Blog Posts

How our break up fixed my Relationship…

I want to share something personal – this is a huge thing for me to put on the website being a very private person. Yet I am a great believer in being real and honest. Chris and I went through some tough times earlier this year. We had come to a place of separation.

Broken hearts need healing help

It was over as we were wanting different things from the relationship.

Marriage is an Institution and investment in each other
Marriage

I am traditional and believe in the institution of Marriage – hence the name Marriage Works – right! Of course you can be totally committed partners without it. I am no Marriagist. Chris having been divorced was not bothered by matrimony.

I am glad to say we did work things through and are happily back together in a more powerful and deeper connection than ever.

Plus we got married on November 3rd 2018, a happy day all round!

The Bride and Groom - Chris and Philipa got hitched!
The Bride and Groom – Chris and Philipa got hitched!

What helped was us going and seeing a couple therapist and working through our sticking points. Being a client and learning about myself has always improved my therapy game. I could not believe how anxious I was going to every appointment. I definitely have a bucket load more compassion having had the counseling experience. Our good therapist really turned things around. Thank you!

Togetherness side by side in your recovery journey will get you there couple-260899_1920
Togetherness side by side

What also was incredibly useful was a couple therapy workshop called  Getting the Love you Want – Couples Weekend Workshop  Clink on the link.

Getting the Love You Want!
Getting the Love You Want!

Brenda and Peter hold these workshops in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland New Zealand. In the weekend we learnt so much about each other and it offered us a way forward in hope with our love.

I am passionate about couples learning to connect and heal this can happen in the therapy room. The bonus is you get to take the learning and techniques into your life.

Look up and see the light and move away from misery and pain
Look up and see the light and move away from misery and pain

Using it as a therapy tool I have seen partner’s change in 90 minutes as they see and get their spouses angst in a hearfelt way. It’s different to the old ways of communicating which lead to hopelessness and desperation.

I recommend it to all my couples and friends! It is coming very soon 8/9 December so give your self the best gift every – a healthier, happier relationship for the two of you.

Find a beacon of light and hope here
Find a beacon of light and hope here

I need your help with The Last Resort Technique…

The Last Resort Technique page has offered hundreds of people hope and help when their spouse has dropped the proverbial bomb-shell – ” I’m leaving you.”

Obviously this is a devastating time and if this is where you are at in your marriage you can find assistance here :Help me I need the Last Resort Technique Weblink

Broken hearts need healing help
Broken hearts need healing help

Having you all write in and share your heartfelt journey is very special to me – a big thank you.

For a while now I have been wanting to respond further and have added the Utube video on the LRT here Marriage Works Utube Channel

Often people who contact me want a personalised response to their situation and a guide through the LRT. Due to my busy schedule that is not always possible.

Heal heartbreak with the Last Resort Technique Workbook coming soon!
Heal heartbreak with the Last Resort Technique Workbook coming soon!

So I want to help you with my experience and offer you a workbook. I thought I would reach out and ask – what help do you want from a Last Resort Workbook?

Would it be more on Step 1. Or how to find a life in Step 2 or could it be how to have the patience needed in Step 3 and keep hope alive.

Please send me a comment below – I would really be thankful!

How to Forgive Your Spouse When You Can’t Forget

A spouse relationship can be the most intimate, warm, and beneficial relationships you ever have. However, being that close to someone inherently opens you up to heartache. Being close to someone requires vulnerability and openness. When that vulnerability and transparency are abused or betrayed, this can lead to intense pain and grief.

Grief can make you turn away but the best way to heal is to turn toward each other heartsickness-428103_1920
Grief can make you turn away but the best way to heal is to turn toward each other

However, when a relationship is worth saving , worth fighting for, (and most are people!) forgiveness and healing is the key to getting things back on track. Forgiveness can restore a broken relationship and help you find that place of happiness and harmony once again.

romance-1209046_1920 Love heals hurts - you are worth it!
Love heals hurts – you are worth it!

The problem comes when the pain and grief are still too raw. Forgiving can be extremely difficult when the hurt caused can’t be forgotten. Today, we are going to share with you ways that you can move toward a restored relationship through forgiveness, even when you can’t forget.

