marriage statistics are sobering. But stats can change. Especially when we take time to shift our thinking and do what we can to prepare.

When you live in an area prone to certain things, you do little things to prepare for what you know will come. Folks up north winterize their homes, and those in Texas get good AC, for example. This reminds me that I should get a bit more than a few water bottles to prepare for the next “big one.”

If you need help getting started or some extra guidance, please contact us today. We can help you find the right couples counselor for your specific relationship needs.
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Coach

A relationship coach supports couples in learning vital partnership skills and helps you to develop conflict resolution skills, offering tools to achieve a thriving, healthy relationship. Coaches tend to focus on the present and creating an inspired future.

All well-trained relationship specialists seek to offer advice, feedback, observations, and homework to help your relationship evolve. Therapists and counselors have mandatory educational and licensing requirements that are determined by the state or country in which they practice. Coaches do not.

Clinical Social Worker
All well-trained relationship specialists seek to offer advice, feedback, observations, and homework to help your relationship evolve.

This profession usually requires two years of study after obtaining an undergraduate degree. While specific licensure requirements vary by state, most require clinical social workers to obtain 3,000 hours or 2 years of supervised clinical experience, after obtaining a Masters degree. Social workers can also specialize in diverse fields such as human services management, social welfare analysis, community organizing, social and community development, and social and political research.

As you know, this is not an easy task when you and your partner are struggling to communicate, cooperate, and connect. This is where a highly trained guide is especially valuable.

Marriage and Family Therapist/Counselor (LMFT)
All well-trained relationship specialists seek to offer advice, feedback, observations, and homework to help your relationship evolve. 

Therapists and counselors have mandatory educational and licensing requirements that are determined by the state or country in which they practice. Obtaining this license requires a Masters degree which takes approximately two years of post graduate study. The license also requires 3000 hours of supervised work and passing written exams.

Counselors and therapists may make situational determinations about how deep to go into the personal history of each partner. They may seek to help you see where certain unhelpful patterns of behavior originated. 

Clinical Psychologist
All well-trained relationship specialists seek to offer advice, feedback, observations, and homework to help your relationship evolve.

After graduating from college, it usually takes about five years of graduate school to get a Ph.D. in Psychology. It then requires an additional two years of supervision and passing a written (and often) an oral exam. There are a few states that allow psychologists to prescribe medications (with additional training) but that is uncommon.

Our professionals can guide you to clarify your individual goals as well as enable you to develop mutually agreed upon and supported relationship goals.

Psychiatrist
All well-trained relationship specialists seek to offer advice, feedback, observations, and homework to help your relationship evolve.

After graduation from medical school, there is a generally a 4-year psychiatric residency. After the completion of this training, psychiatrists must pass an exam issued by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology to obtain certification and legally practice in the field. Psychiatrists can prescribe medications.

Our professionals can guide you to clarify your individual goals as well as enable you to develop mutually agreed upon and supported relationship goals.

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