If you have not already read my post “When Marriage Is Hard. Really, Really Hard“, I encourage the read in conjunction with this list. I personally believe that marriage is a sacred, life-long commitment and I’m a strong advocate of couples sticking things out and working through the hard times together…even the really, really, hard times. Below you will find a list of resources and tools to help you to find help for your marriage.
If you know any resources I may have missed that should be added to this list, please leave a comment below or email me! I want this list to be exhaustive and helpful!
However, please note that this listing is primary for resources that SUPPORT MARRIAGE, and I reserve the right not to list any resources that I feel run in direct opposition to the promotion of committed, life-long, marriage.
GENERAL MARRIAGE HELP:
In Person Counseling
Marriage Friendly Therapists – Marriage Friendly Therapists is a searchable database of marriage therapists and couples counselors who “value marriage and life-long commitment…. [and] who are dedicated to saving relationships if at all possible.” Unfortunately, I’ve known couples who’ve gone to counseling only to have their counselors encourage divorce! It seems that while marriage counseling can be a great help to many couples, different counselors and therapists have different approaches when it comes to relationships. If you’re set on wanting to save your marriage, try to find a counselor who values marriage and will encourage sticking it out together, rather than one who will encourage individual personal happiness above marriage commitment.
Retrouvaille – Though Retrouvaille is Catholic in origin, they welcome married couples from any, or even no, faith tradition. (Their website clearly states that no attempt is ever made to convert and that their ultimate goal of Retrouvaille is solely to help save marriages.) Their program offers one getaway “weekend experience” and then 6-12 local weekend in-person sessions over the next 3 months.
OurRelationship.com – Our Relationship is a FREE online counseling service that KP and I have personally gone through. They do occasionally do research studies and will offer gift cards to participants (so it’s like being paid to do marriage counseling!), however, when running these studies, you have to take a marriage assessment first and they will determine whether you’re a current fit for the program or not.
WeConcile.com – Calling themselves “the world’s first relationship restoration application”, WeConcile is an online program that couples work through both individually and together. It is a monthly subscription program that you can continue paying for as long as you’d like to keep working through the program. I’m actually really interested in learning more about this program.
The 5 Love Languages – The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman has become a standard go-to for marriage help, and has sold more than 5 million copies. If you haven’t heard of this before before, I strongly suggest the read! (I’m sure you can find it for free in your public library, or you can buy a new/used/ebook copy at Amazon here). The book introduces the idea that we each show and receive love in different ways. So that the things you do to try to show your spouse love is not being received by them, and vice versa. And you both end up lost in translation, feeling unloved and unable to give love. There’s also a whole series of “5 Languages” books, such as The 5 Languages of Apology, that are also worth looking into.
HELP FOR THE HARDER STUFF:
Abuse – Emotional, Verbal & Anger Issues
CompassionPower – “CompassionPower was founded on the belief that individuals and societies are more powerful when compassionate than when angry or aggressive and that emotional problems arise whenever people violate their deeper values.The first CompassionPower program began in 1988, to treat domestic violence and child abuse offenders. Using a new technology of emotion reconditioning, the program greatly improved the personal and community behavior of court-ordered offenders. CompassionPower programs quickly expanded to treat non-violent but unhappy relationships, with equal success.”
Love Without Hurt: Turn Your Resentful, Angry, or Emotionally Abusive Relationship into a Compassionate, Loving One (book) – “Are you the victim of a chronic anger, verbal or emotional abuse? Do you constantly second-guess your thoughts and behavior to avoid being hurt or put down by your husband or boyfriend? If you are among the one out of three women trapped in a hurtful relationship, you can end the abuse and rebuild a loving, compassionate environment for you and your family. Love Without Hurt is an essential guide for ending the cycle of resentment, pain, and abuse and developing a loving relationship.”
The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing (book) – “Whether you suspect you are being emotionally abused, fear that you might be emotionally abusing your partner, or think that both you and your partner are emotionally abusing each other, this book is for you. The Emotionally Abusive Relationship will tell you how to identify emotional abuse and how to find the roots of your behavior. Combining dramatic personal stories with action steps to heal, Engel provides prescriptive strategies that will allow you and your partner to work together to stop bringing out the worst in each other and stop the abuse.”
