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nextTalk contains content of a mature nature.
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You and your spouse are at the point where a divorce is on the table. So today we’ve invited Annie Byers of the Vine Wellness Group to walk us through the next steps. Now, annie, I left off all of your titles because they’re long, but they’re important, so I wanted you to explain it for us.
0:00:49 – Speaker 4
Well, thank you for having me here today, Absolutely absolutely. So I’m an LPC and an LMFT, so what that means is I’m a licensed professional counselor and a licensed marriage and family therapist. So the populations that I typically see are ages 12 and up. So I love my adolescence and I specialize in marriage, couples and family.
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And tell us about your personal life.
0:01:10 – Speaker 4
So I’ve got, I am married, married your mom too.
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Yes, all that good stuff, all three kids.
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Two teens at home, one still in elementary school and married for 20 years. Celebrating the same as you, mandy.
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Awesome Congratulations, thank you. You’re in the thick of it, though, with us. Kids and teens and phones and counseling and all the stuff. That’s why we love you.
0:01:35 – Speaker 1
Do you remember that lady that said right about this age? I think it was a lady. Someone in our world was saying that divorce like skyrocket.
0:01:44 – Speaker 2
It was an OB and yes, yes, and he said in my practice it was a he Close enough.
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He said in the forties you’ve got teens growing up. They’re going through puberty and hormones and all the stuff Mom is sometimes going through the hormonal stuff, correct. Sometimes dad’s having the midlife crisis and he’s like I see so many divorces in the forties, yes, and so I’m glad you bought that up, because that’s what the show is about today.
0:02:13 – Speaker 1
Well, exactly, I’m thinking there’s a lot of people that maybe never imagined divorce would be on the table. Or maybe one wants to throw in the towel, maybe one feels like you know, I just don’t want to have anything to do.
0:02:24 – Speaker 4
I can’t do it in different places.
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Yes, or maybe both, feel like this is our last ditch effort. You know, I don’t know what to do. They walk in your office. We want you to share with us today, like how can you offer support and hope?
0:02:36 – Speaker 4
Sure, I think there’s always going to be hope for everyone. Now I do a thorough assessment, of course, of each couple to make sure that we’re looking at with accuracy of what’s really going on in the relationship. So we are assessing for abuse and things like that. Good, so that may be a different story than what we may be talking about today. Yes, but generally speaking, I’m pro marriage. You know, I go into the room where I’m going to do whatever I can with the skills that I have to help and walk beside them. If they’re going to show up wanting to do the work, I’m there with them.
0:03:10 – Speaker 2
I think that’s the key though wanting to do the work because it’s hard, it’s very hard. I mean, life is hard and every marriage there’s struggles, Like everyone. Yes, and so showing up and not wanting to just quit is because I kind of want to quit at life sometimes, you know, and like pull my head over the cover, just in general.
Just in general when it gets tough, and especially to when you know you are betrayed by your spouse or they really hurt you or whatever. You’re just, you’re done, and so I love, though, that you say you know you want to save them. I would just add in there you know God can restore any relationship. Yeah, he can, and although what you said to it is abuse is different.
0:03:49 – Speaker 4
We’re taking it off the table. Different context.
0:03:52 – Speaker 2
That’s a different context today. But you know, even the most broken of relationships God can restore, and we’ve seen that with parents and teens, We’ve seen that with marriages. I mean, God can restore them, but we often have to make a term.
0:04:06 – Speaker 4
Yes, and there’s different kinds of couples, kim, as you said, that you know, coming in, you may have both that are on board with counseling and really committed, and that’s ideal. When those couples come in and we assess and they’re both highly committed and really ready to do the work, that’s fantastic. But not all couples come in that way. Actually, majority come in in other ways. There’s going to be the couples that one is really committed and the other one is kind of checked out already and whether that’s mentally or physically, and then we have the other couples that come in last ditch effort, as you said. It’s really kind of coming in as kind of well, what can we do? We’re exhausted. What can we do? I’m not sure if we really want this. I don’t know what it takes and they’re all challenging, but still still hope.
0:04:53 – Speaker 1
A couple of keywords that you’ve said. First, pro marriage, which, when you’re looking for a counselor, that’s key. I have a friend that went through marriage counseling and their counselor was like well, yeah, it’s hard, Maybe it’s time to move on. You need someone that’s going to be in the fight with you. If you’re willing to work hard, then you need someone alongside you.
So someone that’s for marriage and that there’s always hope, like you said, mandy, obviously. But you know the bigger picture here, with people coming in and getting help. That’s the first step, taking that stigma. Nobody is born with a toolkit on how to have a happy, successful, good marriage. We’re just not. It’s just like everything else. We have to learn how to do that well. And if you’re at that point where you just feel like you know what you said, like we don’t know what to do, like what? Now we’re tired, that’s the time. Go get help, go get some tools and resources.
