Listening Ear Counselling & Consultancy Pte Ltd

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Marriage Counselling Singapore

Having Trouble Navigating Life with Your Partner?

Marriage is more than just saying “I do”—it’s about two worlds coming together as one. Each phase, from the honeymoon to the empty nest, brings unique challenges. The spark may fade, hurts may accumulate, and rust may set in. Marriage counselling at Listening Ear Counselling & Consultancy helps tune in, restore the spark, and reignite hope.

What are the Challenges for Married Couples at Different Stages 

Married couples face unique challenges at different stages of their relationship:

  1. The First Year: Adjusting to actually living together and sharing space can be difficult once the excitement and sheen of the honeymoon stage wears off. Couples need to establish routines and compromise on everyday matters. Everyday conflict without the right tools of repair can lead to hurt, resentment and despair. This stage has a high divorce rate due to unmet expectations and compatibility issues. Challenges include extended family interference, disillusionment when realising the spouse isn’t the perfect prince or princess, sharing household responsibilities, dealing with tiredness, and finding personal space.

  2. Birth of a Child: The arrival of a baby shifts the focus from the couple, being spouses to them being parents, and so the care and concern for each other shifts to the newly growing family and one partner can feel abandoned or neglected or even jealous of the attention to the new born. This does not stop for once a baby is a born there is NO PAUSE BUTTON!! Sleep deprivation, financial stress, and parenting disagreements can strain the relationship. Maintaining intimacy and connection becomes challenging.

  3. The 7-Year Itch: Around seven to eight years, couples may feel restless and less connected. Personal growth and changing needs require the relationship to adapt. Without this adjustment, couples might consider divorce or become disengaged. This is also the time many affairs happen and infidelity becomes an issue.

  4. Midlife: As children leave home, couples must redefine their relationship beyond parenting. They face existential questions about their future together and individually. Resurfacing issues from earlier years can cause significant strain.

  5. Retirement: Retirement can lead to a loss of purpose, especially for those who identified strongly with their careers. Couples must navigate changes in daily routines and personal space. Finding new shared activities and purposes is essential to avoid stagnation.

  6. Older Age: Aging brings physical and cognitive challenges. Decisions about health, living arrangements, and care can be stressful. Maintaining connection and support through these difficulties is crucial.

Each stage demands honest communication and proactive problem-solving to navigate successfully.

How Marriage Counselling can help?

Marriage counselling is rooted in the belief that “I am OK, you are OK.” It’s about seeing not blaming or seeing the other person as  the problem, but there is a problem that needs addressing eg communication issue, patriarchy, sharing of responsibilities. So instead of avoiding (withdrawing into caves behind walls) or attacking (pursuing with anxiety), couples learn to feel safe, and really listen to each other by learning the 3Rs: Regulating, Relating, and ReAttuning, and only then Reasoning. This approach among other things heals which gives hope to each other and courage  to listen and understand each other’s deepest longings for intimacy or unmet attachment needs, behind harsh words and blame, so that they can  reconnect again. As Sue Johnson would say, it’s about learning to dance again.

Here are some ways in which marriage counselling can help:

Improve Communication: Develop effective dialogue and understanding.

Resolve Conflicts: Learn constructive conflict resolution skills.

Reignite Intimacy: Restore emotional and physical closeness.

Rebuild Trust: Work on regaining and maintaining trust. 

 

 

Heal Past Wounds: Address and heal from past traumas and issues.

Align Expectations: Manage and align relationship expectations.

Navigate Life Changes: Handle transitions like parenthood or relocation.

Strengthen Bonds: Foster a deeper connection and mutual support. 

Strengthening a relationship takes effort and understanding. Connect with our experienced therapists to discover how to address underlying issues and foster a stronger, more loving marriage.

Approaches Used During Marriage Counselling Sessions at Listening Ear Counselling & Consultancy Pte. Ltd.

At our counselling centre, we understand that every relationship is unique, which is why we offer a variety of tailored counselling services, tools and techniques to meet the specific needs of each couple. Here are some approaches used: 

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFCT)

Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFCT) is Emotionally Focused Therapy between to people in a close intimate relationship and hence focuses on creating secure emotional bonds and understanding each other’s deepest unmet attachment needs. The key objectives are to: 

  • Create Secure Bonds: Foster emotional security and closeness.

