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How To Bullet-Proof Your Partnership And Avoid Being A Number In The Latest Divorce Stats

Written by: Gary McFarlane, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Gary McFarlane

What’s love got to do with it? Love hurts, when it goes wrong. Gary Chapman has told us about The Five Love languages. I approach Love, by encouraging couples to enhance all five of the Greek works for love and see them at work in their relationship, in a very demonstrable and tangible way. Without a doubt, doing so, will bullet proof their relationship against the casualties afflicting the “Smithes” and “Joneses”, partnership/marriages up and down their street.

Man and woman hugging each other

The five loves really work. It stops short of me giving to you a 100% guarantee, but it gets close – very close – to giving you a love affair relationship that can last a life time.

Armour proof your relationship. Incorporate and practice the five loves and watch the envy of those around you, scratching their heads and wanting a bit of what you two have got.

Historically, the Greek language used at least five words precisely and quite distinctly to describe the various facets of love. By looking at each of those different word descriptions, we can build up the identifying features of all the components that the word love should contain and be demonstrated in all healthy, progressive and fulfilling partnered and Marriage relationships. Those five words for love are Epithumia, Eros, Phileo, Storge and Agape.

I shall amplify the meaning of each of those words in order to bring out the essence of what they can look like when actively featured and at work in a relationship. Let’s learn the truth so that the truth may set us free to be the best that we can be. (Throughout this article I shall use the terms Marriage/Partnership/Relationship interchangeably. You choose which is right for you).

If you have read any of my other articles, then you will know that I put a lot of store on those early childhood developing years as the period where the templates that will play out in adulthood, are set up. The Kairos centre is not so much about helping couples to stay together and work out the conflict. It is much more about helping self to better understand self and if two individuals are doing that, then the moving own stuff from the unconscious to the conscious means visibility; what can now be seen, can be gone after, with endeavours aimed at change. What lives in the unconscious – is me being me, doing life how I do life – “what’s the problem”; “yep there is a problem”; then there is no chance of changing the problem.

It must first be made visible, then go after change. Remember Change begins, because you can now see the problem; it is brought into the conscious. There is a journey to come, as you negotiate through all the change stages, but even so, change has started. You are in transition. You are not where you want to be, but thank God you are not where you use to be – that is transition.

Often, the answer to loneliness is only partly met by people. Falling in love is involuntary (some people say). I am not sure about that. What I am sure about is that being in love and remaining in love, is very much a matter of your choice.

Some conflicts in partnerships and marriage can be seen as an attempt to put right, experiences which have gone wrong in the past. It is self-evident that childhood experiences must have a profound formative effect upon the beliefs we have about ourselves and upon our expectations of others.

Most of us fail to take those childhood experiences into account, when we run into trouble later on in life. The past does live in the present, for many of us.

If you are coasting in your relationship, you are probably in a relationship that is going downhill. You will not be just staying static as you think.

We are shaped by our developmental journey

The newborn child starts life in innocency. During the childhood development stages, we are knocked about and shaped by events in our lives. The blank hard drive (of the brain) is starting to fill up with data from childhood experiences. A distorted image develops. Two Distorted Images from different journeys through life, become One.

The Inner child gets hurt and builds layers to protect from further and future pain. The Russian doll best illustrates it. The Inner child seeks protection deep inside. Which one is the true you? Stand up the real and authentic you.

Russian doll

Children learn what they live

Author: Dorothy Law Nolte

If a child lives with criticism,he [she] learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility,he [she] learns to fight.

If a child lives with ridicule,he [she] learns to be shy.

If a child lives with shame,he [she] learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance,he [she] learns to be patient.

If a child lives with encouragement,he [she] learns confidence.

If a child lives with praise,he [she] learns to appreciate.

If a child lives with fairness,he [she] learns justice.

If a child lives with security,he [she] learns to have faith.

If a child lives with approval,he [she] learns to like himself [herself].

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,he [she] learns to find love in the world.

If I use my literacy licence to add a line to this poem, it would say “and the child soon becomes the man/woman”. I wonder what the man/woman will go on to pass on to their children? What goes in, is going to come out. Newton’s third law really does apply: “To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”.

Consider this Pinches & Crunches diagram as a roadmap for all partnerships and marriages. (View it as a journey from the top to the bottom). We are all represented on that roadmap – somewhere. Where are you?

photo illustration

Sexual map & sexual template

A love map is an individual’s unique erotic signature. We take in experiences (good, indifference and bad) as we journey in our families and take from the family scripts for how to do life. That sexual map contains our likes, dislikes, preferences, inhibitions, erotic signature and such things, which we may not even be conscious of having, until the right circumstance triggers them.

Photo image diagram

The sexual map becomes fixed at a point and becomes the sexual template by which we live out our sex life, unless we later seek to change aspects of it – often with help. That sexual map was evolving from childhood.

Love me in five ways

Most of us operate out of emotional love. Our love is conditional. If we are to learn a better way, then change will be demanded. If this teaching gets into our hearts, we cannot remain the same. Change can be uncomfortable. It may mean a turnaround is required; a turn from a way of being; a turn from a way of behaving and a way of operating.

Loving self comes first. If you do not love yourself it is not possible to love someone with the high level of love you think you have for them. (I know some may want to challenge me about this!) It is deception to think that we do love our partner, whilst not really able to say that we love our self. We are being untrue, but cannot see that the truth is not in us. There is a betraying of both of you in the partnership. Learn to love yourself first. You can only love as much as you understand love.

Learn to love and then learn the art of practising love. Learn it well and then spend a lifetime in discipline, maintaining and perfecting it as your love affair. Men may not need to hear the words “I love you” as often as women, but for sure they need to know they are valued and respected. They receive them from demonstrable acts and words of appreciation. Men, do not refrain from using those words “I Love you” for too long, even when there is plenty of flower giving, taking out for meals and sex! Be warned.

We know that the English word love is much over used. We use it as much for loving a meal as we do for loving our partner, the pet or ice cream. Using one word in that manner is a recipe for misunderstanding and certainly lacks precision in what we are trying to express.

We can compare that to the way the word love is broken down and used in the Greek language. Historically, the Greek language used at least five words precisely and quite distinctly to describe the various facets of love.

By looking at each of those different word descriptions, we can build up the identifying features of all the components that the word love should contain and demonstrate in all healthy, progressive and fulfilling relationships. Those five words for love are Epithumia, Eros, Phileo, Storge and Agape.

