When my husband and I got married I was 35 and he was 45. Both never married, diverse upbringings and very independent minded. To add to everything within a year we were new parents.
We had different cleaning, social habits and communication styles, ending up in meaningless power struggles over sometimes the smallest of things.
Our marriage was important to us. We were successful in our careers and wanted the same success in our marriage, not only for us but for our son too. Marriage proved to be more challenging than expected. To gain some guidance and outlook we tried the expensive counselors and therapists (only to go in circles). We could both see they were not the best counselors for us, as they emphasized our weaknesses and failed to intervene when we used bad communication habits. Most gave up on my husband and I.
One counselor felt we would do better in a group setting and suggested a local Orange County program The Third Option that offers a program based on scientific research and studies from top relationship counselors. It meets weekly on Monday evenings 7 to 9pm in Santa Ana. This program started to finally make each of us see our bad habits and help us see how we can fix them and change for the better. The Third Option has made an incredible impact on our relationship and others who attend unfailingly, week after week. We see it in us and the other couples who come weekly.
Where other counselors and therapists couldn’t help and guide us to fix what they saw broken The Third Option did.
The Third Option is a counseling program for couples, which offers strategies and techniques to improve communication, conflict resolution and many other areas that present challenges within a romantic relationship. In one aspect they teach relationship and communication skills but they also offer a 50 minute session where participants talk about their week and troubleshoot issues in their marriage and how to apply the skills that they have learned in the program for the better. Nobody is required to share if they don’t feel up to it, they make it a point to respect people’s privacy, some individuals/couples learn from simply listening.
The program itself draws from a variety of books, scientific research, and professional individuals who have contributed to the understanding of interactions between couples. A few examples include John Gottman, who did extensive scientific research with couples at the University of Washington, Shelly Taylor from UCLA who noticed that Fight-or-Flight was a response that identified primarily with males and developed Tend-and-Befriend as a response to the female experience of stress, and John Gray who highlighted some of the differences in coping strategies between men and women.
The Third Option is open for anyone to come, dating, engaged, married, separated, or singles. Couples benefit the most because both are there working on themselves simultaneously. There are cases where someone’s partner doesn’t want to come or can’t come. In this case The Third Option counselors encourage people to come by themselves regardless of their partner’s circumstances because one person’s change inevitably impacts their home environment. For people who are not currently in a relationship and/or have been divorced will eventually go into a new relationship and will be better equipped by coming, learning and improving on what they know already.
There is no RSVP needed, simply show up for 7pm. You don’t need to bring anything with you to register simply show up at 1650 E. 4th Street, Suite # 201, Santa Ana, CA 92704. It’s right off the 5 freeway going North, exit on 4th Street. It’s walking distance from the Santa Ana zoo.
I would like to thank The Third Option program and the dedicated instructors for helping us gain skills to improve on our marriage and helped many other couples and individuals who attend and making it free.
To learn more see www.RelationshipsOC.org for detailed information on the Third Option program or call 714-706-4250.
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Joanna founded Love Engineer Dating and Relationship Advice blog in 2004 after she saw her friends struggling to date in Silicon Valley. Over the years she has introduced 11 couples who got married and still remain married years later.