The Dissolution of Marriage: When is it time to say goodbye?

by Nathan Chua

I had a recent interview with the crew of Failon Ngayon for their weekend documentary, about the new proposal coming out of the lower house of congress, authored by the speaker of the house Pantaleon Alvarez. A quick glance at the grounds for both legal separation and annulment, shows a number of reasons that the church and state will accept, for both processes to ensue.

For this interview, I was asked the question of when it is time to acknowledge that a couple is better off apart, than together. Bluntly speaking, when is it time to give up? This is never easy to answer. Most married couples come to me with hopes that things can be worked out. At the same time, I and the couple are very aware of the amount of work and difficulties, that a separation would entail.

If there was a compelling reason to say goodbye to a relationship, I guess it is when one no longer values the other. The response that I usually hear from experts involves the loss of respect. I have no reason to disagree with this. However, if there was a better word that can describe something that unhappy couples lose when the relationship becomes very unstable, it is the loss of valuing one another.

Since I started this blog in a negative note about ending relationships, I think you, my readers would like to end it on something more positive. If valuing your lover or spouse is so important, how come my partner never seems to feel that I do value him or her?

Here are a few tips on how to show your spouses or loved ones that you value them:

  • Try to look as clean and good looking as possible to your partner. This shows that you take ownership of what you contribute to the relationship. It tells your partner that you do not want them to love someone, who is difficult to love because of their sloppy appearance and inadequate hygiene.
  • Say it as much as you do it. Of course, nothing beats actions. You are always going to be measured by how you behave. However, you must remember that talking and speaking your mind is also a deed. It’s good to let the other know that you love them and care for them by saying it as often as you possibly can.
  • Transport yourself into your partner’s world. Although you can’t stand his or her favorite things to do, join him or her occasionally. A little sacrifice can get you a long way.
  • Show and say your appreciation. A little thank you is always welcome. Make your partner feel appreciated and he or she will feel valued and important. Even just a long, loving gaze can do the trick.

Hope these simple tips can help you in your relationship with your spouse. There is nothing more moving than to see one person sacrifice his or her own needs to help another.

 

 

 

 

What brings back the love in a relationship?

by Nathan Chua

As I join couples and families in their efforts to improve their lives together, I am beginning to see the wisdom in employing an old marketing slogan from a popular sports brand, “Just do it.” Much of the struggles that couples experience is not that they don’t love each other anymore, but they seem to have lost the ability to feel loved, or be loving.
There are many instances wherein couples think that they have to feel something, to do something. How can I be loving if I don’t feel like it? Unfortunately, the more a couple waits for the feelings to come, the more time is spent on waiting for something that needs acting upon.
This is probably one of the instances when acting or behaving a certain way, comes before the feelings of love. One only needs to go back to the courtship days, when each wants to outdo the other in expressing love. Even if you didn’t like to do certain things, you would do it to win the affections of the other. We do it to bring feelings of love.
So what should couples do to make them fall in love again? Just do it even if you don’t feel like it. No matter how wasteful you think buying those flowers is for your partner, just do it. No matter how much you don’t like expressing words of appreciation or tenderness, just do it.
Another common objection to this idea, is that people often feel it’s faking it to be someone you thought you have not been for so long. “It would feel fake if I were to change into a kinder, more appreciative and transparent person,” as many would say. Well, we can turn this statement around by saying that what you or others have considered to be your personality or style of relating, maybe just you faking it. The real you, is the one who wants to be more expressive, and who wants to act more consistently with how you feel inside. That self has been in hiding because of being hurt or shamed in the past, by the people you entrusted those genuine feelings and desires to.
Just remember you’re doing it because you want to keep the feelings of love. And if the law of averages applies, you will most likely receive the same loving acts in return. Furthermore, just do it because this may be the real you, who has been hidden from sight for so long…for that real you may turn out to be the better, more likable you.

Who do you look for to get help?

by Nathan Chua

One frequent inquiry I get is about which psychologist or counselor one should look for, when faced with emotional or psychological problems. I think there is enough confusion around, that compels a discussion about the different specializations available in such a broad field like psychology.

For this post, I will focus on three distinct, but nonetheless related fields in psychology, which are frequently the subject of inquiry. These are clinical psychology, psychiatry and counseling psychology. There are many more areas of learning in psychology that I just don’t have the space to discuss in one short blog. Please note that I am talking from the perspective of someone who works and lives in the Philippines. Some of my descriptions about the way these three are practiced, may be unique to the country.

Counseling Psychology

This is a field where social workers and counselors with master’s degrees would specialize in the Philippines. Some counselors are not just involved in talk therapy or counseling, but they can also give psychological tests as well. They can work in various organizations. A typical example would be a school’s guidance counselor. Others would be involved in hospitals, clinics, rehab centers, religious charities or any organization that is involved in social work. They are not trained to prescribe medication.

Clinical Psychology

Most practitioners in this field are involved in counseling and psychometrics. They are able to do most, if not all, of what counselors and social workers can offer. Of course, this still depends on what the clinical psychologist chooses to specialize in. In the Philippines, clinical psychologists are normally the people who couples approach when they are in the process of annulment.

Psychiatry

This field would have the widest scope. Psychiatrists are trained to do counseling or talk therapy and give tests as well. They are considered medical doctors or MD’s, and are therefore licensed to write prescriptions. Take note again that whether a psychiatrist chooses to engage in other activities like counseling or psychotherapy and psychological testing, is entirely up to him or her. In the Philippines, most psychiatrist specialize in giving prescriptions.

For those who are engaged in talk therapy, psychotherapy or counseling, they would normally have areas of specialization, depending on the segment of the population they feel most competent to work with, and in the theory that guides their practice. There are different perspectives that can be used in talk therapy. Some of them are behavioral, psychodynamic, cognitive and existential. There are quite a few who choose to be eclectic in their approach. This means they use different theories that they feel can be helpful to their clients or patients, who present different concerns to them.

Two Essentials of a Loving Relationship – Video

This presentation contains images that were used under a Creative Commons License. Click here to see the full list of images and attributions: https://app.contentsamurai.com/cc/63571

Click here to watch this video on our One Life Only YouTube Channel.