  • Identify and Understand Needs: Help partners articulate and empathise with each other’s emotional needs.

  • Promote Emotional Expression: Encourage open communication of feelings and vulnerabilities.

How it Works: 

Therapists guide couples to identify and express underlying emotions, helping to reshape negative interaction patterns. Couples learn to communicate their needs effectively and develop deeper emotional bonds.

 

Gottman Method Couples Therapy

Gottman Method Couples Therapy uses evidence-based techniques to improve communication, conflict resolution, and intimacy. The key objectives are to: 

  • Enhance Communication Skills: Teach couples effective communication strategies.

  • Resolve Conflicts Constructively: Provide tools to manage and resolve conflicts in a healthy manner.

  • Build Intimacy: Strengthen emotional and physical intimacy between partners.

How it Works: 

Utilizing structured exercises and assessments, therapists help couples build friendship, manage conflicts constructively, and nurture intimacy through specific communication techniques and mutual understanding.

 

Non-Violent Communication (NVC)

Non-Violent Communication (NVC) encourages empathetic listening and expressing needs without blame.

The key objectives are to: 

  • Develop Empathy: Foster understanding and empathy in communication.

  • Express Needs Clearly: Teach partners to express their needs and feelings assertively.

  • Resolve Conflicts Peacefully: Promote conflict resolution through mutual understanding and respect.

How it Works: 

Couples practice empathetic listening and learn to express their needs without criticism. Therapists facilitate dialogue that fosters understanding and collaborative conflict resolution based on mutual respect.

 

Satir Method

The Satir Method involves exploring family-of-origin issues, enhancing self-awareness, and practicing new ways of relating that promote emotional honesty and intimacy.

The key objectives are to: 

  • Enhance Self-Esteem: Build self-esteem and self-worth in each partner.

  • Improve Communication: Foster open, honest, and constructive communication.

  • Promote Growth: Encourage personal and relational growth through positive interactions.

How it Works: 

Therapists help couples explore family-of-origin issues and enhance self-awareness. Through role-playing and communication exercises, couples build trust, improve self-esteem, and foster honest, supportive interactions.

 

Family Systems Therapy

Family Systems Therapy examines family dynamics and their impact on the couple’s relationship.

The key objectives are to: 

  • Understand Family Patterns: Explore how family history influences current relationship dynamics.

  • Identify Role Dynamics: Clarify roles and boundaries within the relationship.

  • Improve Interactions: Enhance relational patterns and interactions through systemic understanding.

How it Works: 

Family Systems Therapy views the couple as part of a larger system, exploring how patterns of behavior and communication within the family unit affect the couple’s relationship. It aims to promote healthier relational dynamics by addressing systemic issues.

 

Work of Esther Perel

The Work of Esther Perel explores intimacy, desire, and the balance between security and freedom in relationships. 

The key objectives are to: 

  • Explore Intimacy and Desire: Understand and address individual and mutual desires.

  • Navigate Security and Freedom: Balance closeness and autonomy within the relationship.

  • Promote Emotional Connection: Foster emotional intimacy and connection between partners.

How it Works: 

Therapists guide couples in navigating the balance between security and autonomy. Couples explore desires and intimacy, fostering deeper emotional connection and understanding within the relationship.

When Do Couples Typically Seek Marriage Counselling in Singapore?

Couples might seek marriage counselling at different stages of their relationship. Whether it’s before marriage, during the marriage, or after marriage, counselling can provide valuable support and guidance.

Before Marriage
Preparing for a life together by aligning expectations.

Developing effective communication styles.

Understanding each other’s values and goals.



During Marriage

Addressing ongoing challenges.

Improving relationship dynamics.

Enhancing intimacy and connection.

Navigating major lif transitions.

After Marriage

Healing and rebuilding after significant events.

Working through the decision to separate or reconcile.

Finding ways to co-parent effectively.

Ready to strengthen your relationship? Contact us today to explore how marriage counselling can help you navigate challenges and build a stronger bond.

