Category Archives: Marriage

Marriage counseling at Shoreline Counselor, LLC, involves solution-focused, Marriage and Family Therapy and is offered in the mid-western Michigan region.  The emphasis is upon relational, interpersonal systems within which we all live, work and play.

Areas served include the communities of Muskegon, Muskegon Heights, North Muskegon, Grand Haven, Ferrysburg, Spring Lake, Fruitport, Ravenna, Bridgeton, Twin Lake, Dalton, Whitehall, and beyond.

Marriage: Expectations

We all have expectations for how husbands and wives are supposed to function in marriage relationships.  One of the goals of pre-marital counseling is to clarify those expectations that are mutually compatible in contrast to those that are not.  Hopefully, a couple will negotiate through those contrasting expectations before the knot is tied.

When those expectations are not addressed before the marriage then the couple must negotiate through those contrasting points as they go.  Unfortunately, sometimes these expectations are never verbalized.  The other partner is supposed to know what to do intuitively, without being told.  The belief is that once I tell my mate what I expect he or she will now fulfill my expectation out of duty, not out of love.

Contrasting, unverbalized expectations combined with the normal stressors of marriage and family life is not good.  Sometimes they can lead to unresolved conflict that simmers below the surface until one partner finally explodes.  When that happens those expectations are often expressed in  hurtful resentments and angry words that make it hard for the other partner to listen without reacting in kind.

Marriage and Family Therapists are equipped to help couples surface those hidden expectations and work through the tangled web of unresolved conflict.  While it is much easier to address them in pre-marital counseling, before the resentment and anger sets in, it is still possible to find hope when nothing else seems to be working.

Before You Marry – Premarital Counseling

Marital Bliss

Weddings often cost thousands of dollars and involve tens if not hundreds of people. Families, friends, and co-workers all come together to celebrate these special, once-in-a-lifetime occasions. Gifts, food, flowers, rentals, tuxedos, matching gowns and dresses…the list of expenses can be huge. Question: What gift outlives most gifts when you marry? Answer: premarital counseling…the gift that keeps on giving.

We are so in love…

It is so easy to start out thinking that we can work through our difficulties because we are so in love. So, we decide to go ahead and get married, trusting that our love for each other will be strong enough to weather any storm, to iron out all of our idiosyncrasies and differences of opinion. Far too often marriages fail because there had not been enough advanced planning about the things that really matter years after the wedding is a distant memory.

Win/win for the two of you

Compared to the cost of a wedding there are just too many relatively inexpensive tools available not to spend a few hundred dollars on premarital counseling. The Marriage and Family Therapist has access to diagnostic assessments and therapeutic tools that can help a couple address their challenges before they tie the knot. Pre-marital counseling raises the flags in relationships before the seemingly minor differences between people become sources of tension and hostility. By addressing our challenges up front therapists help couples develop the skills to help them resolve their problems as win/win scenarios long before they ever become win/lose battles for power and control.

I do…

Before you say “I do” spend 1-hour with a South Shore Counselor who can help you anticipate the opportunities and challenges that are unique only to you and your partner.

Echoes of a Marriage and Family Therapist

This morning it was in the upper 40’s and it was cold.  Cold enough to wear a jacket!  Just two days ago it was 97 degrees and humidity was over the top miserable.

Coming down off of mid-life I have had several revelations of late.  One of those involves this ‘cold’ weather in the upper 40’s with overcast skies of the darker, heavier thin altocumulus type.  While attending school at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas I disliked the intense heat of the summer.

One summer I traveled with an International Campaign group to Germany and Austria and I was overwhelmed by the coolness of the evenings in the middle of summer…I loved it!  And so, from then on I have associated cool snaps in the summer time with Europe wherever we have lived in the south: Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Louisiana.

It was only this year that I realized that my love for the cool evenings in Europe had its origins in my childhood days in Michigan, much like we are experiencing today.  The high was in the 60’s with a low in the 40’s, the skies were overcast and mowing the grass was almost…almost…an enjoyable activity.  Growing up with this kind of weather led me to appreciate it in other locales to the point that I forgot about those early experiences.  Nonetheless, I longed for them.

Then the trips to Europe and Scandinavia became associated with cool nights and warm afternoons.  And then it hit me, after 54 years: the reason I love the weather in Europe is because I love the weather in Michigan.

Which reminds me of one of life’s great lessons.  Many of our attitudes, perceptions and values are shaped by times, places and people long forgotten or far away.   One of the great tragedies of life is the unexamined life.  Moving from one life event, family life cycle or crisis to another without contemplating how I deal with things and why leaves me rediscovering deja vu experiences without understanding why or how I got there.  But, perhaps one of the greatest tragedies is the unexamined faith is when we accept what we accept because we accept it without considering its basis in reality.  To live life with Christ without verifying, modifying or dispelling my beliefs…essentially, testing them, is to miss out on the adventure and to terminate the depth of understanding that comes with the life examined and tested.

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed” (1 Cor. 13:5-7).