Premarital Counseling: Ten Ways to Increase Sexual Intimacy Through Couples Counseling

So many couples don’t discuss important aspects of marriage until AFTER they’re married. Will you have children? Will both of you work, or just one of you? Where will you live? Who will be in charge of which chores? How much personal time will you give each other? How do you both see finances in marriage?

Talk about the ten B’s, and build a healthy marriage that lasts many, many years. Avoid the misunderstanding and misconception caused by putting off the B’s! I will provide you both a safe place, a plan, and guidance to talk about the following aspects of marriage intimacy.

Business. What are your career prospects and attitudes about work? How do you envision your life together? What are your most important goals? How do you see your work life together?

Baby. How do you feel about having a child, or not? Would either of you like more than one? How do you want to raise the child? Have you talked about discipline?

Bottle. Concerning alcohol and drugs, I am surprised how many couples aren’t aware of their partner’s habits and tendencies. In premarital couples counseling we can safely discuss your values and behaviors with alcohol and drugs.

Bedroom. What are your expectations and preferences sexually? What attitudes and values do you hold? What about infidelity?

Bank. Money and financial issues are one of the biggest causes of divorce. I will provide you with constructive ways to talk about responsibilities, budgeting, and financial history aspects of relationship. Do you want the freedom to buy items without your partner’s approval? How do you want to handle debt, and the money that is earned?

Beliefs. Compatibility and personality differences can be turned in to strengths. How do your values, religion, and politics impact your relationship?

Broom. Explore home issues before unspoken habits trip you up. What kind and how big of home do you want to live in? Who’s in charge of what chores? How clean and tidy do you keep house?

Blemishes. What are the imperfections or baggage that you’d rather talk about now? No one is perfect, and we all have baggage. Do each of your parents want to see you a little, or quite a bit? This is good to discuss to prevent blemishes related to extended family.

Body. Are there any body issues that you want to discuss? What happens if and when one of you gets ill?

Belly. What are your food preferences? I’m surprised how many clients have food arguments about the different ways they like to eat and exercise. Do you get in to your N.O.C.T.: NO ONE CAN TELL me what to do – over food?

In premarital counseling, talk about the ten B’s to help you explore the need to be yourself, and the need for connection, so that you can develop a more mature sense of your self, and a more mature connection in your marriage. You can prevent the power struggles so common for all of us while growing your sense of self and building a foundation for adult sexual intimacy. I will provide you with communication skills to enhance your marriage, plus offer you conflict resolution skills for those difficult moments. Imagine the depth of your vows to one another as you learn through couples counseling how to grow who you are individually, and how to grow the emotional intimacy between you. Then can avoid the intimacy problems in your healthy marriage together, and include more sexual intimacy between you!

I originally learned about the ten B’s in my five year, Integrative Body Psychotherapy training, 1990-1995, and I’ve adapted them a bit for this article. Why not see for your selves how talking with a trained third party can enhance your premarital, and marital, lives!

Sexual Addiction – Help For the Sex Addict’s Spouse – Part 5

Can the spouse of a sex addict find help individually for the effects of the sexual addiction on their lives? Sure. Much of the time, however, it is the crisis of discovery of the acting out, or some other related crisis that brings the sex addict and spouse into treatment. They usually seek services at the same time, if the spouse gets help. Unfortunately, many times only the addict is treated.   

Although there are inpatient and outpatient treatment services, many sex addicts and their partners have a difficult time finding an appropriate treatment provider. Couples may seek marriage counseling and no address the sexual addiction.    

Possible reasons for this are varied, but couples often come to counseling with a variety of relationship complaints that may not be immediately identifiable as sexual addiction. Addiction-related behavior or problems may be hidden intentionally or unintentionally from the therapist and the couple may not understand the connections between the sexual behavior and their other presenting problems. Additionally, many treatment providers have a general lack of knowledge about sexual addiction.  Sexual addiction demands treatment.   

Once sexual addiction has been correctly diagnosed, the addict’s number one goal would be abstinence from the compulsive sexual behavior(s).  A first step in achieving that goal is to define “abstinence”. Although abstinence in drug addiction treatment is easily defined, that is not necessarily the case with sexual addiction.  A lifetime of abstinence is not usually recommended, but treatment for sexual addiction will often involve complete sexual abstinence for a period of time (often 60-90 days),  Spouses should be part of the discussions about definitions of abstinence and any expectations of abstinence within the marriage for any period of time. This is important because couples often assume that they agree on something when it has not even been discussed.  