0:05:43 – Speaker 4
That’s right and the average couple waits an average of six years. Wow, the time they’ve been having issues Now that’s average. Wow. So oftentimes I will see clients coming in. They’ve been married 20 years, like you and I walking in, never been to a counselor, never had any outside help before, and they’ve been dealing with the same dynamics and patterns since they were first married. I bet that’s more normal than not.
It is more normal and that’s what I also normalize a lot of what. Here’s what the average couple deals with. You’re not alone in this, and there’s ways that we can work with it.
0:06:18 – Speaker 2
So if they waited that long, I mean, how much harder is it to get back to where a healthy marriage yes, I mean that’s. I think we need to kind of, we have to check, we have to come out here for a minute.
0:06:28 – Speaker 4
Yeah, it’s. I think it’s important to know that the couples that come in when they’re when they’re really, they’re both on board and they’re ready to do the work. Of course, like I said, that’s ideal. The ones that come in and they’re, like you know, just defeated and out of energy, and there they’re coming in in different places, even if they’ve both been married 20 years, so, but I think the longer we wait, it feels more like Mount Everest versus like strolling the whole country.
0:06:55 – Speaker 2
Yes, we can get that with everything Like yeah, thank you.
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Honestly, it is like Mount.
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Everest when you wait a week right.
0:07:04 – Speaker 4
So I do it’s very overwhelming.
0:07:06 – Speaker 1
Yes, I do a load of laundry every morning and if we go do something and we miss one, I’m like oh my goodness, Now what it’s like.
0:07:12 – Speaker 4
I might not even do laundry If we just ignore something over time and we just go, oh it’ll happen or we’ll get to it. And then all of a sudden, years later and we’re going nothing’s changed. Or look at this mountain that it’s built like my very yes.
0:07:27 – Speaker 1
I understand completely Too many donuts my size.
0:07:32 – Speaker 4
Here you come to bring it in, rain it in.
0:07:35 – Speaker 2
So funny. You know, I have a thing in my book on the marriage chapter about the pulled thread in a sweater, a knitted sweater, you know, and if you it goes unnoticed, like if you just leave it alone before long it will be a gaping hole.
That’s kind of what we’re talking about here. Yes, and I have found myself, you know, when my husband does irritating things or like I get hurt, like he says something hurtful or whatever, you know, I have found myself ignoring it and I’ll bury it and bury it, and bury it and then I’ll explode in other ways. So what I’ve been trying to do is, when I get irritated with him or I feel like I have to, I think of that sweater and I’m like I’ve got to get this thread under control now and not tied, so that this doesn’t get bigger. You know, it’s good call and we actually just got back from vacation and you know, on vacation you don’t want to have the big talks.
No but, he said something one day it interested me.
0:08:28 – Speaker 4
He took it the heck out of me and I had to pull him aside.
0:08:31 – Speaker 2
I was like we got to talk and he’s like we are on vacation. I’m like we are working through this right now.
0:08:34 – Speaker 4
We can’t let it go. We have on this story on vacation. We don’t have time, we’re doing it, we’ve got some time.
0:08:40 – Speaker 2
And I think it all boiled down to he was angry. You know, in that way, okay, I can give you some grace, because I say mean things all the time when I’m angry. I just needed to get it worked out, you had to clarify and put it away, and so I would.
I guess I’m just want to encourage couples Don’t let it go Right, and if you try and talk it out with your spouse and you can’t resolve it with each other, see a counselor. That doesn’t mean your marriage is in trouble. That means you’re being proactive and preventative, because you don’t want the gaping hole. You don’t want Mount Everest in six years and so and I think we’re really passionate about the preventative piece here at nextTalk, which is why I kind of am fired up about it I think this is a good point.
0:09:21 – Speaker 4
It is Well. And then we look at you know, the earlier you can deal with it, the more it’s a skill based problem. Yes, and before we turn into a heart based, I love that. That’s good.
0:09:30 – Speaker 5
That should help hold them.
0:09:31 – Speaker 4
Because, the longer it goes on, the more it turns into pain and you know unresolved issues, your heart heartings, and there’s a lot of repair that has to happen then. So then we have different kind of work to do versus skill building.
0:09:45 – Speaker 2
I love that. That is really good.
