For many couples, the worst thing they believe can happen is their partner cheating. They have it in their minds that they can handle just about anything except for that. I hear all the time from spouses and partners that “cheating is the ultimate deal breaker”. Well, as crazy as it sounds, I would like couples to know that it doesn’t have end after infidelity. Continue reading
If there was one thing that helped me in my journey as a father, it was being part of a community of dads. I’ve been fortunate to be part of multiple dads groups. Some groups were informal, like hanging with more seasoned dads at my church, while others were more organized like the Miami Dads Group and the National At-Home-Dad Network. These groups helped me make sense of situations that were new to me as an inexperienced father. Continue reading
When it comes to picking up the phone and making an appointment with a therapist, people have reservations. It’s a big step. Below is some information I hope will make it easier to make that call.
1. Your secrets are safe with me.
Many people don’t seek the help of a therapist because they are concerned about privacy. They don’t want the information they share to get out. Well, if you are seeing a qualified therapist, you should know that by law we must keep your information confidential. Continue reading
It has been a while since my last post. I apologize for that and assure you that it is not something that I am happy about. However, there is a very good explanation for my year-long absence. During the past 12 months I have been conducting research, transcribing interviews, and analyzing data on black fathers as primary caregivers. This means I had long days and short nights; all in the hopes of completing my PhD in Family Therapy. I am happy to report Continue reading
At the time I sat to write this post, my brother’s wedding is exactly 175 days, 5 hours 31 minutes and 15 seconds away (Crazy right? There’s like… an app for everything). As engaged couples move closer to their nuptials, certain aspects about their relationship become clearer. They can be relatively minor things like his obsession with funky socks or her habit of leaving 12 pairs of shoes in the car (…now 13 and counting). On the flip side, you may also realize that you have some differences that are potential deal breakers. Perhaps he doesn’t want to tithe or she doesn’t want to have children. These difficult conversations and others are vitally important to the success of a marriage. They may be hard to have alone, but a good therapist with experience in working with couples can help.
As for my brother and his future bride, depending on who you ask, they’ve been seeing their counselor for two or three months. They tell me that he’s a pastor and that he’s okay. He was a referral from a colleague and he seems to know what he’s talking about. It is important that you like or respect your counselor. If not, you are less likely to value what they tell you.
Some couples are weary about seeing a counselor because they feel he will ruin things. “We are happy now. A counselor will only make us fight.” While some couples may end up in fights after seeing a counselor, it is not the fault of the counselor. All he did was bring up issues you did not notice or were in denial about. The time to talk and address those issues is before getting married, not after. It’s much easier before you say “I do.” I tell all couples, you can either see me now or see me later.
While working with their counselor, my brother and his fiancée had some new revelations. For starters, they are both keenly aware of how they communicate and have adjusted how they talk to each other. Specifically, Rose realized that she did not always say what’s on her mind. She didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings and she especially cares about my brother and how he feels.
According to my brother, her mother is the same way. She takes care of everyone else and makes sure they are okay. Sometimes she ignores her own emotions. This does not surprise me because we are talking about learned behaviors.
My brother, on the other hand, realized that he could soften up a bit. Don’t be mistaken, he’s not a monster or anything. Truth be told, he is quite the teddy bear. However, his future wife is not accustomed to his direct and straightforward approach. He says what he means and he means what he says. He learned that from growing up in a single parent household. We had to be tough and sometimes emotions get in the way. Unfortunately, tough can at times be interpreted as mean.
I was relieved to hear that their counselor covered what I consider the basics of premarital counseling. Even better is the fact that they both appear to be benefiting from the premarital counseling. Now they just have to figure out which furniture stays and which has to go. (I don’t think he’s winning that one, that couch is nasty bro).
Here are some key things to consider and remember before engaging in premarital counseling:
- Make sure the therapist is a fit for both of you. If you both don’t agree on the therapist, one of you will become angry and it will become something to fight about; which defeats the purpose.
- Do your due diligence. Make sure your therapist is qualified. Working with couples requires a lot of skill.
- Do the assignments! The time you spend with your counselor is not enough. You must read, study and practice the things discussed during your sessions with the counselor.
- Not all engaged couples get married. Some couples think that premarital counseling is about making sure they’ve made the right decision. This is the wrong approach. Premarital counseling is about exploring and exposing things you may not be aware of before you get married so you can make an informed decision.
The Haitian Therapist
There was a recent study conducted by the American Society of Civil Engineers on the infrastructure of the United States. In 2013 they released their findings. In the course of their study, they discovered that 24.9% of the nations bridges are classified as either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. That means there are more than 150,000 bridges in use that should either be torn down or repaired. Can you say scary? Continue reading
I recently had a conversation with a good friend of mine. He’s a retired pastor. During this conversation we got to talking about my practice when he asks, “Are you a christian counselor?” Continue reading