Treatment for the addict and co-addict would involve education about sexual addiction.   The importance of using all recovery resources available, (i.e., sex addicts anonymous (SAA), sexaholics anonymous (SA), Co-SA (co-dependents of sex addicts), group counseling, individual and couples counseling would be discussed. Therapists would also usually make reading recommendations.  

What kinds of issues would the spouse of an addict work on in counseling? Many spouses initially have the attitude that it is the addict only that has “the problem”. But when you look at the devastation in your own life that is associated with the sex addiction, you begin to see not just the benefit of counseling but the importance of it. 

A line of communication begins, with assistance in learning effective, non-acting out dialogue. Couples learn fair fighting and active listening skills. This assists in a more comprehensive disclosure about the sexual compulsivity.  The addict usually feels some relief about getting the secrets out into the open. But both the addict and spouse usually feel overwhelming shame. Both may feel grief. The spouse or co-addict may grieve the loss of the fantasy marriage. The addict may feel grief over the loss of the addiction. The spouse inevitably feels betrayed and very angry. Painful issues are uncovered. Couples need good communication skills in order to talk about these painful experiences and feelings. Although the couple may be talking about these issues with each other, they may still be withdrawing and isolating from other family members and friends due to shame. Self esteem takes a hit in early recovery but usually recovers during the process of recovery over time.   

Couples usually need help with rebuilding, not just the trust and intimacy in their lives, but with damage to infrastructure, like finances. Some of the negative consequences of sexual addiction are loss of job, financial devastation, and an arrest or other legal consequences (i.e., sexual harassment). These are issues that require the processing of feelings, and problem solving skills. Partners need help working through the emotional damage of the acting out, with working through hurt feelings and betrayal, rebuilding trust, and recovering a willingness to risk letting down their guard with each other.  

The spouse needs therapeutic attention of his/her own. Treatment goals for the co-addict would probably involve a frank discussion of feelings about the acting out, with an assessment of the damage to the spouse from that acting out. Spouses often blame themselves for the acting out, believing that if they were pretty/handsome enough, smart enough, sexual enough, etc. that their spouse would not be acting out. They may feel guilty about not seeing it earlier and/or not recognizing the problem so that it could be solved. 

The spouse usually needs help with learning to let go of responsibility for the addict’s recovery, to stop inappropriate caretaking or enabling, or to stop trying to control the addict. The co-addict is assisted in empowering themselves to make decisions based on strengths rather than fear. Self-esteem is a focus of therapeutic attention. 

Co-addicts often discover in the process of recovery that they had their own issues before the sexual addiction issues surfaced. Similarly, the addict usually has the beginning of their sexual addiction before the marriage. A lot of co-addicts (and addicts) uncover addictions of other family members, and unresolved family of origin trauma, like childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect. These are issues that need to be addressed and treated in order to be able to truly be intimate in relationships.   

Just as the addict needs to change their core beliefs in recovery, the co-addict must change some core beliefs about themselves and their own competence in recovery. As recovery continues, and time passes, the co-addict can eventually regain the trust for their addicted spouse. This is not a short process, and the addict often gets frustrated, angry, and resentful when the spouse continues to bring up the past, and discuss and process negative feelings. Counseling helps facilitate this process with assistance in talking about it and reminding the addict that it takes the spouse this long to work through those feelings. 

The spouse’s ability to regain trust for the sex addict is in part dependent upon their perception of addict’s performance in honesty, consistency, dependability, and sensitivity to the co-addict’s feelings.  Identifying and working through one’s own issues, along with increase self-esteem and self-confidence, helps facilitate the recovery of trust. 

Other important therapeutic work of the spouse is development of a plan for how they would deal with relapse. Through their own hard work they learn to determine for themselves what they are willing to live with and what they are not. They learn to define and declare their bottom lines and to set boundaries about relapse accordingly. They learn to reject unacceptable behavior and take care of themselves. Co-addicts can learn to trust their own opinions and reality and make decisions appropriate to being responsible for their own health, welfare, and happiness.   

Treatment is not just for the addict. Even if the addict does not recover, the spouse can, if they are willing to do the work. Just divorcing the addict, usually does not solve the problem for the co-addict. Without work, the emotional baggage that you carry around from one relationship to another just keeps getting heavier. 

