When marriage became a functional relationship and tension and unhappiness started to build up in their years of marriage, Michael and Sarah (*not couple’s real names) lost touch as a couple with Sarah falling into mild depression. Here is their story on how marriage counselling helped saved and revived the love in their marriage.

By Sarah*

Just like any marriage, ours too started with a lot of passion and intimacy. We were madly in love when we decided to take that first step towards commitment with our marriage wows and promise of “till death do us part”.  We took these vows seriously and put our faith and trust in our religion to keep us united and strong together.

We soon began building our lives together, working towards a new home and learning how to carry out our roles as husband and wife. This included earning good salaries  to maintain a household and planning for our future together. As with most married couples, we were looking forward to having children, and were greatly blessed with two healthy and active boys (now age 14 and 10). With children comes greater responsibilities of being parents and that was the game changing moment! Suddenly, our marriage became functional.

Michael worked harder to provide the best he can for the family. This resulted in him having less time spent at home. Communication and conversations became less intimate and we were constantly chasing after the need to get things done. I stayed home as the main caregiver of the family and focused my efforts towards caring for the well-being of ourchildren. The role consumed most of my energy and there never seem to be sufficient time for anything else.

As the years passed by, tension and unhappiness built up amongst us. We lost touch with each other as we assume our functional roles. We stopped enjoy each other’s company as we used to previously. I felt contempt towards Michael and I could not seem to find any good or happy moments in our marriage. Michael too felt the strain and started to shut down as a way  to maintain peace in our daily lives.

After years of evading our marital issues and not being honest with each other, the worst happened.  We stopped communicating and our emotional connection fizzling. Our intimacy with each other was also affected. I slowly slipped into depression.. I could not stop crying and was unable to do anything on most days. At this moment, was we realized that we needed help and fast as the problems became too big for us to resolve.

We soon approached REACH Counselling and very quickly started our journey towards “repairing” what we have broken – trust. 

We started our therapy soon after based on the Gottman Couples Therapy Model. We took an online assessment tool used to identify the strengths and challenges couples faced. This was an eye-opening exercise that reminded us about what we saw in each other. Our counselor identified the gaps in our relationship and gave us a very clear direction on how we could work on our growth areas and strengthen the positives in our relationship. It was then that we both felt a great sense of hope of our marriage.

As we diligently went through the sessions, there were many intense and honest moments that were well managed by our Counsellor. A platform was created to help us reveal all the GOOD, BAD and UGLY.  Throughout the therapy, there were sessions that left us drained and mentally battered. That was only because we were able to talk about our underlying issues and the emotions that came with it.  However, there were also good sessions where we were able to recall our admiration and appreciation for each other in our years of marriage or when we were making progress. Nonetheless, we know that this is the process that we have to go through. Throughout our many sessions, our Counsellor was fair and facilitated our sessions well. We could feel that we were genuinely cared for. We know he wants us to “get better”.  However, this is not an overnight process. We were given the space to practice the couple exercises or what some of us will call “homework” on our own. It helped immensely as we learned new knowledge and skills to communicate effectively and manage our conflicts.

Four months on, and our relationship is slowly getting closer. We now appreciate each other more and forged a stronger trust with each other The intimacy we felt when we first met 18 years ago was being rediscovered We are not totally mended yet and are still working it out. We are persevering on because we believe our marriage is the most important thing to us.

I am thankful for REACH Counselling and their dedication in the journey they walk with us.  

Republished with permission by REACH Counselling Centre (RC).

REACH Counselling Centre (RC) is a community touchpoint of REACH Community Services Society, a multi-service charity organisation. RC provides individual, couple and family counselling and aims to build a niche in marriage and infidelity counselling. It offers the Torn Asunder Affair Recovery Programme as well as marriage preparation and marriage enrichment programmes to support couples in their marriage. 

For more information or to book an appointment, reach them online at 
www.reach.org.sg, call them at 68010730 or email to RC@reach.org.sg.