Beyond Anger: A Guide for Men: How to Free Yourself from the Grip of Anger and Get More Out of Life (book) – “Written by a psychologist who specializes in the treatment of male rage, Beyond Anger shows the angry – and miserable – man how to change his life and relationships for the better. This book helps men understand their anger by explaining what the specific symptoms of chronic anger are and by showing angry men how their actions negatively affect family, friends, and coworkers. It helps men control violent feelings by using simple exercises – developed especially for men – to identify when and why anger occurs and by helping them form new habits to prevent anger before it starts. Women, too, will learn essential strategies for understanding and helping the angry men in their lives. Beyond Anger is honest, tough, and real.”
Abuse – Physical (Coming Soon!)
Beyond Affairs Network (B.A.N) – “Beyond Affairs Network is an international network of local peer-to-peer support groups for betrayed spouses to help them deal with the devastating impact of a spouses affair, make informed decisions, and move positively through the healing process.” See BeyondAffairs.com in conjunction with B.A.N. for more resources on healing after infidelity.
After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful (book) – “A staggering number of couples in America—about 70 percent—have been affected by extramarital affairs. After the Affair is the only book to offer proven strategies for surviving the crisis and rebuilding the relationship. For women who are struggling in their marriage—and for clinicians, psychology academics and readers fascinated by of popular psychology—this newly revised and updated edition of After the Affair is essential reading.”
How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair: A Compact Manual for the Unfaithful (book) – “Once an affair comes to light, many unfaithful persons “wake up” and want to save their marriages. Yet, they usually make terrible mistakes in their bungled attempts to win back their partners’ trust. Linda J. MacDonald, an infidelity specialist for 23 years, has identified behaviors and attitudes that determine unfaithful persons’ success or failure to mend their marriages after the wrecking ball of an affair. “
Anger Issues (see Abuse – Emotional, Verbal & Anger Issues)
NoFap.com – “NoFap is a comprehensive community-based porn recovery website. We give our users all the tools they need to quit porn, gain control over compulsive sexual behaviors, and live a higher expression of their sexuality. NoFap helps people overcome their sexual addictions so they can heal from porn-induced sexual dysfunctions, improve their relationships, and ultimately live more fulfilling lives.”
YourBrainOnPorn.com – “Although we don’t offer a structured program, we do share suggestions as to how others have reversed the unwanted effects of heavy porn use. This site will help you understand exactly how today’s extreme Internet porn can alter the brain. Armed with that knowledge, you’ll realize that some primitive circuitry in your brain is just trying to do its job when it pushes you toward porn. And you’ll see how to outsmart it and restore your balance.”
Fight The New Drug – “Fight the New Drug exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects using only science, facts, and personal accounts.” Geared toward teens and young adults.
Love You, Hate the Porn: Healing a Relationship Damaged by Virtual Infidelity (book) – “Love You, Hate the Porn shows couples how to identify and address vulnerabilities in their relationship. Offers healing advice for spouses. Provides help for the struggling partner to avoid relapse. Focuses on how to make the marriage relationship stronger than it was before.”
Sexaholics Anonymous – “Sexaholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop lusting and become sexually sober. There are no dues or fees for SA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.”
S-Anon – a companion group for spouses and family members of SA. “The S-Anon Family Groups are a fellowship of the relatives and friends of sexually addicted people who share their experience, strength and hope in order to solve their common problems.”
Breaking the Cycle (book) – “Written by a former sex addict who specializes in counseling people who suffer from sexually compulsive behavior,Breaking the Cycle presents a step-by-step plan to enjoying a life of productivity and purpose. You can free yourself from the powerful, compulsive urges that may have damaged your career, finances, or relationships with friends and family. The exercises in this book will show you how to regain control of your life and build meaningful intimate connections with others.”
****This list is constantly in progress and new resources are added all the time as I find them. You might want to bookmark this page for easy reference to re-visit later.****