Top Health Tips for the Elderly to Start You Off in the Right Direction

1. Don’t begrudge spending money on your own comfort, health and quality of life. You deserve it!

AND FOR THE OVER-60’S –

The government’s annual fuel allowance of £200 is meant to be used for our warmth and comfort, and to ease the worry of the increased heating bill.

The Winter Fuel Payments Help line is 0845 9 151515
If you are receiving a disability or income-related benefit, you may be able to claim a grant of up to £2,500 for insulation and heating improvements. Call Home Energy Efficiency Scheme 0800 952 0600.
If you receive disability and income-related benefits you can claim Cold Weather Payments if the temperature falls below 00 C for 7 consecutive days.

There is also the Staywarm scheme. For a fixed charge you can use as much gas or electricity as you need. 0800 1 694 694
Finally, if you are unable to pay your winter fuel bill, in the first instance contact your supplier explaining your problem and informing them that you are a pensioner. Good news worth remembering, is that electricity companies and British Gas have a policy of not disconnecting pensioners between 1 October and 31 March – so keep warm and don’t panic.

AND DO YOU NEED REMINDING – DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY AND HEALTH ON CIGARETTES.
RESEARCHERS TELL US THAT THE AVERAGE BRITISH SMOKER WILL SPEND £91,832.43 ON CIGARETTES IN A LIFETIME.
(Now, I’ve never smoked so I wonder what happened to my £91,OOO?)

2. Keep your mind active, crosswords, sudoka, hobbies, etc. NEVER STOP LEARNING. If you have an interested mind, people are more likely to enjoy your company and be interested in you.

3. Keep your body active. As the saying goes, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it
Walk in the fresh air if possible. If you enjoy company while you are walking then join a rambling group. (Often ‘rambling clubs’ for the retired are more socially inclined ‘ambling clubs’). Gardening combines the benefits of fresh air, exercise and the results can give you immeasurable pleasure. Dancing; particularly formation or line dancing exercises the memory also. Swimming, is a particularly good exercise for all parts of the body with the added advantage that the water is supporting you and therefore there is no weight on the joints.

4. Feed your body with the correct foods. You wouldn’t expect your car to work efficiently if you fed it the incorrect fuel. So feed your body with nutritious foods that contain the necessary vitamins and minerals in order for it to return optimum performance. With winter approaching we need to build up our immune system, so in addition to a well balanced diet of fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and nourishing protein (laced with the benefits of virgin olive oil and garlic), we should add a few supplements to help us on our way. In addition to a good multi-vitamin tablet, you’ll probably benefit from extra Vitamin C, Echinacea, EPA fish oils, selenium, ginko biloba to aid circulation, particularly to the extremities, and glucosomine to help with those aching joints.

Don’t forget your flu jab and the jab against pneumonia for the over 70’s.
There is also really excellent news on the common cold front. At long last there appears to be something that stops a cold developing. Vicks First Defence is a spray that you use at the first sign of a cold and it stops the cold virus in its tracks. This miracle goes on sale during October 05.

5. Socialise. Possibly I don’t have to remind you about this as the majority of retired folk I meet complain that they are busier now than ever they were, that there are not enough hours in the day, and they wonder how they ever found time to go to work.
There are so many clubs and groups to join. To name a few popular ones, U3A (University of the Third Age) for both sexes and with interesting speakers, and offering numerous sub sections for specific group interests and hobbies, Women’s Institute, (has gained a new image after the film Calendar Girls), Townswomen’s Guild, Gardening Clubs, Art Clubs, etc., and many clubs aimed specifically at the retired.

If transport is a problem, remember most local authorities offer free or reduced bus fares for senior citizens and travel tokens for the disabled. There is a Senior Railcard for reduced train fares for the over 60’s. National Express have a Routesixty Scheme which enables over 60’s to travel nationwide very cheaply (Tel 08705 808080). Also, occasionally, National Express offer their ‘go anywhere for £5 scheme’.

If you have difficulty in getting around the town, then there is Shopmobility where you can hire mobility scooters (various models and sizes available) and electric and manual wheelchairs. Shopmobility is usually manned by helpers who will be only too pleased to instruct and allow you to practice before you are let loose on the town. Also there is the added advantage that there is usually a free car park attached to Shopmobility for clients’ convenience. If you have difficulty in using public transport, often local authorities provide a ‘dial-a-ride’ service from your home to the shopping centre.

Well, whatever you do – ENJOY IT! We were always told that laughter is the best medicine and now we know it to be true – it raises the serotonin levels in the brain and gives you that ‘feel good’ factor.