Sydney and Andrew

My wife and I had been married 22 years when we came to Well Marriage Center for help.  Sydney is a night-owl and has always liked reading in bed until late.  I had found a new job that forced me to be up early in the morning.  I started sleeping in our guest room and bringing my clothes with me for the next morning.  Before we knew it, I was pretty much living in the other room and we were stuck in a rut.  We had been sleeping apart for about 3 years.  This destroyed our intimacy and had us both feeling very disconnected with each other.  I don’t think I realized how alone each of us felt in our marriage until Sydney told me she didn’t know if our marriage would make it.  She described it as a “catastrophic disconnection.”  We needed help.  What we appreciated about Michael Fronce from the very beginning was his confident and warm demeanor.  He spent the first meeting learning all about what had initially attracted us to each other and what had allowed us so much marital success before now.  I swear we left that first session feeling really upbeat and hopeful.  That set the tone for all the work we were about to do.  Michael worked with us on the concept of “us” and the concept of “team.”  He helped us explore some pretty deep attachments we had formed and how they had been injured, damaged or rerouted over the previous few years.  He wanted me to be honest with this write-up, so let me just say, it’s really vulnerable work.  Good marriage counseling probably doesn’t work unless you are both able to humble yourselves.  But when you start to feel that trust come back and that safety come back…it’s worth it!  Sydney and I together decided to redesign our bedroom and create a space we could both feel good about and comfortable in.  We had equal say and worked through it with Michael.  Over the past several months we’ve broken out of our ruts and have changed our routines.  We’re feeling truly excited to have our connection back.  Bottom line: we felt really confident in Michael from the very beginning which was a big deal for both of us considering we had friends who had bad marriage counseling experiences.  We could tell he knew what he was doing.  I’d recommend him to all my friends.  Both Sydney and I have told Michael that his support, knowing we weren’t alone, had made all the difference in the world.

Nadia and Liam

Mary asked me to be honest with this, so here goes: when we first came to see Mary, we were ready to separate.  I don’t think I had ever felt more disconnected with Liam.  We fought most of the time, and honestly, we hurt each other quite a bit.  I know I definitely felt hurt.  I honestly didn’t think we could make it.  I cannot describe in words what that feeling is like.

When Liam and I think back to where we were, we’re thankful for two main things.  First, that we went and saw someone instead of just giving up.  And not just someone, but someone who understood what was happening to us.  Mary told us she works primarily with couples and it was obvious she had experience.  Second, we could tell from the very beginning that she wanted us to make it.  It was just a few subtle comments she made in our first meeting that seemed hopeful – at least they gave us hope.  That turned out to be really important for us.  Throughout our time with Mary she really worked hard with us to make progress, to help us understand what was happening in our relationship and also what was happening to us individually.  She helped empower us to heal some old wounds that I never even realized were causing so much pain.  And she got us working right from the beginning to communicate better, which seems like a simple thing, but for a couple that feels so disconnected, it was a big deal for us.

Today we have better self-esteem which helps us to have a better connection with each other.  We have a stronger bond that we both feel.  We are incredibly grateful to Mary – I wish I could rave more freely about her.  What I’ll say is the greatest thing about her: she will work hard for your relationship in a way that helps you feel hope.  You won’t waste your time with her – she gets you moving right from the get-go in a very safe and supportive way.

Kevin and Paula

After thirty some years together, I had always thought our marriage was in good shape, and that the ‘bumps in the road’ were typical of most marriages. But it was only after my wife took the step to reach out for help through the Well Marriage Center that I began to face the reality that from my wife’s perspective and experience things were not as good as I thought, and no matter how much our marriage may have been typical of any relationship of substantial duration, there was always room for improvement.

From the first conversation we had, I had to face the fact that making the time to listen to each other was sorely needed in ours. While I questioned at first whether we needed outside help to do so, I’m so glad now that my wife pressed the issue and that we have followed through on our commitment to each other to make the investment of time in our marriage and to work on making our good relationship better. I’ve benefited from the time that we’ve had to really listen to each other at our sessions and for me to put many of my assumptions and my explanations aside and to really hear my wife’s frustration with my patterns of behavior over the years.

Our process individually and together at the Well Marriage Center has also helped us build on what was and is a good relationship by taking the time to recognize what has made it such. I’ve particularly benefited from identifying the ruts that I’ve fallen into that seem to go hand in hand with us men and that, while benefiting me on many levels in my life, tended to isolate me and work against me in my relationship with my wife. Being able to talk with the therapist and coach, and with my wife, about those behaviors in a non-judgmental and accepting environment has been liberating and relationship changing. Looking back, I wished I had pursued such an opportunity much sooner.

In truth, I’m amazed that my wife put up with me as long as she did, and at the same time I’m grateful that she gave me this chance – certainly way beyond a second chance – to work with her at the Well Marriage Center on smoothing out our bumps in the road. Many of which have been my own.

