If you are in a committed relationship or have had one in the past, you’ll recognize the questions couples ask in this book. If you’re wondering why you can’t sustain a committed relationship, you’ll find a lot of answers here. As a therapist in private practice for many years, I encounter these very questions on a daily basis – the couples I work with ask them repeatedly. Using her expertise as a columnist, author and counselor, Sherry Amatenstein LCSW invites well-known authors, therapists, coaches and counselors to answer them in this enlightening and informative book. As a result, the reader is treated to a very revealing glimpse into the private space of the counseling office, as well as the different approaches of the experts.
Most couples wait far too long before agreeing to go for counseling together. Sometimes, a judge has to mandate counseling or mediation before a couple will seek help. Because marital problems tend to get more entrenched with time, this delay means the couple's habits and attitudes are more ingrained and harder to change, so counseling takes more time and money. The Complete Marriage Counselor can make an important difference to real couples, by de-mystifying the advice of the experts, and by demonstrating how reasonable and effective that advice can be. Hopefully, anyone reading it to search for answers about their relationship questions will be encouraged to seek counseling, if the answers are not all they need. Sherry includes guidelines for finding counseling at the end of the book.
The advice of the experts quoted here is wise and thoughtful, obviously the result of years of helping struggling couples communicate better, solve problems, create more functional partnerships and increase the love and intimacy between them. Sherry offers her “take” – her astute recap and analysis of the experts’ varied responses to each question; and her “two cents” – her own advice for the particular situation. The sum total gives you, the reader, several points of view from which to assess the situation and a variety of solutions to apply in your own relationship.
In a couple’s counseling session, partners ask about fairness, frustration, sex, intimacy, chores, family dysfunction, betrayal, infidelity, monogamy, privacy, money, parenting, blended families, struggling, time, health, anger, separating and starting over. Sherry covers all those topics and more. Because these are the major issues most couples struggle with, you’ll undoubtedly see snapshots of your own past and present relationships in these pages.
The experts’ suggestions clearly show that simple changes can make a very effective difference to a struggling, confused or concerned couple. The advice here can also be useful to couples who are not struggling but who simply have questions they may not be comfortable sharing with friends and family, or even each other. I also believe it will be a great resource for stimulating conversation between you and your mate. If your mate doesn’t read much, try just reading one (carefully chosen) question aloud from this book. Presto! You’ll have instant conversation.
As you read, you’ll find that this book affords a priceless array of well-known and respected counselors, and reveals that even experts don’t always agree. When they don’t, Sherry is right there to sort out any confusion.
It's also useful to me as a therapist, because I often find that backing up my own counsel with the advice of other experts helps my clients to understand the recommendations in a more well-rounded way. I am delighted to see the questions and answers here. I can picture myself pulling out this book when a client is resisting or confused, and reading the advice in these pages aloud, which will accomplish several things: it gives the clients several different points of view from which to view the problem, shows that the experts often agree on what’s important, and helps partners understand the changes in attitude and habit that are necessary to create a relationship that works.
Every counselor in these pages has dedicated his or her life’s work to helping couples navigate the often rocky, winding pathways to marital success and satisfaction. The Appendix in the back lists brief bios, books and the philosophy of each expert. It’s an astounding list. The sum total of wisdom, experience and perspective you will find here will astonish and enlighten you, and definitely benefit your relationship.