0:09:47 – Speaker 1
Well, I think about. So my husband and I come from long lines of divorce. Yeah, Really long lines of divorce no mentors in our family. So we had to seek that out actively and I think there’s a lot of couples like that, even if they didn’t come from long lines of divorce, unhealthy marriages, no one to look at, and so you’re going into this huge union of two different worlds. Like, what do you do? So getting a skill set should really be kind of a number one on a to-do list.
0:10:16 – Speaker 4
That’s what I hope for for every couple that’s getting married is doing premarital counseling. That goes into really assessing those skills and where you’re coming from what you’re bringing in, and not every couple, of course, goes to that extent. Sometimes it’s one session, sometimes it’s none, sometimes they do a great premarital, so those can really set the tone and foundation for some of that preventative stuff Well, in premarital counseling wasn’t really a thing.
0:10:40 – Speaker 1
No, it’s growing now it’s growing, yeah, and it’s becoming more of a thing. So there’s a lot of couples, 20 years in 25 years in that never got that skill set learning. Crazy. Well, you know a lot of this. What you’ve said, manny, and what you have said, annie, boils out of humility, which is just a hard word even to say sometimes it’s hard and accountability, another one. That’s like comes through your teeth like accountability, but I bet those are big things in this whole process.
0:11:09 – Speaker 4
They’re, they’re, it’s imperative. So anyone that walks in a counseling room in general you know, even for personal growth individually.
0:11:17 – Speaker 2
we’re looking at accountability and to and to even get people there is humility, sometimes Like for me it’s not a big deal to see a counselor. I’m not bringing it on. I need a counselor. Sometimes we fall.
0:11:31 – Speaker 1
That’s accountability right there, love you.
0:11:34 – Speaker 2
But for some people, the stigma of just walking in the room, it’s a pride thing. Yes, I don’t need help, yes, and so they have to humble themselves to say I need some outside help here to get me the skills.
0:11:46 – Speaker 4
Yeah, and sometimes we have we kind of fall to get there and we’re kind of flat on our face going now what and this? It can bring us to that point of accountability and humility. And then effort, effort is one of those things. If you can show up to every session with the greatest of direction in front of you and it could be a pastor, a licensed counselor, a teacher, it could be anybody but if you, if you’re not willing to put in the effort that it takes to to climb that, climb that mountain or hill, then you know success may not be as much. It’s like losing weight, it’s like there’s no magic hill.
0:12:20 – Speaker 2
You got to do the hard work Practicing an instrument.
0:12:22 – Speaker 4
Yeah, I mean learning a new skill.
0:12:24 – Speaker 2
Getting over an addiction, anything, I mean it’s it’s going to take effort on your part, correct. And I think that’s where you know when, the when the task seems so high, like Mount Everest, where we can find a rest and peace and Jesus, you know, in saying that I can do all things through he who gives me strength, because it seems overwhelming, it seems like that’s right. Yeah, you can’t do it on your own. It’s scary and really we can’t do it on our own, and I think that’s where the faith in God is huge.
0:12:51 – Speaker 1
Yeah, that’s an effusion for two, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love. I just I think about that a lot in my own marriage because sometimes I do not have all humility and patience.
I don’t bear with my husband in love and I know that that becomes like the, the surface point, the beginning point for our conversations. If I can come from that place, if I can pour into the word and ask the Lord to be my strength, then he can do that for me, Because a lot of times I I’m just, I wouldn’t be there by myself.
0:13:21 – Speaker 4
Yes, I need a little bit of help.
0:13:24 – Speaker 1
Yes, so that gives us that hope.
0:13:27 – Speaker 2
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0:13:55 – Speaker 3
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0:14:21 – Speaker 2
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0:14:27 – Speaker 1
Today we have I’m going to try to get this right LPC and LMFT anti-virus with us, because we’re talking about divorce. We got to bring in the big guns because it’s a big issue and we want to address it. If you’re in that place where it’s on the table, maybe you’re considering divorce, maybe it’s a last-ditch effort or one of you is like I’m done. We want to give you some hope and direction with Annie today. Thanks for being with us again.
0:14:53 – Speaker 4
Thank you for having me, because this is a topic that I’m talking about a lot these days is contemplation of divorce or separation because, like you said, couples come in in different places and so, yeah, when one comes in and says I am so committed and I’m going to, I want to save this marriage, and the other one kind of looks at you with deer in the headlights, then we know we’re in different places. You know.
0:15:16 – Speaker 1
I’m glad you said that, because there’s a new kind of therapy or a new process, yes, called discernment counseling. Now explain what that is, because this would be perfect in that scenario.