The Typical Lifecycle of Marriage Counselling Singapore

Emergencies aren’t just limited to life—they happen in relationships too! Over time, communication breakdowns and unresolved conflicts can erode a relationship. Sometimes, a sudden crisis, such as discovering an affair, facing addiction, or hearing “I don’t love you anymore,” can throw your relationship into turmoil. In these moments, emergency counselling becomes vital.

While many couples start relationship counselling, statistics show that 20-57% of people don’t return after the first session, and 37-45% attend only twice. The initial Emergency Stage of counselling demands dedicated time and effort. Halting treatment prematurely after a traumatic event can lead to further harm.

Stabilizing your relationship and developing effective communication skills takes more than a brief session. During the Emergency Stage, intensive repair sessions ranging from 3-8 hours, conducted in one day or over a weekend, are recommended. Choosing a therapist who can assess the scope of the issue and prioritize urgent needs is crucial during this critical period.

The Admission Stage

The next phase is the Admission Stage. Like being admitted to a hospital for ongoing care, it’s important to continue therapy after the initial intensive session. Regular weekly or bi-weekly sessions help address the root causes of the crisis and provide the practice needed to implement changes identified during the Emergency Stage. Developing a treatment plan with your therapist is key to setting and achieving your goals. The duration of this stage varies, lasting several weeks to months depending on the complexity of the issues.

The Follow-Up Stage

Following this is the Follow-Up Stage. Similar to follow-up appointments after a hospital stay, this stage involves less frequent therapy sessions, typically once or twice a month. These sessions check on your progress and ensure the new strategies and skills are effective. You’ll assess whether you are achieving the desired changes and feeling more connected both emotionally and physically. The Follow-Up Stage can last from a few months to over a year.

The Maintenance Stage

Finally, there’s the Maintenance Stage. Preventive maintenance is essential for a healthy relationship. Your therapist will use various assessments to gauge how well you are applying the skills you’ve learned and identify any areas that need more focus. They will also help you set goals to continue growing together and maintaining a strong, fulfilling relationship.

Remember, the problems you and your partner face didn’t arise overnight, and they won’t be resolved overnight either. Successful therapy requires time and commitment, with costs spread out over months or years, unlike the immediate and often steep cost of a break-up or divorce.

Avoid the pitfalls of inadequate treatment. Effective counselling not only helps a couple navigate a crisis but also equips them with skills and strategies to enhance their relationship long-term.

If you’re experiencing a relationship emergency, reach out to us! We offer intensive sessions to help process trauma and stabilize your relationship. If you’re ready to work on communication and conflict management skills or set shared goals, we can arrange regular sessions to guide you toward a deeper, more meaningful connection.

Our Singapore Marriage Counselling Fees

Session Rates
In-Person: 250 SGD per 60 mins

Telehealth: 200 SGD per 60 mins (via Zoom)

 

Accepted Methods 
– International Credit/Debit Cards (Stripe)
– PayPal (SGD)
– QR Code Payments (SGD)
– PAYNOW (Local, UEN 202121229W)

 

Cancellation Policy
36-Hour Notice for changes or cancellations

Late Cancellations/No-Shows: Full session fee charged

Why Choose Listening Ear Counselling & Consultancy Clinic for Marriage Counselling?

Experienced & Professionally Trained Therapist

Personalised Care & Evidence Based Approach

Cultural and Gender Sensitivity

Expertise Across Marriage Life Cycle Stages

Confidential and Supportive Space

Recommended Resources for Strengthening Your Marriage

Explore our curated list of articles, books, and movies that offer valuable insights, strategies, and inspiration to enhance your relationship. These resources are designed to help you build a stronger, more connected marriage.

Discover our recommendations

Curated Youtube Video Playlist 

  1. Making Marriage Work | Dr John Gottman
  2. Short Introduction to Nonviolent Communication (NVC), by Yoram Mosenzon
  3.  Love Sense: from Infant to Adult (Sue Johnson and Ed Tronick) 
  4. Using Attachment Theory with Master Therapist Dr. Sue Johnson | Being Well Podcast 

Some Recommended Books on Marriage that I feel could help you in your marriage.

A Curated List of Movies on Marriage and the Challenges it can face at different times.