Begin by Believing

The first step in any significant change happens within your mindset. If you do not believe that something can happen, chances are, you will not truly invest all that you can to try and make it happen.

It is essential that you begin by believing that rebuilding is possible. Elsewhere on the MarriageWorks.com.au blog, you will find an excellent piece about this very topic.

Heal your hearts together and grow your loveHeal your hearts together and grow your love
Heal your hearts together and grow your love

They offer some much-needed hope for people struggling with reconciliation after a spouse has betrayed their trust. On their blog, they say that with professional help, reconciliation is not only possible, but it is also probable.

When you sincerely believe that something is possible, those positive thoughts will inspire positive actions. And what is rebuilding but a series of positive actions encouraged by positive thinking?

Even if rebuilding your marriage is not possible, believing that forgiveness that moving on and enjoying life again is possible will go a long way in helping you reach those goals.

Stop Trying to Forget

When a spouse hurts us, the pain can seem unbearable at times. Since they are often our closest friend, our spouse can hurt us more than anyone else. Dwelling on this pain can be extremely damaging, however trying like mad to forget can also be detrimental.

The way our brains work, trying to forget rarely works. Often, actively attempting to get rid of a memory will lead to that memory cement itself in our brains. And in the case of pain and heartache, that is the last thing that you want.

Broken hearts can be mended - take heart heart-34655_1280
Broken hearts can be mended – take heart

Sometimes people will work themselves into a rut where they try to forget; the memory comes back, they try to ignore it, the memory reasserts itself stronger yet. This leads to intense frustration and can drag out the healing process for much longer than necessary.

So, stop trying to forget. Stop focusing on the wrong and turn your attention to the things that bring you joy. The memory will fade away in time, but not if you are always trying to forget it.

Forgive for Yourself First

Forgiveness is a powerful thing. Studies have shown that people who forgive often can lead happier, healthier, and more productive, meaningful lives. Is that the kind of life you want to live? I think most of us would have to say ‘yes.’ We all want to have abundant lives that make a difference and allow us to enjoy the moments that we are here on earth.

Keep your heart open health-700672_1920
Keep your heart open

Often forgiveness is viewed as something we must do so for the benefit of the person who wronged us. However, if you shift your perspective and realize that forgiveness has perhaps more to do with your quality of life than anything else, you will begin to see that not only is forgiveness important, it is vital to you living the life that you want to live.

A life free from bitterness, a life that releases the hurt and pain, is a life that is enjoyable to live. Forgiveness is the path to this kind of life. But if you can’t forget, remember that you owe it to yourself to forgive so that you can live the best life that you possibly can.

Remember, Forgiveness is a Choice, Not a Feeling

There are many things in life that we may not feel like doing. However, we do them, knowing that they are the right thing to do. Sometimes, forgiveness is one of those things.

Forgiveness gives you true freedom to move forward and heal
Forgiveness gives you true freedom to move forward and heal.

If you are waiting for a feeling to come before you forgive, chances are you will be waiting for a long time. Instead, take the proactive approach and choose forgiveness even if you may not feel like it.

Final Thoughts

There are few things as painful as a broken relationship. However, our goal today was to provide you with some hope, knowing that forgiveness is possible.

Another thing to keep in mind is that professional guidance is sometimes needed. For most of us, this kind of heartbreak is all brand-new territory. Having someone with the experience and training to guide you through the process can make a world of difference.

 

Note: Many thanks to Danielle over at RP Emery Legal Kits for sharing these tips with us. Protecting yourself ahead of time before getting into any new relationship is always a good idea.

Togetherness side by side in your recovery journey will get you there couple-260899_1920
Togetherness side by side in your recovery journey will get you there.

Love to hear your thoughts, feelings and experiences on this topic please add comment in the box below.

 

From the New York Times – how a pooch saved this relationship…

Maura Lammers divulges how her partner’s finding of Pudge, the rescue dog kept her and her long term partner from separating.

Posted in the New York Times Modern love – Pudge will Keep us together.  Maura details how this pooch strengthened their bond and brought them closer.

It’s a lovely piece. Perhaps you have a story about your pet? Please share your experiences.