Every couple’s love life should have all five facets of these aspects of love. Each build on the other. Each has its own special and significant place. Each is distinct, but inter-related and overlaps. Each reinforces the other. Don’t forget that! Let’s look at the first of those five loves.

Epithumia: (Sexual love)

Epithumia is a strong desire – of any kind. As a strong desire it can be sometimes good and sometimes bad. It is a longing for something or someone. It is to set one’s heart or desire upon. Therefore, it can be viewed as having components of coveting and to lust after. We only come across the word lust as a negative expression. This is one instance when it can be used positively – when we have permission to lust after our own partner!

It is a strong lustful and physical sexual desire, one toward the other – in the context of the partnership. They should have a strong physical desire for each other that goes on to express itself in pleasurable sexual love making.

Even in the happiest of relationships couples can improve their sexual relationship through increased knowledge and understanding about sexual matters. Let’s define how we are using the words “sexual intercourse”. It is not limited to the contact of the genitals, but covers the whole preparation and progression towards sexual activity. Therefore, sexual intercourse includes foreplay and foreplay commences even before getting home! Foreplay is the unexpected phone call received whilst at work; the text message of affection and the love note in the others pocket.

Whilst sexual intercourse is not the most important aspect of the relationship, it certainly is a thermometer for testing the temperature and pulse of the relationship. It is a definite indicator of the health of the relationship. If tension exists, the first aspects that will show up are the difficulties in the sex life.

Frequently what we will do is start kidding ourselves with excuses and seemingly good logical reasons when our sexual relationship is lacking. Even when the relationship is floundering we can still have mutual pleasure in our sex life. That should be the case, whilst at the same time the couple are working through the other missing facets of love; perhaps in counselling/therapy.

Sex therapy is well recognized as a specialised counselling field where treatment is available for dysfunctions and disorders for the sexual side of the relationship. The Kairos Centre is well practiced in that field and work with clients via Zoom quite effectively. Sex addiction and compulsivity is a burgeoning field of practice, particularly as our knowledge increases about the significant addictive qualities of internet pornography and cybersex use.

Human sexual development

The route to us achieving sexual maturity has been a complicated journey with many ports, tangents and departures. Even before birth, important stages were laying down some milestones for our future sexuality. Childhood sexual experiences can be associated with sexual difficulties in adulthood. Throughout childhood and early adolescence various strands of our development combine to produce the sexual adult. That sexual adult continues to develop sexually throughout life. There are a multitude of influences.

Our sexual map was developing and that determined our sexual template of preferences, including fetishes and paraphilias! All of us have learnt a sexual script. My wife was never going to see me naked, such was my tut, tut, tut script around nudity. I still look in the mirror and ask how this black man became a psychosexual Therapist? My answer: “God, you have got such a sense of humour”.

Our brain holds that sexual script. The script can be re-written if we know what it is. But most of us do not know it. A part of that sexual script has to do with what we were taught about sex or what we picked up. I picked up mine from library books.

Sigmund Freud & Jean Piaget enlightens us with some knowledge which has helped us in our understanding about Childhood development. Children show masturbatory behaviours until they learn about shame from adults and then it becomes a secret and private thing in which the child and their curiosity may continue to indulge. A study in 1974 showed that infant boys begin to play with their genitals at about 6 to 7 months and girls at 10 to 11 months. Boys continue until obvious masturbation is established at 15 to 16 months.

Girls showed more intermittent genital play and more tendency to transfer to less direct methods of stimulation. By age 20, 92% of men had masturbated, compared to one third of women. By age 40 some 62% of women had masturbated. Where men did masturbate, it was two to three times more frequent. Singleness masturbation before the couple relationship, can continue to be a problem within the relationship. Having a sexual partner tends to increase (rather than decrease) the frequency of male masturbation.

We know that childhood sexual abuse is much more prevalent than had previously been thought. There are a large proportion of people that have suffered sexual abuse and have learnt ways to “forget about it” or cope with it. The dilemma is that sometimes it seeps out. If we or our partner do not know about that past, then it may be influencing our sexual behaviour. Maybe that script needs some help to be re-written.

By the way, “Shame” is a very significant (and never to be under estimated) feature in sex addiction – which feeds it! In fact the Mathematical formula that I use in my Therapy practice is: SHAME + NARCISSISM = SEX/PORN ADDICTION.

The sexual response cycle

There is a difference between male and female in the way their bodies behave and react to sexual stimulation leading to sexual intercourse. It is important to understand those differences.

The sexual response cycle explains those differences. They are the changes that occur during sexual arousal as a response to sexual stimulation of any kind. It is plotted on the graph.

A debt is owed to Masters and Johnson for their work on sexual responses in both men and women. Masters and Johnson acknowledge the contribution provided by the earlier work of Kinsey and others. Some time later Kaplan identified a first phase which applies to women – that of Desire and that was added to the sexual response cycle.

Men do not necessarily need Desire! Mowing the lawn, can switch to sex; the deed done in 15 minutes; back mowing the lawn in 16 minutes. Ladies, men can do that. Men, ladies bodies don’t work that way, unless they too are also “up” for a “quickie”.

The sexual response cycle starts with desire for the woman, leading to excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution phases. The female will not always have desire and may start from the excitement phase. Desire is subjective and not measurable, unlike the other phases. It has qualities that represent the emotional states of hunger and wanting food. Others view it as sexual interest or libido. Studies show clearly that a poor relationship with a partner does predict low sexual desire. Where anxiety lives, desire will remain inhibited. Some women have responsive, rather than spontaneous desire. In other words, they respond to stimuli such as touch. Just because there is no desire, does not mean you cannot/should not/might not – allow yourself to get desire – in time, as foreplay/stimuli continues.

The second phase is excitement and represents mostly changes of increased flow of blood to the genital organs and other blood vessels, causing engorgement and lubrication. As excitement intensifies, the next phase is plateau, where the high sexual arousal or tension results in a levelling off of arousal. Plateau precedes the threshold level of arousal necessary to trigger orgasm. Continued stimulation results in the next stage of orgasm. There is involuntary release of sexual tension, which occurs in a pleasurable rhythmic pattern.

During the final stage of resolution, the anatomical and physiological changes start to dissipate and return to their normal unaroused state, contributing to a feeling of relaxation and well-being. This is an important phase for completing the full sexual response cycle of sexual intercourse and is a time when a couple can share their feelings for each other through the experience of a unique sense of closeness, promoted by a sense of relaxation and relaxed muscle tone.

It is a time of bonding and re-bonding between the couple with something Spiritual having just taken place. It is the height of the oneness. Don’t break the bond of closeness too quickly by rushing to the bathroom to clean up. Sex is messy! And ladies – sperms do leak out when getting up. It doesn’t just happen to you.