  1. Marriage Story (2019): A poignant portrayal of a marriage unraveling while a family strives to maintain its bonds. The film delves into how the fundamental aspects of a relationship endure even as the emotional connection, which forms its backbone, deteriorates. The couple shares a life with a child and a mutual passion for theatre, yet their emotional neglect leads to their separation.
  2. This is 40 (2012): A comedic yet insightful exploration of a modern married couple as they face the trials of turning 40. Through humor, the film sheds light on the everyday conflicts and struggles of family life, illuminating the issues many encounter but often hesitate to address openly.
  3. The Joy Luck Club (1993): This film captures the intergenerational and intercultural conflicts experienced by Asian women raised in Western societies. It highlights their struggle to be valued beyond traditional roles as wives and daughters while celebrating feminism and the courage to stand up for oneself, even when it means defying societal expectations.
  4. Unfaithful (2002): This movie explores how a seemingly content marriage can be disrupted by an encounter with an outsider. It portrays the allure of mystery, spontaneity, and risk, drawing one partner into an obsessive affair. The film also delves into the torment and rage that emerge when the other spouse uncovers the painful details of the infidelity.

FAQ- Frequently Asked Questions

Both are for couples in a relationship irrespective of gender

Both are collaborative, and respect the couples needs and focus on the relationship primarily.

The focus is on any couple irrespective of their state of commitment.

However while

Couple Counselling: Is a more general inclusive term for any two partners irrespective of gender, whether married, engaged, dating, or in a long-term relationship, addressing relationship dynamics, communication, and conflict resolution.

Marriage Counselling: This is only because some couples prefer to honour their commitment to each other.  and besides focusing on common couple relationship  issues like communication problems, infidelity etc their could be  additional points like influence of in-laws , parenting challenges, boredom in their sexual life etc.

Thus to summarise the terms are kept separate not to filter but to be more inclusive so no one feels left out. 

During a marriage counselling session, you can expect a safe and confidential environment where both partners can express their thoughts and feelings openly. The therapist will guide the conversation to help identify underlying issues, facilitate effective communication, and work towards mutually agreed-upon goals. Sessions typically involve discussing current problems, exploring past issues that may be affecting the relationship, and developing strategies for improvement.

There is no one stage to come in, for each stage there is a challenge.

Understanding the stages of marriage can help couples navigate their journey together, anticipating challenges and celebrating each phase. According to researchers, marriages go through distinct stages, each with its own set of experiences and obstacles.

  1. The Honeymoon Phase

    • Description: This initial stage lasts 1-3 years and is characterized by intense love and admiration. Everything about your partner seems perfect, and their quirks are endearing.
    • Challenges: Maintaining this level of bliss can be unrealistic. Couples must recognize that this phase is temporary and foundational for building trust and intimacy.
  2. Coming Down to Earth

    • Description: As the honeymoon phase fades, the reality of daily life sets in. You start to notice your partner’s flaws and habits more clearly.
    • Challenges: Adjusting to the reality that your partner is not perfect can lead to disappointment. Good communication and setting realistic expectations are crucial to navigate this phase, which typically lasts 3-5 years.
  3. The Seven-Year Itch

    • Description: Around the 5-7 year mark, couples often experience restlessness and a desire for change. The initial excitement has worn off, and individual differences become more pronounced.
    • Challenges: This stage can lead to a fragile point in the marriage where infidelity or separation may occur. However, it also offers a chance for personal growth and learning to appreciate each other’s uniqueness.
  4. Smooth Waters

    • Description: By this stage, couples have settled into routines and developed a deeper understanding of each other. This phase can last up to 20 years.
    • Challenges: Major life events like having children or buying a house occur here. Although intimacy might decrease, the focus on building a life together strengthens the bond.
  5. Empty Nest Stage

    • Description: As children grow up and leave home, couples enter the empty nest stage, often coinciding with middle age.
    • Challenges: This stage requires couples to redefine their relationship without the daily focus on children. There can be a mix of emotions, from sadness to relief, and a need to reconnect with each other. Attention to personal health and revitalizing the relationship are key.
  6. Reunion Stage