Chris and I love our rescue cat Taneis

unconditional love cannot be overestimated. So cute!
It’s not puppy love, unconditional love cannot be overestimated. So cute!

ha to bits. She is 16 years old and still going strong. She’s on my lap as I write this the little darling. She offers unconditional love and it is so nice to stroke her soft fur and hear a purr emit from her belly. The simple things!

Taneisha The Resource Therapy Cat
This is the gorgeous Taneisha my rescue cat.

Please add your story below in the comments section. Love to see pictures too.

Looking to Improve Your Marriage? Adopt a Dog

Doggy Love -The Joys of a sharing together.
Buying a dog in any relationship is a huge step. That’s because it essentially means you’re adding a new family member. It’s a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. A lot of thought, research, and careful planning needs to go into choosing a special pet. It’s always a smart idea to make lists of the pros before running to a shelter and grabbing the first dog you see. After careful consideration, you’ll find that a dog is a great asset to any marriage and any family.

What a great pair, think of the fun you can have choosing and caring for your dog!
What a great pair, think of the fun you can have choosing and caring for your dog!

Shopping Together for the Dog
Before you pick out a dog for your relationship, you’ll need to do some planning. This helps to make sure that everything goes smoothly and there’s no unexpected hiccups or arguments later on. Do your research on what type of dog you’d like to add to your home. Different breeds have different wants, needs, and activity levels. Find a reputable dog shelter or breeder, choose dog food that fosters their growth, toys for fun and learning, and dog treats that are healthy.

Dogs Can Save Your Marriage
If you’re having problems in your relationship or marriage, adding a dog may just be what the doctor ordered. Dogs can help save a marriage because it gives both people involved something positive to focus their energy on. Dogs also provide love to a relationship that may be struggling. They’re an outlet for positive energy and something that couples can focus their time on together.

Picking Out a Dog is a Bonding Experience
Choosing a dog, their food, their toys, and everything else is a bonding experience in itself. Couples can come together and learn a little bit about each other by learning what type of dogs and characteristics each other fancies. When a couple decides on what type of dog they’d like to adopt, they can make a day out of getting things ready for the dog. Not only does this entail picking out supplies and creating a safe place at home for the dog, it also means picking out the dog itself. Couples get a chance to meet different dogs in a small room or while going for a walk. This helps them find the one that is right for their family.

More Fun Activities For Couples Thanks to  Our Dogs
If you are looking to improve your marriage, simply add a dog. That’s because if you are having marriage troubles, you’re most likely bored, frustrated, or unhappy with the routine that you’re stuck in. A dog can fix this because it completely changes your life. Instead of waking up, going to work, making dinner, and going to bed; there are now new possibilities. You can bond in the following ways with your spouse and the dog:

  • By going for a walk to see the scenery
  • Going for a hike anywhere that’s dog-friendly
  • Taking a trip to the dog park
  • Cuddling up together on the couch

    The three of you cuddling, laughing and loving together.
    The three of you cuddling, laughing and loving together.

This breaks that routine that married couples feel they were stuck in. Dogs mean that everyday will be something different for you and your spouse. If you’re ever feeling frustrated, take some time alone with the dog.

Dogs Give Love Which in Turn Creates More Love

In conclusion, dogs provide love. If you’re marriage is struggling, it might be because it’s lacking love. A dog can come along and change everything. They can show that they have so much love to give which, in turn, can inspire you and your spouse. Dogs are also happy creatures. It’s hard to be upset when there’s a happy, panting, tail-wagging friend that is waiting for you every day. Overall, dogs can boost your morale, give you hope, and inspire you to do better not just in your marriage but in all aspects of your life.

This piece is written by Professional dog walker – Bruce Dwyer. He also runs dog treats business at https://www.healthydogtreats.com.au/. He strongly believes in having a dog to improve your marriage.

dog health is important

Thanks ever so much Bruce for your guest contribution, dogs can be our guides for unconditional love, a truly wonderful thing.

We love all animals at Marriage Works and I am Grandma to Tyson the Staffy!

My Grand doggy Tyson the Staffy is 5!
My Grand doggy Tyson the Staffy is 5!