The Hollywood movie portrayal is not real life!

The duration of the phases differ between men and women. Typically, the duration of the excitement phase is longer for women and is a very important phase for ensuring sufficient vaginal lubrication before attempts by the penis to enter the vagina without causing pain. There is much more that could be said about each phase.

Another notable difference between males and females is a refractory period for males. That means after one ejaculation, there is a period when they are unable to experience another ejaculation or orgasm. The length of that period depends very much upon factors, which include age, desire and the effects of alcohol or medication. Women have the potential to have one orgasm after another. They are potentially multi-orgasmic. Ladies remember, “all things in moderation”! Some women have not and do not achieve an orgasm. Sex therapy has the very real potential to change that if the couple desire change.

The dual control model of sexual desire

Some would say that there are limitations in the Masters & Johnson model and a more accurate perspective is found in the Dual Control Model of Sexual Desire. The Dual Control Model was developed by former Kinsey Institute director Dr John Bancroft and Dr Erick Janssen in the late 1990s. It proposes that there are two systems at work. One moves us closer to sexual Desire and is called the Sexual Excitation system (SES). The other one moves us further away and is called the Sexual Inhibition System (SIS). It can be viewed as SES (the gas) and the other SIS (is the brakes).

All individuals have a different and varying responsiveness to these systems. It is based on an individual’s personality preferences, such as physiology and sexual history. Everybody’s sexual experiences are different.

Understanding the Dual Control Model of sexual desire can bring instant release (from pressure to be “in the mood at the flip of a switch”!), to many individuals – particularly women.

The dual control model of sexual arousal basically explains arousal as being a system with those controls – SES and SIS. These two opposing systems are constantly fighting to control your arousal. SES is fighting to get you aroused and the SIS is fighting to keep you disinterested in sex.

They are how our brain decides when it’s appropriate to have sex and when it’s not. For example, in a crowded room, your SIS tells you “There are people around!” and puts the brakes on your arousal. For some people, there are even more sensitive triggers which put the desire brakes on, such as: no lock on the door; kids are still awake and may hear us; the wall is to thin and we can be over heard; there are guests in the house; the neighbours may hear.

It works differently for every person and maybe childhood development has left a deposit/template. It is all very personal, highly contextual, but can be very confusing and cause conflict if you do not understand it and do not know what is going on; particularly when/where you thought you would be up for it.

The SES works in the opposite way. The triggers can be unexpected and like a bolt of lightning out the blue. For example: seeing a partner wet from a shower; in a particular posture; going to bed early; a spontaneous erection; licking of lips; stress; anxiety; empty house free of kids. So much about what has gone into own arousal template.

Stress and anxiety may trigger the SES for some, but it triggers SIS for others. Being tied up is initially fun and arousing, but may subsequently change to anxiety and shuts down arousal. “Make up your mind”!I can’t!”. No one glove fits all. Very confusing hey! Or maybe not.

Maybe this explains so much and helps you! “There is nothing wrong with me”. “I don’t have low libido”. I am NORMAL!” A little stress might be fun (like being tied up), but too much stress shuts things down. “I get it!”.That is liberating”.

So, help yourself by removing or changing things which set off your SIS and enhance the things which increase your SES. “Simples?”. Maybe not. You can only change what you can see and better understand about you. Set about better understanding you. Move as much from the unconscious to the conscious. That is what Therapy is all about – in The Kairos Centre.

Let’s get back to our chat about the first of those loves – that of Epithumia. Sex can be used to punish, frustrate, reject or pay back. It can be turned off deliberately, purposefully and by choice. The quiet treatment, criticism, suspicion, anger, hurt, silence, misunderstanding, fear, hostility or guilt having their tentacles in the relationship. These will be hindrances and play a part in shutting down certain stages in the sexual responses. Anxiety, self-consciousness, scoring, spectatoring and performance pressures are some other attitudes and behaviours which will affect phases in the sexual response cycle and SES/SIS.

Sex therapists are assisted in their work by having a good understanding of pre-disposing, precipitants and maintaining factors, which are psychological causes of sexual dysfunction. The dysfunctions include lack of orgasm by either party; pain for either, during penetrative sex (Dyspareunia); male erectile difficulties; inability to allow the penis into the vagina (Vaginismus); premature or retarded ejaculation, lack of desire or interest in sex.

Pre-disposing factors from early childhood experiences may arise from overt or covert messages about sex. They may arise because of a restrictive upbringing, perception about the quality of relationships between parents, inadequate sexual information and traumatic early sexual experiences (of which childhood sexual abuse is a key factor). Also, early insecurity in own psychosexual role, such as lack of comfort with personal sexuality and therefore an adverse view about sexual identity, fetishes, paraphilia, masturbation, own body development, as well as other people’s view of self – all can contribute to sexual disorders/dysfunctions.

Precipitants are events, circumstance and situations associated with and connected to the sexual problem. When certain circumstances are recognised as present they act as a precipitant to the problem actually occurring. Precipitants may be physical or psychological. They restrict the sexual response.

Precipitants include loss of interest by a woman following childbirth; discord in the general relationship (which may also then become a maintaining factor); cheating – such as an affair or other guilt and secrets; unreasonable expectations (where things such as inability to achieve multiple orgasms; not “coming” together or sexual myths, are active). One partner may suffer random failure, of which stress, alcohol, medication and drugs are contributors. Reaction to organic factors (such as heart attack), ageing and issues around physiological changes from ageing, depression and anxiety, as well as other traumatic sexual experiences (such as rape and unwanted pregnancy) – are precipitants.

Maintaining factors are those things which are present and explain why the problem continues. It may be performance anxiety. That will inhibit the natural sexual response cycle. Hand in hand with anxiety is anticipation of failure, which may lead to guilt. Loss of attraction between the partners, poor communication, discord in the general relationship, impaired or poor self-image, inadequate sexual information, knowledge and sexual myths (which are also precipitants) – are also maintainers. Alongside, are such things as insufficient foreplay, psychiatric disorders and alcoholism.

I single out the fear of intimacy for further mention because fear of prolonged intimacy may cause avoidance or limited contact between the couple in case it leads further than one of them wants. They desire affection and contact, especially when sex is not working well for them. Yet contact is avoided and limited so as to regulate the frequency of attempting to have sexual intercourse, which evoke such strong memories of failure. A lose/lose dilemma and a spiralling vicious circle is established.