    • Description: With children grown and careers stable, couples can refocus on each other. This phase lasts 3-5 years.
    • Challenges: Middle age brings physical and mental health concerns. Couples must adapt to these changes and find new ways to maintain intimacy and connection.
  7. Potential Explosion

    • Description: As couples age, feelings of dissatisfaction may arise, leading to a crisis period. This stage can last a few years.
    • Challenges: The stress of caring for aging parents or the fear of missing out can strain the relationship. Seeking help from a marriage counselor can be beneficial to navigate this turbulent time.
  8. Fulfillment Stage

    • Description: The final stage, often referred to as the golden years, lasts until one partner passes away. It is marked by deep contentment and stability.
    • Challenges: Reflecting on a long shared history brings a sense of accomplishment and gratitude. Couples enjoy the rewards of their hard work and dedication, including financial security and the joy of spending time together.

Dealing with These Stages

  • Each stage of marriage presents unique challenges and opportunities. Understanding and anticipating these phases can help couples navigate their journey more effectively. Open communication, empathy, and willingness to seek help when needed are essential tools for maintaining a healthy and fulfilling marriage.

If you need support navigating these stages, professional counselling can offer valuable guidance and help you strengthen your relationship through every phase.

While marriage counselling is most effective when both partners are actively involved, individual counselling can also be beneficial. If one partner is hesitant or unwilling to attend, the willing partner can still work on their own perspectives and behaviors, which can positively influence the relationship. Over time, the hesitant partner may decide to join the sessions once they see the positive changes and benefits.

Marriages can encounter various stages of concerns, each requiring different approaches to navigate effectively. Here are the four primary stages of marital concerns and strategies to address them:

  1. Stage 1: Disillusionment

    • Description: This stage begins when the honeymoon phase fades, leading to feelings of disillusionment and disappointment. You might notice things about your partner that you didn’t see before, resulting in a sense of loss or sadness.
    • Solution: Open communication is crucial. Discuss your feelings with your partner and work on building a stronger connection. Marriage counseling can help navigate this stage and strengthen your relationship.
  2. Stage 2: Distress

    • Description: In this stage, communication breaks down, and conflicts become more frequent and intense. Feelings of anger, frustration, and disconnection can arise.
    • Solution: Address the root causes of conflicts and work on finding solutions together. Marriage therapy can help identify underlying issues and provide tools to resolve conflicts healthily and constructively.
  3. Stage 3: Reorientation

    • Description: This stage often follows significant changes, such as having children or moving to a new city. You may feel disoriented and unsure of your place in the relationship.
    • Solution: Communicate your needs and desires with your partner. Marriage counseling can help align your priorities and visions for the future, ensuring both partners are on the same page.
  4. Stage 4: Indifference

    • Description: In this stage, partners feel disconnected and apathetic towards each other. Indifference can make it challenging to repair the relationship.
    • Solution: Address this stage as soon as possible. Marriage therapy can help you reconnect with your partner and reignite the spark. Early intervention is key to overcoming indifference.

Remember: Marriage is a complex and ever-changing journey. Regardless of the stage of marital concerns you’re in, there’s always hope. Marriage counseling can provide the tools and support needed to navigate these challenges and strengthen your bond. Whether experiencing disillusionment, distress, reorientation, or indifference, you’re not alone. With the help of a trained therapist, you can work through these stages and come out stronger on the other side.

Depends what you mean by worse. If good is not separating at any cost even if there is domestic violence abuse, and worse is peaceful separation and amicable divorce then yes definitely counselling can make things worse. Its like having a wound and then just putting a plaster on it without cleaning it or attending it. Early in psychology too we used to measure marital satisfaction erroneously. We used to just measure it by the absence of conflicts etc. But then even a couple not being intimate in a cold war or being distant would come across it as having a real marriage but the truth is we also have to measure intimacy how much connection there is how is there sex life, how do they repair, how much does each partner see the other and feels safe to be vulnerable to the other . All these are important parameters. So yes coming for marriage counselling can address the elephant in the room and partners may realise that they are just not suitable for each other and it would be better to part ways in an amicable manner. Whatever the couple wishes we have no say, we are only there to support them and provide and teach them tools to feel safe and communicate without conflict.  

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