 

Have a helpful contribution you want to make ? Please contact me philipathornton@gmail.com

Stop an Argument in it’s Tracks – Do This Instead

Are you feeling trapped in a cycle of negativity with you and your partner getting stuck in the same old fights. You know the ones – where you experience the loop like a noose tightening around your throat and all you can think is “here we go again”… another argument, but can’t think what to do. Well let me help you. First take a big breath and take a time out. Stop and use it.

This can be a chance for change.

Money struggles are no fun
Money is the number cause of arguments! Budget today.

At this stage you are at a choice point. Decide to act in the old routine, with typically the same dance steps.

You know how that pans out right? I’d guess you can cake walk the outcome with your eyes closed. Play with me do it on your own now. Not great huh?

Or  you can choose a new move.

Here’s an option for variety, which I call taking a turn down memory lane. It involves purposeful distraction. Parent’s are the master of directing children’s attention to away from distress – simply get them to focus on something else and look at you. New stimulation, different mood equals peace for you, sigh of relief. You remind them of the fun time they had playing soccer or whatever it was they enjoy doing.

I was coaching a husband the other day.  He wanted to break out of the old habits of relating to his wife. So I suggested my distraction technique, which is really using Resource Therapy’s powerful methods for change. It’s so simple and yet effective.

Turn the corner today and stop an argument. Make a time later for serious discussion.
Turn the corner today and stop an argument. Make a time later for serious discussion.

I call it –Take a turn down into Memory Lane.

This is where it’s time to stroll back in history.  Where you get to go to those earlier days in dating relationship, remember we used to call in courting. The idea is to foster a reconnection with your past successes – as The Cars sang “Let the good times roll.”

Recreate an old vision renewed to enliven your marriage
Recreate an old vision renewed to enliven your marriage.

You are going for the treasure pot of gold. It’s not at the end of the rainbow but at the beginning of your partnership.

Actually it’s any time you felt warm, loved, connected and light being in each others presence. Where you are delighted and so are they. The happy relaxed carefree times. Not suprising it’s often pre-kids!

You reminisce on the first holiday, kiss, date, your proposal or walking down the aisle staring with hope and joy into each others eyes. Whatever the time was where you were really into each other, feeling connected and cared for. Those love drugs where pumping. We want to bring this back into sharp focus.

What fun was it to play in the sand, laughing and joking around!
How much fun was it to play in the sand, laughing and joking around?!

They don’t call it re-membering for nothing!

Here you are bringing out your partner’s Loving Resource state, the part of their personality which enjoys you and their choice of  spouse. And you are also bringing forth the same part which found them cute and fun to be with.

The way you do this is to really paint the picture, describe the time of day, where you were, the surroundings, the sounds, the sensations, images and warm emotions. Keep doing this until your spouse joins in and you see the light in their eyes, the softness in their voice and gentleness in their features. Play with it. Get some serious fun happening.

It’s so simple.

The only proviso is it must only be happy times with nothing negative attached. Now if things have been rough recently you may need to be tenacious and keep reaching.

All I need to do with Chris is say remember what fun we had Bali?  What great meals we had there. Bali is where we took our first overseas holiday and it was magical, it still is a favourite destination.

A beautiful Bali smile from our first trip there
A beautiful Bali smile from our first trip there.

Then I say how good was our first night’s dinner at the Cafe Wayan in Ubud?

Yummy dinner at a Warung in Bali
Yummy dinner at a Warung in Bali.

What did you have again? You see Chris enjoys his food and if I get him talking about something delicious I can almost see him drool. His eyes get a dreamy look – I can see he is back there in the warm glades, hearing the tinkle of the music.

Having this conversation about our shared joy makes us closer and brings out the loving parts of us. It sets us up for a great night.

So do yourself a favour and take a walk down memory lane today. And you needn’t wait to use it to staunch an argument. Practice it prior. Use it any time you want to feel connected and inspire love. with your partner.

Please tell me your thoughts on this technique and even better how it went for you. Love to hear your experiences, so please share.

With love and healing
With love and healing

Hello from the United States of America!

Hi all you wonderful people who take the time to read and write in to me here at Marriage Works!