The need for psychosexual/sex therapy is readily identifiable in all of the scenarios above. The benefits of sex therapy are available to the elderly who want an active sex life, as well as those who suffer from various disabilities and are so often not well catered for in other fields of medical care.

Correct knowledge is a starting point. There may be misconceptions, misinformation, false teachings, wrong views – all of which may have to be challenged, discarded and right thinking replace them, based on correct information. Understand that you can turn off your interest in sex and can turn off (at least) the capacity for sex.

A healthy sex life requires the development and maintaining a life time love affair. Even if you already have a good relationship, it can be better! You have a right to expect and anticipate increased sexual pleasure year after year. You have no right to expect diminished sexual pleasure. Diminished sexual pleasure need not come with older age and certainly need not stay. In middle age and senior years, sensitive, uninhibited practiced love making can become exhilarating with a partner who responds and performs in a complementary way.

It may take years to let go of and give self permission to embrace and enjoy sex. Many picked up what they know from magazines, library books or school kids talk. Peers and Porn is how it is for many and gives rise to sexual myths, which become entrenched from repeated practice. They may still be at work, even now. Only you stand between your situation and the solution.

Eros: (Romance)

Eros is that love (more than any other kind) which carries with it the idea of romance. It has been corrupted by the English word “erotic”. Eros is not always sensual. What it includes, is the idea of yearning to unite with; the desire to possess the beloved.

Eros is romantic, passionate and sentimental. Most courting relationships start with eros. It is the kind of love which causes lovers to write poetry, love notes and pet names for each other.

The limitations with eros is that is it changeable. It cannot last for a lifetime by itself. At the beginning eros wants to promise the world and that the relationship will last for ever, but it cannot keep that promise on its own. It is not an infatuation, but has elements of infatuation. It is more of a true romantic love, which is a facet of the early developing relationship.

Most of us long for a thrilling relationship which has excitement and an indescribable sensation of “being in love”. We experience it for a while at the beginning of a relationship and then it seems to fade away. Familiarity takes over. Expectation is lost. We come off of cloud 9. We no longer feel energised or motivated to do those things which we would previously have done, such as going out to the sport centre and getting exercise so that our physical wellbeing is more attractive to our partner.

In the early stages of the new relationship, it is eros which propelled us to drive for many, many miles for just a few hours during the working week, just for a couple of hours with our partner who lives and works elsewhere! We would not contemplate doing so 8 years into the relationship! The cost of fuel; the length of the journey; the limited time before the next weekend visit – all contra-indicate doing such a ridic... thing!

Eros love provided that energy, that motivation, that confidence, that sensation of being in love. As the years have gone on, you lost eros love. You can bring it back into your marriage to enhance the excitement and build it year by year. That is so, even if you are having very serious problems in your relationship.

Consider a “Sexy Surprise”. Something that will bring a smile to your partner, that has a twist of “novelty/spicy/naughtiness”. This is something that you and your partner will always remember and therefore it has to be significant and important to them. Examples include: Setting the bath, with candles and smells. When they get in, you jump in (not literally jump!) in with them. Pack a picnic hamper and plan the day out for you – maybe in a tent in the garden. Be creative. Ask a friend if you need ideas.

Stick post-its on each other’s naked bodies to identify each other’s “Erogenous Zones”:

Human body

Do not be afraid to go for something fully sexy, as a surprise. Try a massage. A candle lit dinner at home – naked. It is the silly ideas that are probably the best ones! But stay safe. Please! No Accident & Emergency Dept stuff. No answering phones.

When everything between the two of you seems to have gone wrong, maybe the answer is to fall in love again. What if you feel that you no longer love your partner. The answer is to fall in love again. Feelings do not always tell the truth. Find the truth in your body. It a skill that we use in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing). Work with what your body is telling you. If you have the will to fall in love again, then eros will help you to do that. If you don’t have the will, then we need to do some further work before you move on.

You have to choose to be willing to fall in love again. Falling in love begins with your mind making a choice – to be in love with your partner. Surrendering your choice does leave you vulnerable to being hurt, but the risk of such pain may be the price of achieving the partnership you really want.

Anger and unforgiveness will be total blocks. They have to be removed. Therapy may be indicated.

Eros love is a pleasurable learned response. It responds (very different to Agape) to the way your partner looks, feels, says things and does things and to the emotional experiences which you share. Consistently think on these favourable things and have them imprinted on your mind. Banish the negative imprints.

Use your thought life (in a constructive way) to learn romantic eros way of loving. The thought life can be good and very positive and play a very important role.

Remember how you once felt when you held each other close, at the beginning. Think about those things that first attracted you. Look at your partner through another person’s eyes and see the positive qualities which you think somebody else would see in them. Have you forgotten about those things and also the things that first attracted you. We begin to take each other for granted. How long has it been since your heart leapt for joy at seeing your partner and you felt like giving them a hug of appreciation – for the sake of it?

Date nights are great. There are children? Then be creative. Remember when you did courtship in the car. You were creative with the food, music, blanket! warmth and comforts. Do those again. Park the car on the drive or in the garage (if it fits – with all the other stuff in there). Get in. Get the child monitor. Otherwise, set the table in the dining room. Get dressed up. Order a take away. Take them out of the containers and set them out in dishes on the table with candles. Be creative.

When you felt like giving your partner a spontaneous hug, what stopped you? Why can’t you just do it ? Go on – do it now; this very minute. Put this article down; go do it. Resolve to do it as soon as you are together. Go on, just do it.

Use your imagination to fall in love again, to renew romantic love, to keep eros love alive. Imagination is perhaps one of the strongest natural powers which we have and it must not always be seen as being negative or used in a negative manner. Love must grow or it will die. Coasting means the relationship must gradually be going downhill.

Touching someone with whom you are in conflict, is one of the quickest ways to eventually resolve/recover from a conflict; but so very hard to do.

A poem

Storge: (Security)

This is the third of the five Greek words for love. Described as the kind of love shared by parents and children, brothers and sisters. A relationship which will always be there for you, despite being rejected by others. A safe place/haven. It is the need (which we all have) to belong or to be a part of a close-knit circle, with people who care and are loyal and sincere. A relationship which provides emotional refuge from a world which can be cold and hard.

It provides an atmosphere of security in which love is able to dwell and flourish. The absence of storge love is like a house without a roof where the rain gets in and spoils.

By developing storge love, it sees you through the rocky years. When things seem to flounder around us, including the relationship, when push comes to shove, because of storge love, you find that you fall back on each other, knowing that despite the past and the rejections which you have faced in life, the partner will always be there for you. You feel assured that they are a solid rock to whom you can still turn.

