It is never too late to learn to cavort in an intuitive, intimate strut as a couple. I often speak figuratively about the styles of awkward dances people can find themselves mechanically and repetitively moving around in as they try and negotiate their way out of monotomy or conflict.

This can be the time of year, people are looking to “level up” in their relationship however some find the concept of trawling online for a professional to help with relationship problems frightfully confronting so I’ve suggested a secret alternative in the meantime. It’s totally confidential, private and you can take as long as you like. Your own private counsellor is a book and here’s an extension to those suggested last week:

Love & Respect by Dr Emerson Eggerichs: This one is considered a “classic” among marriage books. Love & Respect reveals why spouses react negatively to each other, and how they can deal with conflict quickly. I love this one for it’s overarching theme of respect and kindness which is an essential component of my therapeutic approach in regaining connection. It has Christian themes but if you’re not that way inclined, it still has plenty of simple, scientifically researched messages.

The new Rules of Love and Marriage by Terrence Real: Whilst many relationship counselling approaches recognise gender differences and needs, I appreciate the author’s recognition on the change in the last twenty-five years. We can’t deny that women have become powerful, independent and self-confident. Despite being a bloke, Real says many men remain irresponsible and emotionally detached and don’t know how to respond to frustrated partners who just want their mates to show up and grow up. Very brave statement coming from a fella!

Terrence Real instructs women how to master the new rules of twenty-first-century marriage by offering them a set of effective tools with which they can create the truly intimate relationship that they desire and deserve. He identifies what to avoid and shares practical strategies for bringing honesty, passion, and joy back to even the most difficult relationship. Real guides you through the process of relationship repair with exercises that you can do alone or with your partner. His book is based on the idea that every woman has the power to transform her marriage, while men, given the right support, have it in them to rise to the occasion.

I’d agree that we now expect and want so much from our relationships than ever before. Sunshine Coast couples are often living in isolation form their birth families and more than any other generation, we yearn for our mates to be lifelong friends and lovers. The New Rules of Marriage seeks to show us how to fulfil this courageous and uncompromising new vision.

Why men want sex and women need love by Allan & Barbara Pease: You’ve got to love the other local relationship experts on the Sunshine Coast. They’re also a tad more international than me! Not only can this be your own private counselling reference but a highly entertaining read. Allan and Barb will be sure to have you chuckling all the way through as you are enlightened by this practical, witty and down-to-earth guide. By translating science and research, you’ll be guided on how to pursue true happiness and compatibility with the opposite sex. It includes the top five things women want from men, what to do when the chemistry is wrong and what turns men and women on – and off!

The Gottman Institute: If books aren’t your thing, then Drs. John and Julie Gottman’s life work as researchers and clinical psychologists have a rich source of information based on over 40 years of research with more than 30,000 couples – the most extensive studies ever done on marital stability. Head to their website, sign up for their blogs, check out their apps and relish in their vast resources!

You now have a great head start with your own private counsellor to trip the light fantastic in 2020.
You’re welcome.

Reprinted with permission © 2019 Jo Wilson. Originally published at

Joanne Wilson

Joanne Wilson is a neuropsychotherapist, relationship specialist of TheConfidante Counselling. Joanne is a weekly radio co-host on Salt106.5, workshop facilitator, guest speaker and a weekly columnist for the Sunshine Coast Daily. Listen in to her Apple podcast discussing these articles and more, "Is This Love?" and download your "Spouse it Up" Guide at

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