Romantic Relationships & Marriage

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Little Rock therapist Becky Whetstone offers a variety of services for couples wanting to improve relationships and marriages.

On this page …

New! See Becky’s 7-Step Plan for Marital Repair below
Half day and whole day therapy sessions for couples
Prices and information about marriage counseling

Is Marriage or Relationship Counseling for You?

When does a couple need relationship or marriage counseling? Here is a mini quiz to answer that question:

  1. Do I consider my relationship an equal partnership? Y N
  2. Does my spouse respect my point-of-view? Y N
  3. Do I describe my relationship as warm and loving? Y N
  4. Knowing everything I know now, would I marry my spouse again? Y N
  5. Have I considered, even momentarily, divorcing my spouse? Y N
  6. Do I stay in the marriage for reasons other than love, respect, and caring? Y N
  7. Do I feel safe sharing my dreams, hopes, and fears with my spouse? Y N
  8. Can both me and my spouse say that our relationship is our No. 1 priority? Y N

If you answered “NO” to even one question, then your relationship would more than likely benefit from marriage counseling. Marriage counseling is never a person’s favorite thing to do, because it means facing fears and working out plans and compromises, and of course, most of us would rather be doing something else. Marriage therapy means making an effort to make a relationship work, and most frightening of all, it means change.

The good news is that it’s worth it. Couples who were barely hanging on to their relationship manage to resuscitate it and begin a new and joyful life together. There are no easy fixes, but no one ever said having a life long relationship was going to be easy. The question is, can and will you make the effort and do the work necessary to bring life back into your relationship, or bring those qualities to the relationship for the first time?

Becky has found that some couples want guarantees that if they come to counseling, their problems will be solved, but unfortunately no marriage therapist can guarantee a couple that this will be the result.

“In each couple there are two individuals, and a therapist cannot control the motivation level of anyone,” says Becky. “I wish I could make every person want to work with all of his or her might to improve a marriage, but I can’t. In the end it’s up to the individuals in the marriage to take responsibility for their motivation and for doing the work to turn the marriage around.”

Becky offers a variety of methods for working with couples. A couple can come in for 55-minute sessions, but she often recommends they commit to longer sessions.

“Fifty-five minutes is often not long enough to get to the core issues that two people are presenting, and longer sessions give us the opportunity to get more work done over a shorter period of time,” says Becky. “Couples coming in the first time must complete our 2-hour intake assessment for that reason, though I highly recommend they come in for the longer half-day mini marathon* the first time if at all possible because of how much we can get done.”

Some couples feel that their marriage has reached a state of emergency and want immediate and drastic work to take place. For couples like this, Becky also suggests marriage therapy mini-marathons and marathons. A mini-marathon is four hours session (210 min. of therapy), and a marathon is seven hours (330 min. of therapy), including 15 minute breaks and a lunch break.

“It is amazing how much work can be done in the marathon,” says Becky. “We simply have the time to do interventions that otherwise we wouldn’t. Many couples have told me the marathon format gave them the time and attention that their relationship desperately needed.”

And while Becky knows that cost is usually a consideration for couples considering therapy, she encourages couples to look at it as an investment.

“How much would you be willing to pay to have a loving and fulfilling relationship with the person you are already married to?” she asks. “I tell couples to consider that compared to the cost of divorce or living miserably in a marriage, and they usually get it right away. One thing that amazes many therapists is how quickly a person will spend money for a vacation or luxury items, but how difficult it is for many to invest in improving their relationship. So, if you are unable to work things out on your own, this may be one of the best values you’ve ever encountered.”

NOTE FROM BECKY: Ask not what your marriage can do for you, ask what YOU can do for your marriage… I feel it necessary to tell couples that marriage therapy will most likely not be successful if a couple refuses to approach the process with a humble heart. A person with a humble heart approaches therapy with an attitude of “What I can I do to change?” rather than finger-pointing. It takes two to mess up a marriage, believe me, not just one, and I need two people who are willing to accept their own 100% of it. If you cannot gracefully accept constructive criticism and behavioral observations meant to help you, then please do not come in. Don’t worry, I am gentle and respectful throughout the process, BUT, my job is to nudge you toward emotional and relational health, and I need you to be open to that without taking the process personally. If you feel you are indeed too sensitive to look within, then come in by yourself and let’s do some work to heal those raw nerves. No doubt those same sensitive spots that make you dread therapy are the same ones that are hurting your relationship. See you soon, I hope!