0:15:27 – Speaker 4
It’s something it’s a wonderful thing that we have, that’s been growing in our field. It’s called discernment counseling and it’s something that is not therapy. So you are right in saying it’s a process. It’s very much a structured approach for those couples. The ideal couple is those where one is in and committed and one is really stepping out. Already they don’t really know what they want to do and so this process helps bring them to the table. It’s more of a decision making type of a counseling. So it’s very short term it’s no longer than four to six sessions and it’s focused on the goals, are focused on confidence and clarity in that decision to move forward.
0:16:06 – Speaker 2
So, whatever that decision may be and I guess there are different paths you can take but it is basically a decision making process to make sure closure is had in everything. So what are the? What are the three?
0:16:19 – Speaker 4
So there’s three pathways. Yeah, there’s going to be three from the very beginning. The first part when we sit down, we’re talking about the three choices that are in front of us, which is staying status quo, which is everything that’s going on right now. Maybe you guys decide that you just want to press pause and just live life right now because, for whatever reason, can’t put forth the effort or can’t go through a divorce timing or. The next one would be let’s pursue divorce. And then the third one is reconciliation.
0:16:50 – Speaker 2
Now, how effective do you see? Do you have statistics for us on who chooses what pathway? Like what are we?
0:16:56 – Speaker 4
seeing with this. So here’s the fascinating things when we’re looking at this is that thankfully we’ve been, it’s been out long enough to have some studies and it’s showing that it’s saving marriages that wouldn’t, that would have otherwise have been divorced Amazing. And so when we’re looking at who’s referring couples right, so I’ll just kind of start there we have judges, we have family law attorneys, we have other counselors in the field that may not do discernment but recognize these couples and guide them towards discernment. So we have a lot of people referring couples are now even in the know about it themselves, so they’re seeking discernment counseling.
0:17:35 – Speaker 2
So you you have couples sometimes come in your office and say I want discernment counseling.
0:17:39 – Speaker 4
We get the phone. This is because we have that on our website and there’s a national database as well for those looking for it.
0:17:46 – Speaker 1
One of the words that you said. Well, the word that you said that just is like a red light in my brain not in a negative way, in a good way is clarity. That is like a key word for my husband. So I’m just like, oh, clarity, yeah, we’re realizing in our own marriage and our parenting that.
One of the things missing a lot is clarity. Correct that we’re not necessarily on two ends of the spectrum on an issue. We just need to clarify what the other person is saying. So I can see how that would be incredible when you have a huge and they’re thinking this is you know it’s like a miscommunication, a lot of they need clarity. So before I jump into counseling, which can get muddy and emotional very quickly, very quickly yes you. You offer a process of bringing clarity which is incredible. This is so smart.
0:18:34 – Speaker 4
It’s wonderful and it really does. We go back to that word, accountability too. It brings the specific question and outline that we take them through. We do it together, portions of it we do together, all in the same room, and then I do separate with each spouse so that I get a chance to really assess and find out what their version of the story is and see where their accountability is in the breakdown, which oftentimes is really hard to come by when we’re stuck in blame.
0:19:03 – Speaker 1
Yes, and don’t you do most of this separate.
0:19:06 – Speaker 4
There are a lot of it is done separate and then we come back together and they share with each other what they’ve learned from those individuals.
So there is still an assessment of what are the hard and soft reasons for divorce. So we kind of separate it in the like is there addiction, is there infidelity, is there abuse? You know, we look at those things as well, which is still important. But then we looked at. We look at the other things that contribute as well, like communication breakdowns, what are the patterns, what are the behaviors that are contributing to this, and then we look at what is it that each of you are doing?
So sometimes this might be the first time that the spouse is hearing the other, that the partner’s accountability and humility of saying, okay, I have done some of these things, I have contributed to it. Wow, and to hear that just you can see someone melt, yeah, the healing Of, like, I’ve been waiting so long to hear it. So it’s, it’s starting that process and and really it is about it’s finding the clarity to make sure that what they’re doing is what they really want to be doing. Because how many attorneys tell us, like they can see sitting there talking to their client that they’re not really ready for the divorce yet? So then they’re referring them to discernment counseling.
0:20:20 – Speaker 2
So say you have a couple that comes in and they’re they’re going through discernment counseling and they’re like we’re going to turn things around, like what happens after discernment counseling. Then do they go into actual counseling where they’re like, because at that point though they have so much clarity, they’re probably ready to put in the work. Right, there’s a little bit of.
0:20:37 – Speaker 4
There’s sometimes that light at the end of the tunnel tunnel. So it goes back to finding hope. So most of these couples come in without the hope and oftentimes I’ll say, you know, I’m the one that kind of hold your hope until we find the place where you can have hope yourself. You know that’s kind of walking beside them. But yes, they are they. They see, if they get to that point where they decide reconciliation which you were asking about statistics it’s about, I believe it’s about 47% choose reconciliation path, wow, that’s incredible. Yes. And so then they followed those couples for a year and they said about 40, about 45% of those couples ended up still in reconciliation. So you know, I’ll take it that’s bigger than people are families.
