703-224-1630; Fax 703- 841-2752
MARITAL AND PREMARITAL COUNSELING
Intimacy and effective communication:
In significant love relationships, each person brings his or her own ideas, values, opinions, and personal history, and inevitably differences surface. Sometimes they can seem complementary; at other times, these differences can be a source of power struggle or loneliness. When couples communicate well, they create a climate of safety and respectful engagement that allows for intimacy. Intimacy stimulated by healthy communication:
• eases stress
• is realistic and flexible
• uses fair fighting techniques and allows for individuality
• promotes personal growth
• allows for hospitality.
Relationships can be tested by a number of factors—financial stress, cultural clashes, conflicts about child rearing, substance abuse, anger issues, or an extra-marital affair. Sometimes the stressors are multiple or cumulative and can lead to a gradual disintegration of communication and caring.
Catholic Charities’ Family Services is always there to help you. Its marriage and family counseling:
• offers couples the tools to communicate better, negotiate differences, problem solve, and even argue in a healthy way
• helps couples and families to understand and resolve conflicts and improve their relationships
• assists couples who simply want to strengthen their bonds and gain a better understanding of each other
• aids couples who plan to get married---this pre-marriage counseling can help couples achieve a deeper understanding of each other and iron out differences before a union is sealed
• can help couples ward off the possibility of problems becoming entrenched.
When a couple plans a “blended family” and thinks about the family culture they want to create, a careful look is needed to the pre-existing family unit. A couple deciding to re-marry may experience a sense of readiness that is different from that of one or the other’s children.
The following questions are worth considering by parents bringing children into a new family unit formed with a new spouse:
• What unique challenges does the new “step-parent” face in building relationships with a spouse’s children?
• What kind of unique challenges confront the children as they adjust to a new parent and the re-structuring of their pre-existing family unit or role? How is the new relationship-building affected by the ages of the “step- children”?
• The children’s biological parent has an important role in facilitating this relationship-building. What might this facilitating role look like?
• How is parental discipline made more complicated in a blended family?
• If there are some children who are in the home all the time and others who are present on a visitation schedule, how do parents avoid the perception of favored status among children?