Cost for couples counseling is as follows:

An initial 2-hour assessment is required, and costs $330.

After the 2-hour assessment, we typically schedule 55 minute sessions to follow:

A. 55-minute session  – $175

B. 90-minute session  – $275

C. 120-minute session  – $350

D. Best choice! 4 hour mini-marathon* Becky urges couples coming in for the first time to consider coming in for a full morning or afternoon. The reason is that we can make great progress during this time … and you essentially knock off four weeks of therapy in a short time and catapult your progress way ahead of the game. This intervention is also highly recommended for those in crisis, or those who feel stuck.

These half-day interventions are structured, with an itinerary of start, break, and stop times, though the content of what occurs during those structured time periods are tailored to each couple. Here is how the mini-marathons typically work:

Becky assesses the presenting issues in the first 90-minutes with the couple together, followed by two 30 to 45 minute session with each individual alone. The half-day of therapy ends with a couple’s session where Becky offers her insight about what is going on and suggests what interventions might be helpful. The couple and therapist then work together to discuss the possibilities and formulate a plan. (210 minutes therapy + short breaks).  $700.)
Note: One-half non-refundable deposit required to make an appointment (we clear an entire half-day for YOU!), plus credit card on file. 72-hour cancellation notice required to avoid being charged the full fee.

The Marital Marathon. Simply Amazing.

7-hour marital marathon (330 minutes therapy, also includes 45-minute lunch; 4/15 – minute breaks) – $1100.
Note: One-half non refundable deposit required to make an appointment, plus credit card on file. Due to the enormity of clearing an entire day for one couple, 5-day cancellation notice required to not be charged full fee.

Stuck? Frustrated? Need a marital breakthrough, or just want a day of deep sharing, growth, and emotional intimacy with your partner?

The Marital Marathon intervention may be an option for you.

Some couples need something big and powerful to “unstick” them from their “stuckness” (It may sound like I’m trying to be funny, but when it’s happened in your marriage, it’s not funny at all). When couples are stuck, all sorts of things may be going on, such as …

  • Do you argue? Feel attacked? Take things personally?
  • Is your style of ending an argument shutting down?
  • Has it gotten to the point that no one in the marriage feels safe to say what needs to be said?
  • Do you long for emotional intimacy but fail to connect?

If any of these apply to you, then this intervention may be an extremely proactive, hopeful and positive choice.

So, now that you know you may be stuck … why do this and not traditional weekly therapy? Traditional once-a-week marriage counseling is a great thing, and I do it all the time with couples, but if you feel your marriage needs a jump start, something important and done with emphasis, then that’s what the Marital Marathon was created for. Also, another reason to choose it is that some couples will admit that they aren’t good at sticking to things … so when there is so much to be done, one-hour sessions over months mean that change may arrive, but over time … and if for any reason you stop coming to your weekly sessions or lose motivation, all bets are off.

I created the Marital Marathon intervention because of the time constraint involved with weekly therapy and because sometimes an all-day boot camp atmosphere will inspire and revive marital health more than one hour a week on the treadmill. The idea and goal behind the 330 minutes of therapy is to have enough time together to dig deeper than we might ever have a chance to under different circumstances. In these situations you can bet we will be digging deeply.

Marriage Therapy and Individual Therapy

Managed Marital Separation (click here to read more about Managed Separation).

Many times a couple needs both couples therapy and individual therapy in order to heal their relationship. The same is also true with Managed Separation. In these cases, the individual rate of $175 for 55-minute individual or couples session applies.

In addition to these options, Dr. Becky offers a discount for advance payment for marital therapy.

Ten 55-minute sessions = $1650

Appointments for 55-minute, 120-minute, mini-marathons, and marathons are available M – F between 9 a.m. and (the last available appointment) is at 4 p.m. Call 501-590-9200 or e-mail by for more information or to make an appointment.

 

Becky’s 7-Step Plan for Marital Repair

For couples ready to dedicate themselves to intensive therapy with a decisive plan.

Dr. Becky has an intensive plan to revive your relationship.