We all need a place which we can call home, not just brick and mortar of four walls, but an atmosphere that is secure and we feel comfortable. The relationship develops such that things which hurt one partner, evokes an empathetic response in the other. Personal growth enhances both. There is loyal support. Even seeing each other’s faults, does not diminish mutual trust.

Storge is the expression of total confidence, one in the other, even when the going is tough for one partner; like in the workplace. It is the support; the rock; the being there. It is the listening; the understanding, the communicating, the sympathising, the confidant.

When you hide your hurts and the way you are feeling, from your partner, then there is an absence of storge. Storge means a shoulder to cry on; being there at times of crises. There should be a comfortable familiarity, such that partners enjoy being together and feel pleasantly at ease with each other.

An apt quote from the Bible fits well when it says: “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour for if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow...”

Storge love actually takes some time of consistent behaviour to build this type of love into a partnership. It does not just exist and is not there from the beginning of the relationship. It has to be built, developed and maintained. The foundations of loyalty, support and kindness are evident. It is possible to start to build this type of love so that your relationship becomes a place of homecoming.

You can give this gift to your partner. It is a very expensive gift. A gift of belonging. You cannot buy it. It is worth more than the diamond ring.

Phile: (Fellowship/Friendship)

Our fourth love is Phileo. This love cherishes and has tender affection for the beloved, but always expects a response. (This is in stark contrast to agape, which we shall come on to, which does not expect a response). Phileo is a comradeship, sharing, communication, friendship. You and your partner become dear friends, who enjoy each other’s closeness and companionship. You share each other’s intimate thoughts, feelings, attitudes, plans, dreams, aspirations and all the intimate things that you would not share with anyone else. You share time and interests.

A partnership without Phileo will not be satisfied even if there is plenty of sexual intercourse. Many marriages work for a lot of couples who have satisfying sexual intercourse, but lack phileo love (of having a very dear friend/companion in the other partner, in whom they can share everything). Sometimes our very busy agenda stops Phileo love. Time seems to work against developing this type of love within the partnership. When the children have grown up we see the reason why 25 or 35 years of marriage comes to an end – as the children have left home.

Phileo is the love that one feels for a cherished friend, of either sex. We can make these observations about phileo:

  • It is emotional in nature and cannot be commanded. It has to be developed.

  • It is a selective love, based on qualities in another person that one finds admirable, attractive and appealing. (We love the person because of a particular quality(ies)).

  • It requires regular interaction, comradeship, fellowship and communication in order to enhance it.

  • It manifests itself in a living, growing relationship between two chosen friends.

  • It is the type of love which older couples can teach younger newer couples how to develop phileo love over time – to help them limit the pitfalls in the terrain. (Seek out a couple who have it and be mentored).

Phileo does not automatically appear when the marriage vows are said and rings exchanged. It is strangely absent from many, many marriages, through neglect. Couples have lost the rapport to rebuild Phileo. Many never bother. Many never had it, even in their courting relationship. They lean too heavily on the romantic and sexual attraction in the relationship.

The absence of Phileo love will show, in couples trying to fill the void with all sorts of things. The way to start building Phileo is to start to share with each other the way you feel and your need to have a best friend as your partner. It may mean becoming vulnerable.

Remember that the conditions you are seeking to build up to grow Phileo love must be conducive to a friendship. You must therefore understand the dynamics of how friendships are formed, mature and endure.

That means you need to start doing things together. Reduce the number of social things which you do separately and do more things jointly. Sacrifice some of your hobbies/social events to be with your partner or do more of them together. Put yourself out for your partner. Be supportive. Show an interest, as if you were trying to woo someone, to whom you were attracted before you became partners. You certainly did go out of your way to win your partner. Do it again.

Test the strength of Phileo in your relationship by asking yourself these questions:

  • Do we spend quality time together?

  • Do we have fun together?

  • Do we share activities and interests?

  • Do we know and like each other?

  • Do we talk things over?

  • Do we call on each other for help?

  • Do we count on each other’s loyalty?

Learn to build rapport with your partner, through communication. (Learn good communication skills).

Remember, in communication skils, it’s not about the nail.

woman sitting

...and stay out of the dog house.

man in dog house

In developing communication skills, there is a big difference between Hearing and effective Listening. Here are some basic rules:

  • Never repeat to anyone else the things your spouse shares with you privately (without permission).

  • Give your spouse your total “enthusiastic” attention and listen with interest while he/she becomes more comfortable in expressing themselves. Use eye contact.

  • Do not interrupt or jump to conclusions about what is being said.

  • Acknowledge that you understand, even if you do disagree and repeat back to ensure that you did understand what was being said. (Do not let your disagreement sound like disapproval.). You are entitled to disagree.

  • When you are sharing your thoughts, be careful never to sound as if you are heaping blame on the other. (When one goes on the defensive, communication breaks down and rapport will need to be re-established).

  • Partners can use the silent treatment to punish each other. That is likely to be a learned behavior pattern. It is exceedingly destructive. The silent treatment is an effective weapon which should be banished from the marriage. The same is true of nagging each other.

Know The Gottman Institute, 4 Horsemen traits that has over a 90% accuracy prediction rate of likely divorce/separation if consistently present in a relationship: Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness and Stonewalling. If they are already present, contact The Kairos Centre to learn the antidote – soon.

Try the Emotional Bank account Exercise for starters:

The emotional bank account

The Emotional Bank Account is a way of describing the amount of trust that has been built up in a relationship. By acting positively, we build a reserve of goodwill which can be used when we need support or co-operation from the other person. We manage our emotional bank accounts in the same way as we manage ordinary joint accounts; by making deposits and withdrawals.

Deposits are things we do to develop the trust: attention, small kindnesses, love, caring, appreciation, courtesies. Our closest relationships require the most frequent deposits. It is not the big issues, the grand gestures, that have the most impact. Relationships are built and destroyed by the little things that happen over time and by what we come to recognise as the patterns of behaviour. Deposits must be sincere and made for their own sake, as an expression of love, or care, not in an attempt to buy positive effects.

Withdrawals are things that decrease the trust; unkindness, criticisms, breaking promises, put downs, disloyalty etc. In times of stress we tend to draw on our relationships, to expect more from others than we can give in retum. If the trust balance between two people is low, the relationship may become fraught and difficult, with each looking to the other for affection, understanding, apologies and forgiveness, but unwilling or unable to pay in themselves. Someone has to make the first new deposits,

without expecting immediate returns. Far too often we want to wait for the other person to make the first moves, to pay into the account, but by doing this we leave ourselves feeling powerless, like victims.