Karen and Peter

I know that we’re not the only couple to experience an affair.  I know it happens to people more frequently than you would think.  But it had never happened to any of my friends or family, so when I found out about it, I was completely devastated.  I would never blame anyone for being done with their cheating partner, but too often I think people believe that’s their only choice.  We don’t hear about couples who survive affairs, and it does happen.  I’m living proof that you can survive an affair and still be married to the same guy.

I wanted a female counselor, which is one of the reasons I found Mary.  I’m really glad it was Mary.  She certainly gave me time and space to talk about what it was like to be cheated on, how I felt, how angry I was, and how hurt I was.  But the bigger thing she did was help me (and us) understand the affair as a symptom of bigger problems we didn’t know how to fix.  It was my choice to stay and work on it.  It was also his choice to stay and work on things.  Now we are working on understanding what was unhealthy about our relationship and we’re working on making it better.  It takes some time.  It also takes working on yourself.  I wish we could have done this years ago because I definitely think it might have prevented all this.

What I’ve learned is after an affair, you cannot stay the same in your relationship.  You cannot stay the same in life.  You have to decide and then change.  Whatever you decide, don’t carry the hurt and pain without talking to someone.  Don’t do that to yourself.  If you decide to work through it, give Mary a call.  You and your husband will feel comfortable with her.  We’re really glad we did.

James and Susan

A year ago I made the strongest decision of my life: I decided to ask for help with my marriage.  I guess you would say my wife and I had the “typical” suffering marriage.  We talked less and we fought more.  It seemed like we were always critical or negative.  We withdrew from each other in almost every way.  Marriage became harder than it had ever been before.  I finally agreed with Susan to give counseling a try.

I wanted to choose Glen for a variety of reasons, but the main one was because he’s done a lot of work with men, especially around anger issues.  I didn’t really have an anger problem, but I figured someone who could help angry men probably wouldn’t be a waste of my time or money.  Susan liked his experience and focus on couples therapy.  (We actually agreed on him.)

I know I’m supposed to do more of our story than a testimonial, so I’ll just start with this: I had no idea what to expect in couples therapy.  I didn’t know if it would be easy or if it would be really hard.  To be honest, a year later, I think it’s a little of both.  The first month was definitely the hardest because a lot of stuff bubbled up to the surface.  Luckily Glen did two things that probably helped save us.  First, he integrated a lot of positive behavior stuff.  I didn’t think it would be that great but it was remarkably effective and really changed the way we spoke to and acted towards each other.  He’ll be able to explain it better if you see him.  Second, he confronted me early on my work issues.  This was a big issue for us, but Glen did it in a way where you could definitely tell he’s worked with guys before.  I didn’t want to storm out of his office.  It was a breakthrough for me and led to some really powerful re-prioritizing.

We haven’t been in weekly counseling sessions for a whole year.  We saw Glen pretty regularly for a few months while we worked through a bunch of stuff.  Then we saw him once a month or once every 2 months just to check-in and talk together about our progress.  Now we’ve decided to see him 1 or 2 times a year.  It’s more of a preventive thing (he calls it wellness) so we don’t run into the problems we had before.  He knows us now and what we’ve been through which we really appreciate.  We’re excited to start building on the strengths of our relationship.

I’ll say this to close: you have to be willing to make some changes in your life and in your marriage.  The good news, at least for us, is that your relationship really can get better.  I agree with the other couple who wrote their story and said 10 months ago they never believed their marriage could be this good again.  Susan and I have experienced that too and that’s why we wrote this story for Glen.  He really did help us and we’re incredibly grateful for the way in which he did it.  Good luck with your new center Glen, you’re going to do a lot of people good.

Joe and Stacie

10 months ago before seeing Glen Denlinger, I was fed up with my marriage and was ready to leave my wife.  Now I am more happily married than I believed was possible.  Both my wife and I have changed long standing habits that got each of us in trouble individually and caused havoc to our relationship.  Due to Glen’s positive approach we spent considerable time the last several sessions naming and identifying what brought about the improvement.  We both see very clearly what is working for us now.  Recently we’ve been meeting monthly, today we scheduled our next appointment out 3 months.

Cindy and Brian

My husband and I have communicated more in the past 30 days than we have in the past 5 years.  I can’t tell you how invaluable Glen’s coaching and counsel have been for our marriage.  What he’s given us is more than just an education.  He started by actively helping us identify what’s working in our relationship.  This was a new approach for us, but it has given us the confidence we need to begin making changes. We’re very excited to build on this!

Donovan and Melissa

When my wife and I were searching for a counselor to help our marriage, we identified several we might want to work with. I sent each of them about 8 questions regarding their approach and method and how they worked with our particular dynamic. Only Glen responded. Not only did he respond, but his response was almost as detailed as my initial email was. It was close to a full page! Our thought was this: if someone cared enough to write this type of response, he would care about our relationship just as much. That’s what we wanted and that’s what we’ve found.