0:21:18 – Speaker 2
Yes, you know, I was talking to someone a couple years ago and she had gone through a divorce and then married again and her and her new husband were going through counseling because to work through some issues and baggage and that kind of thing right. And she said to me you know, I love my new husband and I’m not questioning God. You know I was supposed to be here but she said, had I known that a marriage just takes this much work, I probably should have just put it into my first marriage. I didn’t give it the time of day. That’s powerful. And when she said that to me I just kind of stopped it because she lived it. You know I haven’t lived through a divorce of my own and when she said it I just thought, wow, what a person Objective that. I think sometimes the world makes everything seem so simple, like parenting should be easy and marriage should be easy. It’s not people.
It’s hard work if you’re doing it right, I feel like I’m climbing a mountain every day.
0:22:09 – Speaker 4
Yes, but that’s life and that’s not uncommon to hear that story. Yeah with as many remarriages and second, third marriages where at some point somebody realizes they needed to do the work and, for whatever reason, they didn’t do it before and. Realizing how difficult it is to do the work, either solo by themselves the personal growth stuff or together with their with Within the new relationship that they’re in.
0:22:36 – Speaker 1
That’s what I was thinking about with the personal growth stuff. With that clarity, yeah, I bet. So much is defined and exposed that part. Because when you have that chance because I think so much Couples look at it as it’s our marriage. You know, tim, it’s her, it’s us together the bling yes, when probably so much of it is something that you need to work through on your own, that adds to.
0:22:58 – Speaker 4
We all have our individual issues, you know and I think there is something that we had posted on Facebook at some point that was said. You know, marriage is one of those things that Brings to light issues we never knew we had, yes, something to that effect.
Yes, and I thought everybody that read that was like oh amen, because we can say oh, I don’t have these issues with anyone else, but I do in my marriage. Well, the marriage is a different context. Yeah, it’s a different relationship and you’re gonna have different issues one thing that I’ve started doing my husband.
0:23:27 – Speaker 2
You know we’ll work through an issue, like on the vacation thing or whatever, just something hard. You know that I’m like you’ve done this for 20 years and it really bothers me. Can we talk about that? Like, where did you pick that up from? You know it’s the same with me now. That’s the kind of relationship we finally have, but it took a lot of work to get there. But at the end of the conversation and that conversation may take a week or two weeks depending on going through right, yeah, or ongoing, because we’re picking it back up again and the patterns in the cycles but one thing we’ve started doing to each other is we’ll look at each other at the end of a really difficult thing and we’ll be like this is healthy, you know, like, even though it’s hard, it feels awesome Because you’re like man, I’m breaking a cycle or I’m changing for the better, and just reminding yourself that this is healthy. It’s healthy to do hard work and to like struggle and get in there and fight for your marriage.
0:24:16 – Speaker 4
That’s right and, mandy, you had asked you know what happens after they decide reconciliation. There’s a switch that happens so you go from their discernment. Counseling is no longer needed, they’ve made a decision, and then we switch to go into marriage counseling and the approach I use for couples in this category is Restoration therapy. It’s it’s a beautiful kind of combination of have finding that clarity in that that beginning portion and then restoration therapy helps the couple to identify their pain cycle that they’ve been in, because we each have our own pain cycle and then we have both pain cycles come together and create another pain cycle and you’re just in it forever Until we do something different.
And so, then, we help to identify what their peace cycle can be and learn how to communicate differently, like what you’re describing, mandy, with your own marriage.
0:25:05 – Speaker 1
0:25:07 – Speaker 4
It is been so great.
0:25:08 – Speaker 1
This is so helpful and I know that there are couples or people listening saying, yes, this is just what I needed to hear. So how can people find you if they’re looking for any of these?
0:25:17 – Speaker 4
Sure. Our website is the vine wellness comm. Teve I in e. You can contact us through there or our phone numbers to 1 0 4 9 0 4 4 1 9. We can get you connected, thank you so? Much, you’re welcome. Thanks for having me.
0:25:34 – Speaker 3
Thanks for joining us on nextTalk. Radio with Mandy and Kim on am 6 30 the word. You are not alone trying to figure out how to parent in this digital world. We are here with practical solutions to help you. Follow us on Facebook, instagram and Twitter. Find our video series and podcast at nextTalk. Or are you ready for the nextTalk?
0:26:00 – Speaker 5
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