Jean and Cameron’s love story spans two continents, 20 years and a close call with divorce.
They met in 1994 and became close friends. The next year, Jean moved back to her home in Venezuela. Cameron stayed in touch with her through letters and traveled to visit her.
Marriage and Miscommunication
Almost 16 years later, in 2010, they got married. They considered seeing a counselor since they had never really spent much time together, but decided not to because of the financial cost. Neither had the best role models of a healthy marriage and they had a bumpy transition to married life.
Even though they were married, they felt like they were still getting to know one another and had difficulty expressing their feelings. Miscommunication led to arguments and a disconnection in their marriage.
Do We Want to Be Married?
Jean and Cameron wanted a strong, healthy marriage. They both read relationship books, but books weren’t enough. Ultimately, they asked themselves, “Do we want to be married?” Separately, they both wondered if they had done the right thing by getting married.Could their relationship make it or was it all a big mistake?
Jean discovered Catholic Charities counseling program and knew they could afford to go with the flexible rates. They began seeing Anna Smith, a licensed counselor.
“It was awkward talking to a stranger at first, but during that first session we were able to open up and express our feelings,” said Jean.
Smith taught them communication skills, so they could share their thoughts and feelings. They also learned to listen to one another. For Jean, this was the most valuable lesson for her.
Faith and Forgiveness
Jean says another important part of their story is learning to forgive. “I can forgive because of my faith in God,” said Jean. She and Cameron are now focused on creating new memories and building trust again.
Communication Tips for Healthy Relationships
Smith shares some advice to other couples who may be struggling in their marriage.
1. Healthy Talk: Communicate out of love and respect for one another and avoid using name calling or threats.
2. Validation: Validation goes a long way. Validating one another helps each person feel heard and respected.
3. One Topic Conversations: It’s a good idea to not bring many past events into a present conversation. Focus on one topic per conversation and take a time out if you start feeling upset or defensive.
Do you find yourself miscommunicating with your spouse and need support? Please call 602-749-4405 to make an appointment with a Catholic Charities counselor. Our low rates are based on your ability to pay. Spanish speaking counselors are available, and we have convenient offices located throughout the Valley.