Dr. Becky has an intensive plan to revive your relationship.

Some couples are ready to work hard and do all they can to undo the damage done during their relationship and find a new and different way of relating. Becky has realized a need to accommodate this and has come up with a decisive and intensive plan based on research-proven methods developed by world renown therapists while incorporating Becky’s own style and experience in the therapy setting.

“I am discovering that sometimes once a week talk therapy isn’t enough. There is so much for a couple to think about and understand, and I wondered what I could do to maximize what a couple gets out of each session and the therapy process as a whole,” she says. “So I sat down and created a step-by-step workbook full of information and exercises to accompany the in-office sessions. Going through the workbook and using it as a guide will ensure that the couple gets the understanding necessary for change to take place. It’s all by design and I’m very proud of it.”

To take part in this process the couple will come in for their first 90-minute session as usual. At the end of the session Becky will give each person the first section of the workbook. At the next session Becky and the couple will go over what each person wrote and we will process the information together in a safe atmosphere. Questions are answered and information clarified … and of course we relate it all to what is going on with the couple. The idea is that each step is worked until both individuals feel comfortable, and then we move to the next. Eventually couples complete the process and will literally graduate as people who have learned how to bring their walls down and create a solid and secure connection where deep communication and understanding is possible.

“The idea for the workbook and the therapeutic follow-up and mastery of stages makes sure that we don’t miss anything,” says Becky. “It all provides a check and balance way of making sure we go over each piece thoroughly. All along the way you have the workbook to study and to refer back to as you need it.”

“The 7-Step Plan for Marital Repair workbook, combined with therapy, will guide couples where they need to go based on their own stories and their own needs. If you and your partner can commit to this exciting new process, call Becky for an appointment at 501-590-9200 or email

 

The Marital Marathon

Stuck? Frustrated? Need a marital breakthrough, or just want a day of deep sharing, growth, and emotional intimacy with your partner?

The Marital Marathon intervention may be an option for you.

Some couples need something big and powerful to unstick them from their stuckness. (It may sound like I’m trying to be funny, but when it’s happened in your marriage, it’s not funny at all.) When couples are stuck, all sorts of things may be going on, such as …

  • Do you argue? Feel attacked? Take things personally?
  • Is your style of ending an argument shutting down?
  • Has it gotten to the point that no one in the marriage feels safe to say what needs to be said?
  • Do you long for emotional intimacy but fail to connect?

If any of these apply to you, then this intervention may be an extremely proactive, hopeful and positive choice.

So, now that you know you may be stuck … why do this and not traditional weekly therapy? Traditional once-a-week marriage counseling is a great thing, and I do it all the time with couples, but if you feel your marriage needs a jump start, something important and done with emphasis, then that’s what the Marital Marathon was created for. Also, another reason to choose it is that some couples will admit that they aren’t good at sticking to things … so when there is so much to be done, one-hour sessions over months mean that change may arrive, but over time … and if for any reason you stop coming to your weekly sessions or lose motivation, all bets are off.

I created the Marital Marathon intervention because of the time constraint involved with weekly therapy and because sometimes an all-day boot camp atmosphere will inspire and revive marital health more than one hour a week on the treadmill. The idea and goal behind the 330 minutes of therapy — all in one day with four 15-minute breaks and a lunch break — is to shake up a marriage that needs to be shaken up and create the space for a couple to get unstuck, reconnect, and find possibilities that beforehand might not have been imagined. In one-hour sessions there are things we could do, but don’t have time to do. As the therapist-in-charge, my goal is to take the time to achieve a breakthrough, if it is possible.

With that in mind, I designed an agenda to create possibilities. The couple and I start the day in session for 90 minutes, followed by two individual sessions so that I can get a feel for issues with the marriage as well as each person individually. After that, we break for lunch, and while you’re eating, I’m sketching out an intervention designed especially for your relationship. After lunch, the magic and possibilities begin with hands-on experiential interventions designed to create the maximum possibility for a breakthrough while also teaching crucial skills you will need to enrich your relationship. All you need to bring is an open mind and willingness to participate.

The last few minutes of the day are spent discussing what we need to do next. Sometimes couples feel they don’t need more therapy, while others begin a course of couples and/or individual work.

