Inexpensive marriage counseling or self-help book suggestions?
November 12, 2008 7:55 AM   Subscribe

Inexpensive marriage counseling or self-help book suggestions?

My wife and I have married a little over 2 years and we’ve been having an increasing number of fights and disagreements. Both of us want to change this but we can’t seem to keep ourselves from getting into a yelling match at least once or twice a week. We’ve decided we need professional help but we don’t have a lot of money to spend on therapy or counseling. Do you have suggestions for cheap or free therapy in Toronto? I’m also curious about books or other inexpensive purchases or practices that might help. Thanks!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (16 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I'd start with The Five Love Languages.
posted by purplecurlygirl at 8:04 AM on November 12, 2008 [3 favorites]

2nding purplecurlygirl.
posted by desjardins at 8:15 AM on November 12, 2008

Perhaps something like the $10/session therapy at the Toronto Institute for Relational Psycotherapy (conducted by their students but supervised by more experienced therapists)? Espiritedu seems to offer something similar. You could also see if the Centre for Training in Psychotherapy offers these kinds of services.
posted by shivohum at 8:16 AM on November 12, 2008

nthing purplecurlygirl on The Five Love Languages. It's an awesome concept with a stupid name. :) Applying that to my marriage has made hugehugehuge differences.
posted by DWRoelands at 8:27 AM on November 12, 2008

Nthing The Five Love Languages. Also consider works by John Gottman. Don't forget to get these used ( or something), or check them out from the library.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 8:31 AM on November 12, 2008

Getting the Love You Want is excellent.
posted by jon1270 at 8:36 AM on November 12, 2008

The Five Love Languages for sure. Also, check out any mental health benefits through your insurance. It might be more attainable than you think.
posted by ml98tu at 9:04 AM on November 12, 2008

I'm a big fan of Aaron Beck's "Love Is Never Enough." It can really help you figure out what the dynamics are that are driving your conflicts. Maybe a little academic, but worth the read. I say this as a husband and as clergyman with some pastoral marriage counseling experience.

Also, student counseling is a good suggestion. You can sometimes get some excellent help at very low cost.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:44 AM on November 12, 2008

John M. Gottman is a researcher at the University of Washington. He has written several books that I would highly recommend. Also he and his wife do workshops which are very expensive (and usually in Seattle), but you can buy a dvd version of the workshop and do it at home. The ideas are simple but true and valuable. You can find his books on Amazon. Best of luck to you and your wife!
posted by I_drew_an_angelfish at 10:53 AM on November 12, 2008

The two relationship books I recommend the most are:

Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch
Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Sue Johnson
posted by velvet winter at 11:17 AM on November 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

The clergy are often available and skilled at this sort of thing if you belong to a church/synagogue/temple/etc.
posted by mmascolino at 11:44 AM on November 12, 2008

Years ago my spouse and I attended marriage counseling. One exercise we were asked to do was to read a book on parenting aloud together, taking turns. I believe the premise was working a shared activity on a topic we were both invested in. It worked well for us so maybe you can try it with whatever marriage book you ultimately choose.
posted by Breav at 11:46 AM on November 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've recommended it a million times, so I might as well make it a million and one: How to Be an Adult in Relationships. It made a massive difference for me in terms of what I expect from a parnter and -- more importantly, in a way -- what I expect from myself in a relationship.
posted by scody at 11:53 AM on November 12, 2008

First, get a library card. There are so many books on the subject that getting to read them for free will save you a ton of money.

Telling Each Other the Truth is an excellent book about communication in marriage and other relationships. It has some religious/christian content, but the principals don't rely on that to work. (Also, the companion Telling Yourself the Truth was a life-changer for me.)

Also, your experience is normal. The best thing you can do is realize that it is common to everyone, and don't panic yourself into thinking everything is falling apart. The honeymoon is over, and it takes a lot of work to make a relationship work.

Good luck.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 12:33 PM on November 12, 2008

Divorce Busting is an excellent resource. Also, you may be interested in the article on the author's website which opines that increased fighting at this stage of your marriage is surmountable - even normal.

Best of luck.
posted by AV at 4:08 PM on November 12, 2008

The Marriage Thermometer Has a great package including counseling for under $10 google them. Also if you could get the book "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex" should help too.
posted by jamaican at 9:53 AM on February 3, 2009

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