I recently had a very rare moment where all three of my kids were actually napping at the same time, so I got to have a HOT cup of tea and read a trashy woman’s magazine! I came upon an article written by a marriage counselor revealing her tips to a long lasting, passionate marriage. After being married for six years, most of it as an expat, and with three kids under the age of three, I desperately needed some tips!
So what were the three tips?
1. Have sex every day (with each other!)
2. Do something new together once a month.
3. See a marriage counselor once a year.
For many reasons that I’m not going to get into right now, being an expat couple has really taken a toll on our relationship, so I took her advice and booked us in to see a marriage counselor.
It wasn’t an easy idea to broach to my husband but after explaining that it was more for ‘maintenance’, rather than ‘fixing’ something that wasn’t already broken, he agreed to go. As long as I found a practice that spoke English and had experience with expats. This wasn’t an easy task in Jakarta!
I did some reasearch and found that many expats preferred counselors from their home country and didn’t really trust or recommend counselors actually practicing in Jakarta. They either travelled to Singapore or did Skype sessions from overseas. We agreed that this wasn’t for us and we wanted to see a counselor in person, in Jakarta.
I then found a practice in Dharmawangsa Square and emailed them enquiring further about their service. They had certified counselors who spoke English (French, Korean and Bahasa) and matched us up to a specific counselor. In our case, one that dealt with specifically with Australian expats.
Being our first ever couple’s counseling session, the idea was actually very terrifying to me. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to confront our issues and talk openly about them to my husband; and I wasn’t ready to hear his issues either! Sometimes it’s easier for me to ignore an issue and hope that it will go away. But I’ve realized that over time, our issues weren’t going anywhere, so I committed to the session.
The session went for 75 minutes and it was a ‘Aha’ moment where it felt like the counselor knew exactly what I was feeling and helped me to explain it to my husband. It was a short amount of time but I was surprised by how much we had covered and although it didn’t solve things immediately, it opened up the forum for my husband and I to safely talk more openly about our relationship.
We both agreed that we didn’t need to have ongoing counseling together, but it really helped our relationship. The following weeks following the session were difficult because we continued to talk and argue about the content of the session! But in the end, it has helped us because we acknowledged our issues and we committed to solving them.
If you are going through a difficult time, with your marriage or with your life in general, I highly recommend that you go speak to someone who is a trained professional. I personally was very skeptical and thought that no one could really help me or could possible tell me anything that I didn’t already know. But I was proven wrong. I thought that I didn’t need to pay someone to talk to because I already have a great support network from my girlfriends. But I discovered that it’s not the same as talking to my girlfriends because my husband isn’t there to hear it! It’s also not the same as simply talking to him alone because that can sometimes feel like an attack on him.
I’m really glad that I read that article and was brave enough to actually take on the advice. Next year, once I return home, my husband will be happy to know that we will be working on tips number 1 and 2!
Mention ‘The Expat Housewife of Jakarta’ and receive an exclusive discount from the International Wellbeing Centre
Dharmawangsa Square Jakarta
3rd Floor Unit 336
SMS or WhatsApp (+62)812-9052-9034
They are offering 5% discount off the first counseling session (valid until 30th May 2017)
As well as 10 % off the following upcoming seminars this November :
Self- Care Remaining Resilient
Saturday November 5th at 10 AM
Effective Communication Skills in Marriage
Wednesday, November 9th at 10AM
See website for further details Upcoming Seminars