By paying into our accounts (because we think that we ourselves, our relationships and the other people involved are worth investment), we start to have a greater influence and control over our lives. Emotional bank account deposits (kindness, listening etc.) are not the same as weaknesses, but are positive gestures of strength. Change your thinking and perspective.

(Adapted from the work of Stephen Covey)

Effective communication (which builds secure relationships) is not that you reach agreement. It is all about feeling hear and listened to. When we feel heard and listened to, we feel valued. When we feel valued we feel appreciated and a Core Emotional need is being met.

When we do not feel listened to, repeatedly over time, we do not feel valued. When we do not feel valued consistently, our Core Emotional Needs are depleting. When our Core Emotional Needs are depleting below critical levels, then we move into Fight/Flight/Freeze survival mode.

Here are some ways to start building Phileo love.

  • Spend time together alone - really listening to each other, because you want to understand each other better (with the TV off).

  • (A key gamechanger in effective communication skills is to consider – Do you enter a conversation to be understood or to understand? There is a big difference between the two).

  • Look at your partner as they talk. Move close to them. Touch if you can. Ensure frequent eye contact.

  • Plan for times when you will be un-interrupted and give attention as if you are interested and be interested.

  • Arrange longer periods and sufficient time so that you can begin to let down your barriers that were erected and as time goes by, those defences will come down and more intimate sharing can take place in an atmosphere of trust.

  • Pay particular attention to each other - especially when other people are around so that your partner knows that you recognise their presence in the midst of other people. (The only one in the room of people!)

Develop sharing

Look at your life together and assess the following:

  • Common ground: Think of all the things you do together. How can you enjoy them even more?

  • Separate ground: Particularly areas of work, responsibility & hobbies. Make a list of the areas where you do things separately, including your own special interests and those interests which never involve your partner. Consider how can you bridge that gap towards both of you sharing those special interests together. Make a list of things that you can do to bring that about.

  • New ground: What interests can you begin to enjoy which will be of mutual interest to your partner.

  • Spend two minutes making your own list in answer to the above. After four minutes, discuss your list with your partner.

Phileo love (like any friendship) requires attention, so that the friendship does not die. Do not compare it to some of your friendships where you do not communicate with a friend for six months, a year, 5 years or more and yet you can just pick up from where you left off and know that nothing has changed between you! This one must be treated differently. Phileo love demands more than that expression of a friendship, but must include demonstrable action.

Phileo love can be developed between two very dissimilar people who married/partnershipped under extreme conditions (for whatever reasons) and without love; where the two care enough for each other to want to live together and develop love; it is possible; possible to re-kindle, refresh, revitalise and enhance love – if there is (eventually) a desire to do so.

The Kairos Centre journey with many couples who get there; recognising that when they started out, they did not know what they wanted or if they even want to stay together; since our work is not to help clients stay together; all about journeying with each person to better understand self; move as much from the unconscious, to the conscious and then doing some work around what they want to achieve thereafter.

When we are in conflict with a partner, the last thing that we want to do is to touch them; yet that is the very thing that we NEED to do; but the hardest thing to do. It is very, very hard to touch someone with whom you are in conflict. Try it! Then contact me to tell me how you did it.

Touching someone with whom you are in conflict, is one of the quickest ways to eventually resolve/recover from a conflict. Also give that a try!

Agape: (Unconditional)

Is the totally unselfish love that has the capacity to give and keep on giving, without expecting in return. It comes with a Health Warning. Our 21st Century way of doing life frowns on this gift to a seemingly undeserved partner. Remember that the “New Shame” – is that a person stays when everything and best friends’ advice is to leave. You are being a door map. (After-all, the grass is greener on the other side). When you do not leave, then others have no time for you. Somewhat manipulative and judgemental methinks.

Many of us do not have this Agape quality and therefore without doubt, we are moving from the physical to a spiritual quality. Like Empathy is the antidote to Narcissism – which needs a whole heap of repeated practice, over a potentially long period of time, so it is that Agape will need a lot of practice – and more. The majority will not ask to “sign me up” – “I am in” – for this one.

Agape values and serves. (There you go. That word “serves”!). Not sure that we like that word; unless it is for a charitable cause, like helping the homeless. Agape love is the love which causes us to woo the other person back into the relationship, over time, with little “thank you’es” or expression of appreciation. Indeed, downright hostility; but love spurs it on; love drives the “get up, dust off and keep on keeping on” – with the hope of change – over time.

This Agape love expression runs dry. It can’t be kept up without the support of others – who sign up to be there for you; speaking into you when you run dry; and you will run dry, but you think “love is worth it”.

Agape love is of particular significance to those partners who are trying desperately to save their marriage; where the love has gone, and indeed may have gone many years ago. One partner wants to hold on in there; seeing a glimmer of hope to rebuild the marriage.

Agape is an exercise of choice and not dependent upon feelings. You choose to love with agape love or choose not to. If you choose not to, then what is said after this point about agape love, will sound impossible, unreasonable, belittling and slavery.

Agape love focuses on the things you do and say, rather than on feelings. You do and say things, even though you do not feel like doing or saying those things, because you know that if they are done because of agape love, there is hope. That makes agape love exceedingly difficult to do alone.

Agape love demands a choice of the will – to give sacrificially. A marriage possessing agape love can survive anything. It is agape that keeps the marriage going when the natural love falters or dies. Even the most natural love will end eventually when there is no response. Agape keeps on going.

It loves, no matter what. This is where many readers have well and truly gone! It is a mental attitude, based on deliberate choice.

It loves no matter how unlovable is the other person. (Note: I am not advocating staying in abusive situations. You must leave). There is a price to pay for agape love. It continues to love in the face of indifference and rejection.

Frequently a spouse is hurting quite severely from the deterioration of the marriage. It may be through adultery. Adultery is one of the worst offences. My experience is that Porn, Sex and Love Addiction behaviours are also major assaults on the relationship which brings about a “crunch” – as in our Pinches & Crunches diagram above.

Agape love will enhance your partner’s self-image. The better a person feels about themself, the better they will be able to function within the relationship. Someone who feels love all the time, knowing it is not based on their own performance, feels uniquely valued as a person. They cannot but respond. You benefit – at a higher level of quality relationship. This is chandelier swinging – whooppeee stuff!

Unconditional love needs to become a habit. When it becomes a habit, then it can carry your partner through periods of severe stress. It removes the need for you to become defensive when you feel attacked. It means, to love your partner in the face of extremely unlovable behaviour. (Your staying power and resources should come from God and your group of handpicked supportive friends).

