Are you having doubts?

Doubts about getting married are fairly common.

You may be worrying that you and your partner aren’t compatible enough.

Perhaps there are parts of your relationship that don’t work so well – and you think they could become more of a problem further down the line.

Maybe you’ve got the feeling there could be someone else out there for you.

So, what are your expectations? What does marriage mean to you?

Does it mean spending your life in eternal harmony with the one person who completes you? Or is it a commitment made while appreciating all the challenges that it might bring?

Marriage often comes with all kinds of pre-conceived ideas. Many of these may put pressure on you, both individually and as a couple. But it can be useful to think of marriage as the beginning of a journey.

Every marriage comes with its challenges. Even the most well-suited couples are likely to face difficulties. Even if the way they feel about each other doesn’t change, the circumstances around them may well do so. People get new jobs. Children may be born. You may face unexpected financial pressures…

Going into marriage expecting some hardship – ok, it’s a less idealistic and romantic way of looking at marriage – can help you be more realistic about what might happen.

That doesn’t mean feeling any less excited about getting married – but it does mean thinking about how you might adapt to change when it comes along; how you and your partner might, as a team, learn to negotiate around difficulty and work towards agreed solutions.

What do you expect of your partner?

Likewise, the same mindset may help when you think about compatibility.

Getting on well with your partner is, of course, really important. But no one is perfect for someone else. Even if this doesn’t become apparent right away, it’s quite likely there will be things about your partner you’ll find challenging or confusing.

As long as you feel you can be yourself around your partner, and there’s opportunity to negotiate around these differences, they don’t have to be a big problem. It’s about learning to work together – discussing together what you both find troublesome.

Besides, a bit of difference in a relationship can be a really good thing! It can allow you to challenge each other and to help one another see things from a different viewpoint.

Learn to deal with difference. It can be much better to develop this ability early in your relationship. Developing open and empathetic communication can be a big advantage.

So… talk together about the future. Have some idea of each other’s expectations – an understanding about each other’s thoughts on children, jobs, where you’d like to live… Explore your life goals together.

And if you still feel apprehensive about marriage…

… but you’re tempted to give it a try, cohabiting may help.

Living together enables you to get to know each other more closely. It can show you what it would be like to see your partner every day – and may allow you to build a shared space together.

However, be mindful that sometimes couples have different ideas about where such an arrangement may lead. It’s not unusual for one person to have assumed that getting married would be the automatic outcome of cohabiting. It’s important to keep communication open so you remain on the same page.

Ultimately, there are limits to how certain you can be. In the end, we can only act on what we know now. We can make preparations, but we can never fully control what will happen in the future.

Sometimes, we need to make a decision based on what we already know – not on what we wish we could know.

If you’d like to talk about all this with one of our counsellors, why not give our friendly appointments team a call on 01604 634400.

Gone off sex?

It’s common for a relationship to go through phases where one or both partners lose interest in sex.

Sexual interest tends to ebb and flow over time – and partners may have different sex drives at different stages in a relationship.

Losing interest can also be related to specific issues in the relationship, or external pressures from outside it.

Why might you or your partner have gone off sex? (more…)

Dating: the pleasures and pitfalls

Dating can be a great way of meeting and getting to know a potential partner.

Online dating has made it possible to meet more new people than ever – and more easily too.

And while that’s allowed us to have more control over the types of people we meet, and to think in more detail about the sort of partner who might work for us, it has also come with a few challenges and pitfalls. (more…)

Alternatives to ‘ghosting’

Social media has brought a whole new range of opportunities and insecurities to relationships.

On the ‘down side’, those who date and have grown up with social media face the likes of ‘ghosting’.

For those lucky enough to not have experienced it, ‘ghosting’ is when someone you’ve been seeing suddenly cuts off all contact, seemingly vanishing off the face of the earth without explanation.

Has the other person stopped replying because you just said something weird? Have they met someone new? Do they not actually like you?

It’s enough to make you feel paranoid. (more…)

Breaking up is hard to do

You’ve decided to put an end to all the arguing, all the tension, all the indecision – and tell your partner: ‘It’s over.’

All you’ve got to do is actually do it!

It sounds straightforward enough. But it’s not always easy.

Maybe you’re worried about hurting your partner. Perhaps you know they don’t want to break up, and that doing so will leave them in a bad state. (more…)

Effects of your arguments on children

Many of us will remember what it was like to listen to our parents arguing. The feelings of helplessness, panic and sadness. A desire to block it out or run away.

Yet it can be easy to forget this as a parent later in life. We can get so mixed up in arguments with our partner that we don’t see things from the perspective of our children – who may be going through something very similar to what we once felt.

It’s no secret that parental arguments can have a negative effect on children. The different ways in which this can occur, though, aren’t always as obvious. And it can be easy to fail to appreciate how long-lasting these effects can be – sometimes carrying on for years as children become adults themselves. (more…)

Why do my children argue so much?

Arguments between children can be upsetting for a parent. You may worry about your relationship with your children – especially if the arguments have been going on regularly for a while. You may feel a responsibility to stop the arguing, or may be upset that the arguments are causing disharmony in your family.

While some arguing between children is common – and indeed, might be expected – what can make a difference is the regularity and intensity of arguments. If your children are constantly at odds, or arguments are becoming really aggressive, or even physical, this can create real problems. (more…)

When a new baby isn’t entirely that bundle of joy you’d expected

We’re sometimes reluctant to talk about what it’s really like to bring a new baby into a family – apart from the acceptance that we’re likely to get a lot less sleep.

Expectations run high and anything that contradicts them can be difficult to process.

As a new parent, you’re letting go of one life and discovering another. This process can take time.

It’s a period of intense change for you, your partner, and your new baby. You learn together what that new ‘normal’ looks like but, meanwhile, it’s important not to judge yourself, nor your partner, if things feel uncomfortable. Be gentle with each other. (more…)

‘Children learn positive lessons when parents explain how they resolve arguments’

Most parents argue. But the way these disagreements affect children varies greatly, according to research commissioned by the BBC.

It’s not only the relationship between parent and child that affects children’s long-term development.

How parents get on with each other also plays a big role in a child’s wellbeing, with the potential to affect everything from mental health to academic success and future relationships. (more…)

Relate Northamptonshire is looking for volunteers

 

 

Did you know that volunteering is good for your wellbeing?

  • Volunteers live longer and are healthier
  • Volunteering establishes strong relationships
  • Volunteering is good for society
  • Volunteering gives you a sense of purpose

Volunteering can give you the opportunity to:

  • try something new
  • gain experience
  • develop skills
  • improve your career prospects
  • build confidence
  • meet new people.
  • help you achieve personal goals

You only need to give a few hours a month to make a real difference to your local community.

Giving your time is incredibly important to us – without our team of volunteers, we would be unable to run our fantastic services.

Our volunteers currently support us with  reception cover, administrative tasks and a whole range of opportunities from painting to supporting us in our fundraising endeavours.

We will provide you with full training in order to support you in your volunteering role.

Please give Hayley, our Operations Manager a call on 01604 634400 to learn more about how you can support us.