I have the good fortune to be in Boulder, Colorado at the Michele Weiner-Davis Behind Closed Doors training. Every morning I get up to look at the amazing Flat Irons at Chataqua Park, yes I climbed up them a little the altitude up here is 5,500 feet. The air is thin and it is hot.

What a place to have training in couple therapy up near nature of the Flat Irons Chataqua Park, Colorado
What a place to have training in couple therapy up near nature of the Flat Irons Chataqua Park, Boulder, Colorado

Now back to Michele’s training – she is so generous and super talented in sharing her divorce busting techniques with a fabulous group of wonderful therapists. I am enjoying meeting these committed couple therapy warriors who help couples to gain change. They are so friendly to this Kiwi who has come from Sydney Australia! Thank you all!

Behind Closed Doors with Michele Weiner Davis, learning from the Divorce Buster Superstar
Behind Closed Doors with Michele Weiner Davis, learning from the Divorce Buster Superstar!

It’s good to be reminded of brief solution focussed therapy and access Michele’s updated version. She is a wonder worker and her passion shines forth. I can’t wait to take this back to my couples and work with the folks who see me!

How lucky I am and grateful to Michele for sharing so powerfully of herself and her clinical skills! And thanks to Jim her husband too!
How lucky I am and grateful to Michele for sharing so powerfully of herself and her clinical skills. And thanks to Jim her husband too! So Jet  lagged.

Sadly today is the last day of the powerful training. I have had a blast and feel so warmly welcomed in the US. Perhaps Michele has saved the juiciest bit till last as our final day is working on the Sex Starved Marriage. Based on her wonderful book of the same title-find the Sex Starved Marriage by Michele Weiner Davis here.

Thank you Michele, Jim and all the workshop participants for a wonderful adventure in learning.

With Love Philipa

 

How your early childhood sets up patterns for relationships.

I love psychology especially when it explains for us what is inexplicable. In a lot of readers comments there is a coomon thread of why do I behave like this toward my partner. I push him away one minute and then when he leaves I feel like I am going to die!

As you can hear it is a very young part responding to the threat of them leaving. This younger self can feel abandoned, paralyzed and hopeless.

These younger parts of ourselves – we all have them respond amazingly well to Resource Therapy please visit the Resource Therapy Institute of Australia for more information.

John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth who gave us Attachment theory which are formed in childhood with our caretakers. This attachment helps us to survive as infants. We are totally dependent on others for life. We develop our ways of connection – our attachment style in relation to the way our parents or those responsible for our care were available to us.

There are four types of attachment –

1. Secure: A child with this type of attachment will feel easily soothed and safe when with their main caregiver. If they are distressed, they will turn towards their caregiver, or seek them out in some way. This attachment is formed when a child knows they can count on their caregiver to be there for them when they cry, soothe them, and care for them. They will use this secure attachment as a safe base from which they can explore all that’s around them.

2. Insecure-Avoidant: Children do not attach to their caregiver because they don’t feel they can rely on them. This usually means that their primary caregiver either hasn’t been there for them when they needed it or has been rejecting or dismissive of their needs altogether. When a child is in distress and has this type of attachment they will not seek contact with their primary attachment figure.

3. Insecure Ambivalent: Children with this type of attachment will be clingy and needy of their caregiver, but when the caregiver comes to their aid they are rejecting of them and not easily soothed.

4. Disorganized: Children with this type of attachment will show a confusing mix of attachment behaviors and may even appear to be confused or disoriented. They believe that this attachment style is caused by inconsistency from their caregivers. Meaning that a parent may be soothing and helpful, but also fear-inducing and hurtful.

Below is a very famous example of what a baby will do to make their care giver respond. It’s so amazing.

After the Affair Article in MINDFOOD July/ August Issue 2018

Hello there lovely readers of Marriage Works.

Chris and I went to the news agents on Saturday as he wanted to buy a magazine for the soccer World cup. While in there he handed me the latest Mindfood magazine pointing out a psychology article “After the Affair – is it possible to restore trust.” I said oh good and opened it to page 50 in Health:Relationships.

My surprise reading Philipa Thornton as published in MINDFOOD McHugh Media's Magazine
Surprise!

Imagine my surprise when I read “Philipa Thornton’s strategies for making it work after an affair”! I had totally forgotten journalist Emily Joyce’s interview back in April.