It is all so important that we bear in mind that the marriage/partnership is the key template from which children are learning. What deposit do you want to leave for them? We are teaching our children by example. They will learn about love and marriage (rightly or wrongly) from what they observe. Children will feel an insecurity, impossible to describe, if they cannot count on the love that mother has for father and the love that father has for mother. Children have a right for their parents to love each other and for their parents to provide security for the children. They have a right to firm foundations within the home.

We should have a lifetime love affair with our partner. The five Greek words for love, helps us to do just that – consistently. Natural love will fade. Agape love acts as the rake, the weed killer, which is employed to keep the garden looking immaculate. It only works if there is the will (even by one party) to put it into action. Agape love is always concerned with doing what is best for the beloved.

It is right that as we look at agape love, we ask, is it really achievable and at what price? At what price to our self-respect, when we see no response from the other partner? I did say that those looking on, won’t understand your actions; “aren’t you flogging a dead horse!” If they have never seen this facet of love, demonstrated my anyone they know, in their past, then they won’t understand it. They likely will endeavour to talk you out of it. You weigh it up.

In summary therefore, agape love requires:

  • Action, not just good intention.

  • Getting involved and not just sideline observation.

  • Unconditionally loving the unlovable, the undeserving, the unresponsive. (That is very difficult and challenging).

  • Permanent commitment to the person of one’s love.

  • Constructive, purposeful giving, based on your knowledge of what is best for your partner.

  • Consistency of behavior; showing a consistent concern for your partner’s best interest.

  • It is the best way of showing value to your partner and your marriage.

  • Having a group of supportive friends and family who sign on the dotted line to journey with you, especially when the going gets very tough.

(A word of caution is that you should not choose to start agape with the intention of reforming/changing your partner. That is not agape at work – that is another form of conditional love). “Say what”!

Some say there are no difficult people, only limitations on our ability to deal with certain individuals! They will also say there are no irritable people, only limitations on our ability to understand why certain people behave the way they do! To change the way other people behave, the most effective tool we have is our own behaviour; the more flexible we are, the more able we are to influence others. In order to change their behaviour, people need to feel safe, appreciated and understood. That provides an impetus for change.

The story is told of an old Rabbi: “When I was young, I set out to change the world. When I grew a little older, I perceived that this was too ambitious, so I set out to change my State. This too, I realised as I grew older, was too ambitious, so I set out to change my Town. When I realised I could not even do this, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I know that I should have started by changing myself. If I had started with myself, then I would have succeeded in changing my family, the Town or even the State and who knows, maybe even the world”.

The problem

People are not the problem. It is the problem which is the problem. Change your focus from people to the problem. Do that by Standing outside the problem and look and ask “the problem” some questions.

Use some creative questions to get to the real issues and the real problem.

Let us stop and evaluate our own approach to love:

  • Do you presently love with conditional love? (Do you love because you want something in return?)

  • Is your treatment of other people usually based on their behaviour?

  • Does your partner’s performance determine the degree of love which you show to them?

  • Do you think that love should be shown only as a reward for good behaviour?

  • Do you feel that your partner has to change before you can love them more?

  • Do you feel that you can improve your partner’s behaviour by withholding love?

  • Do you find that you are reacting most of the time or being more pro-active towards other people’s behaviour?

If you find that you are reacting most of the time, then you are being controlled by other people’s behaviour. What you give, is in direct measure to what they have first of all given out. Love (particularly Agape) requires a reversal of this.

You need to take time to observe and study each other, so that you know how to meet each other’s needs. This is a life time project! Not got a lifetime?

One person may measure love by how well their material needs are met or by tangible items such as receiving gifts. Another may feel loved when they receive help with household chores. Another may measure it by the amount of time that they spend together; the amount of time sharing and being open.

Someone else measures it by how often the words “I love you” are used. Yet another may measure it by the number of hugs and kisses or how loyal is our partner, especially in public. Your version of Love will very often clash head on with old learned habits (templates formed in the past) – which come from a world view that loving must be conditional.

There are many languages of love. We have to learn which one speak volumes to our partner.

Apply everything that you know. Pour your life into it.

...but all those 5 Loves falter if first of all, loving self is not apparent! That is a whole other article!

Love: Rebuilding

Falling in love may be involuntary. Being and remaining in love is a choice. We can choose to fall out of love. Love does not just fly out of the window. It takes time to decrease and so takes time to resurrect it. No quick fixes in here. Coasting in the relationship, will help it to go downhill and eventually snuffed it out.

I am not sure about “Love at first sight”. Is it more about “attraction at first sight”. Love takes time to develop.

Some conflicts in Marriage can be seen as an attempt to put right experiences of the past. Childhood experiences (good, bad and indifference) do have a profound effect upon our beliefs about ourselves and our expectation of others. Most of us fail to appreciate that or take it into account when we run into difficulties in later life.

Nowhere is this amnesia truer, than when we are in the intimacy of a marriage relationship. Why does love so often fail? Could it be that many do not have a clear understanding of what love is; you do not know how to love; in many cases you have not made the commitment to love; you may have a misconception of love.

Many couples will say we are married but we are miserable. We just don’t love each other. Many will not openly admit that this is the way they feel. Yet, emotional disengagement is very apparent.

Many of our behaviour and responses to our partner is influenced by our own concept and misconception about love. Where does the misinformation come from? Each of us have a jumbled collection of impressions and ideas about love. Many date back to our earliest childhood and some have been absorbed from family practices and philosophies.

Just like our concept of a person such as God, will determine how we react to conversations about Him. If we see him as a wrathful or vengeful God, then all things God, must be avoided. So it is, the concept that we carry about love, will be shaping how we do love.

We may have faulty conclusions based on experience. Personal experience sometimes provides questionable or limited information so that we reach faulty conclusions, upon which we seek to build a lasting and loving relationship.

So also, if our view of love is distorted, our behaviour towards our partner will also be reflected through our actions. We may have flawed reasoning due to cultural influences, picked up from life growing up in family, the television, from the cinema, friends, magazines, novels, prevailing attitudes. We can underestimate how subtle and powerful can be the effects of those influences.

Before we can begin to reshape attitudes and restructure our approach to love, we must realise that what we believe about love right now (whether they be true of false) is doing three things:

  • It is affecting our Partnership/marriage.

  • It is shaping our behaviour and our responses to our partner.

  • It is helping to shape and determine our future happiness and emotional well-being.

  • It is setting up a template for the children.