I was pretty chuffed and had a good chuckle. It is a great article ( even if I do say so!) on affair recovery which is totally possible, I encourage you to check it out. Plus you get to see the gorgeous Rachel Weisz’s beautiful image and hear her story of a new chapter. See her interview with Graham Norton here on being married to Daniel Craig

The story is called Circle of Trust and is out now.

mindfood psychology after the affair contributions by philipa thornton psychologist

Current Issue of Mindfood Magazine here

How to Tell When Your Loved One Needs Help for Addiction

A huge thanks to Bethany Hatton for our guest article on addiction:

ADrugRehab.org states, “Addiction is tricky and calculating, and it’s the only disease that can take more than one person down with it, if it is left unchallenged. Addiction dramatically alters the lives of not just the addicted person, but of everyone within his or her vicinity, namely family and friends.”

Addiction in Australia

Millions of Australians are affected by drug addiction and alcohol dependency, either directly or indirectly. There are dozens of different drugs that can have a significant impact on a person’s life. ABC reports that the number of drug overdose deaths in the country has risen to the highest levels in nearly 20 years. It can be difficult, however, to determine if your loved one has a drug problem because different drugs have different symptoms, and people react to drugs in ways unique to them.

Identifying a substance abuse problem

Addiction to anything, whether it is drugs, sex, gambling, or food, can leave a person feeling socially isolated. According to ReachOut.com, a few social signs of a substance abuse problem include:

  • Avoiding non-users becoming isiolated
  • Feeling uncomfortable when unable to access their drug of choice
  • Lying
  • Relationship problems
  • Job loss
  • Going into debt to fund habit
  • Stealing

Other indications include:

  • Anxiety attacks
  • Irritability
  • Poor attention span
  • Depression, often severe
  • Impotence
  • Declining health, specifically heart problems
  • Psychosis

If you suspect that a friend or family member has an alcohol or drug problem, the first step is to help them recognize and admit it. Understand that you cannot force them to undergo treatment, but they may be more willing to get help if they are sure that they have a strong support network. Once they are willing to consider treatment, reach out to their doctor or healthcare provider.

The end goal of drug treatment is for the user to have the self-control their use if possible or to avoid taking drugs in the first place. But quitting cold turkey can be very tough and is often not a good idea. Withdrawal, the body’s response to craving a specific substance, can have debilitating symptoms including high blood pressure, anxiety, and shakiness. A person with an addiction to alcohol or a benzodiazepine, such as Valium, may even be at risk of death due to a sudden shock to the system if they quit using unexpectedly. The National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre in Sydney reports that opiate withdrawal, which was previously believed to be non-life-threatening, can result in death due to dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea.

Approaching an addicted person

Opening up a line of communication is an important part of helping your friend or family member seek treatment for their addiction. PositiveChoices.org.au explains that you must prepare ahead of time, however, before beginning the conversation about substance abuse. Gather information about the drug and decide exactly what you want to say about how you feel that the drugs have affected your loved one’s life. Come at them with compassion but be ready for some push back and negative reactions. More than anything, stay calm and be willing to listen to what they have to say. If you are intimidated or believe approaching them on your own may put you at risk, have a friend, family member, or mental health professional join you. You could also work with other close friends or family members to stage an intervention.

Type of treatment

There are dozens of residential treatment centres throughout Australia and even more outpatient facilities that can help. Long-term treatment, those programs designed to last between six and 12 months, offer 24-hour care and begin with a thorough medical detox. Community counselliing and support groups are also of offer.

Throughout treatment, patients are taught both how to live independent of chemical dependency and how to reenter society in recovery. The type of treatment your friend or relative seeks will be dictated by number of factors including their willingness to undergo treatment, time constraints, and finances.

For more information on alcohol and drug treatment, contact the Alcohol and Drug Foundation at 1300 85 85 84, your doctor or a psychologist. If it is a life-threatening emergency, call 000 or seek immediate medical intervention.

There are lots of resources out there to help you and your family members affected by drug or alcohol or other addictions
There are lots of resources out there to help you and your family members affected by drug,  alcohol or other addictions