Therefore, if we have/know the truth, then the truth will shape us and our concept of love, in a positive manner. If our view of love is based on a false premise, then it will cause misery and unhappiness at some stage in our relationships. Therefore, what you believe is of paramount importance. You must ensure that you believe what is the truth and not founded upon inaccurate knowledge that have become your template.

Each of the following principles can help us restore love to our marriage or enrich the love affair which we have with our spouse:

  • Love is always doing the very best for the object of one’s love. Love is a choice. You can choose not to love.

  • If you choose to love, it is a choice which must be backed up by action.

  • Love is not easy or simple. It is an art that must be learned and practiced.

  • Love is not a matter of simply doing what comes naturally. Love is costly. It is sacrificial.

  • If you do what comes naturally, almost all the time it will be wrong. Doing what comes naturally is what the world system tells us.

  • Love is not significantly different to learning and perfecting something to which we put our hands, such as learning a trade, music or anything else that requires discipline. We have to practice.

  • That sounds rather mechanical. It is, however, a fundamental truth which has to be realised, accepted and acted upon.

  • In order to master The Art of loving (the title of one of my books) and obtain the rewards, we have to learn the principles of building love into our marriage and practicing them on a daily basis.

  • Love is active and can be controlled by our own will. We are not helpless slaves to love. We can choose to love and therefore choose not to love.

  • It is not true that we are “prisoners to love”.

  • Love is the power that will produce more love as we learn to give rather than use a lot of effort to attract it.

What you think about love right now, will be controlling/determining your behaviour. If therefore you do not accept the principles set out above, then you have the bare minimum to build upon, as we look at rebuilding love. Only when you have right thinking, will it be converted into right actions to build and revitalise love.

What’s love got to do with it – indeed!

My Brain And Heart Divorced – John Roedel

my brain and heart divorced

a decade ago

over who was to blame about how big of a mess I have become eventually, they couldn’t be

in the same room with each other now my head and heart share custody of me I stay with my brain during the week and my heart gets me on weekends they never speak to one another

– instead, they give me the same note to pass to each other every week and their notes they send to one another always says the same thing: “This is all your fault” on Sundays my heart complains about how my head has let me down in the past and on Wednesday my head lists all of the times my heart has screwed things up for me in the future

they blame each other for the state of my life

there’s been a lot of yelling – and crying

so, lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my gut

who serves as my unofficial therapist

most nights, I sneak out of the window in my ribcage and slide down my spine and collapse on my gut’s plush leather chair that’s always open for me ~ and I just sit sit sit sit until the sun comes up last evening, my gut asked me if I was having a hard time being caught between my heart

and my head I nodded I said I didn’t know if I could live with either of them anymore “my heart is always sad about something that happened yesterday while my head is always worried about something that may happen tomorrow,” I lamented

my gut squeezed my hand

“I just can’t live with my mistakes of the past or my anxiety about the future,” I sighed

my gut smiled and said: “in that case, you should go stay with your lungs for a while,”

I was confused – the look on my face gave it away “if you are exhausted about your heart’s obsession with the fixed past and your mind’s focus on the uncertain future your lungs are the perfect place for you

there is no yesterday in your lungs there is no tomorrow there either

there is only now there is only inhale there is only exhale there is only this moment

there is only breath

and in that breath you can rest while your heart and head work their relationship out.” this morning, while my brain was busy reading tea leaves and while my heart was staring at old photographs

I packed a little bag and walked to the door of my lungs

before I could even knock she opened the door with a smile and as a gust of air embraced me she said

“what took you so long?” John Roedel

The art of loving book

The Art of Loving – Gary McFarlane

The Art of Loving A Book for singles, partners, marrieds and for those thinking of or preparing for marriage. If you want to refresh, revitalize, rekindle, refresh, resurrect your relationship; if you are about to enter a relationship or marriage; long time in a relationship or very very long term married or in a relationship, then this book is for you! It has the insights to improve and make even better, that which is already good! It is an educational book and at the same time provides self-help tools to help you in your current or future relationship – from an experienced Relationship Therapist, sex Therapist and sex Addiction Therapist. What do you do and what happens when your whole world – as you know it – comes toppling down?

Song of Solomon for lovers book

Song of Solomon for Lovers – Gary McFarlane

Sex goes wrong. It does not always work. It does not always click into place. The “No, No, No” and “don’t, don’t, don’t” before marriage, becomes “yes, yes, yes” after marriage, but so often and too often the “how, how, how” is missing from any guidance and pre-marriage preparation. Myths, misunderstandings, misinformation, misdirection and repeated practice, becomes entrenched and sex no longer holds the pleasure it once promised. Recapture it. Get it for the first time. Your enthusiasm that is! That sex can be great – when practiced in the context that God designed it and when His instruction manual is followed.

Gary is a Relate trained and experienced Relationship counsellor, Mediator and undertakes Sex Therapy & Sex Addiction treatment all of which are undertaken by various secure online modes including webcam such as zoom and Bilateralbase, with clients from all parts of the country and abroad. Gary has been working Online for some 11 years and holds a certificate in Online Therapy. He is also a member of the National Counselling Society, the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity (ATSAC) and an Accredited member of the Assoc of Christian Counsellors and is a member of stopSO. He also practices EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing). AI-EMDR, G-TEP, R-TEP and The Advanced Flash Technique, for Trauma/Complex Trauma and unprocessed issues from the past or current.

Gary has created what may be the world’s first comprehensive Online webinar Sex/porn/love addiction Video-on-Demand Recovery Programme, being used by many clients throughout the world.

He has launched a comprehensive Video-on-Demand Online Course (for Singles Pre-Married prep, Partnerships, Couples, Marrieds, long, long time Marrieds/Partners) bringing together his experience with hundreds of Singles and couples over 19 years and a few books written on the subjects, called The Art of Loving and Song of Solomon for lovers.

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Gary McFarlane Brainz Magazine

Gary McFarlane, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Gary McFarlane BA, LLM, Dip, Certs He is a very senior & experienced Relationship counsellor, Mediator and undertakes Sex Therapy & Sex Addiction treatment online via secure webcam with clients from all parts of the country and abroad. He also practices EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) for past trauma, anxiety, stress & various unresolved past or recent event issues. He has created the world’s first comprehensive Online webinar Sex/porn/love addiction Video-on-Demand Recovery Programme, being used by many clients throughout the world. In the next few months of 2023, he will launch the second of his Video-on-Demand Online Webinar programme for Singles, Pre-marrieds, Partners, Couples, Marrie



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