In the Marital Marathon intervention I have worked with couples who were on the brink of divorce and wanted one last chance to see if any good will and love could be found to save the relationship, and I’ve worked with couples who are committed, but say their relationship has gone stale. Whatever situation you find your relationship is in, if you sense a need for a shake up and reconnection, or want clarity about whether your marriage can be saved, then the Marital Marathon may be a great fit.

Cost and Details:

Hours:. Start at 9:00 a.m. and end at 4:00 p.m.
Cost: Marital Marathon is $1100. Regrettably, weekends no longer available.

Details: A credit card number and one-half down (non-refundable) payment is required to reserve the day, and a 5-day cancellation notice applies in order to not be charged the full fee. This is a great and powerful intervention and I look forward to working with you during this special time.

Beck-O-Wisdom:

For marriage to be successful, you have to have TWO WILLING partners. Is your partner as excited about the relationship as you are? If not, he may not be as WILLING as you are.

Hint: One Willing + One Less Willing = Potential Marital Disaster.

P.S. Whether or not your spouse is willing to get marriage counseling does not mean your situation is hopeless. Just one person in the couple who changes will change the entire relationship dynamic, and this often affects the marriage in a positive way.

 

What Predicts Divorce?

Click here to find out …

Like your body, it’s important to check the health of your marriage.

It’s important to check the temperature of your marriage because like many human illnesses, a marriage can be sick without either spouse being aware of it. Research shows that if your marriage IS sick, and maybe even on it’s way to dying, it can be cured and made healthy before it’s too late

You can check the temperature of your marriage based on the ACTIONS and BEHAVIORS of either the husband, wife, or both, OR your own thoughts.

  1. Healthy marriage temperature = 98.6 degrees F – Both partners feel contentment and satisfaction with the marriage.
    Signs and symptoms: Affection and mutual respect. The relationship is relatively easy.
  2.  Low grade fever marriage = 101 degrees F. An “Uh oh!” moment is experienced and disillusionment begins. Something has been seen or observed that one or both partners is not comfortable with.
    Signs and Symptoms:
    Outwardly difficult to detect because partners tend to keep the first feelings of discontentment a secret. Inwardly, you know you have it if you are feeling discomfort in your marriage. Detailed Explanation: At some point, a partner says to him or herself, “Uh oh,  I don’t think I like what I am seeing here.” The husband or wife will not say anything, but will observe critically to see if it is a passing thing, or a real concern. The discomfort could have to do with ANYTHING, big or small, or a variety of things having to do with beliefs, lifestyle, and character. My clients have told me things like: 

    • I began to notice that he was a wimp.
    • She got a dog and I can’t stand dogs in the house.
    • She is a hopeless slob.
    • He teased me in a mean spirited-way.
    • He smelled and wouldn’t take showers.
    • He was a cheapskate.
    • She hid things from me.
    • He acted nice when we were together, and treated me horribly in front of his friends.
  3. Medium grade fever = 103 degrees F. Relationship is eroding. The husband or wife is now definitely disillusioned about the person he or she is married to, and spends much time observing and making note of incompatibilities in his/her spouse.
    Signs and symptoms: PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE negative behavior such as snide remarks, refusal to cooperate, lack of attention or enthusiasm, disregard, and/or increased activities outside the home that do not include the spouse. NOTE: Get this couple to the marital ER!! THE MARRIAGE MUST BE RESCUED AT THIS POINT, BECAUSE IF THE RELATIONSHIP GETS A HIGH GRADE FEVER, IT IS EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO TURN AROUND!
  4. High grade fever = 105 degrees F. The marriage is in grave condition. Detachment sets in as the unhappy spouse imagines and fantasizes about life without his partner, and occasionally play acts as a single person. Signs and symptoms: Open disdain and complete disregard for spouse’s wishes and desires, may say or do unpleasant things in front of friends or family; taking up new activities that don’t include spouse OR increasing time away from spouse. May be preparing for future alone by going back to school or going back to work. It is highly likely that the spouse is considering the possibility of divorce, but may choose to stay in this high fever state indefinitely. Explanation: If you’ve got a high grade marital fever, you want out of the marriage, but may stay because of things like:
    • Financial reasons: Can’t support self, or don’t want to split assets.
    • Afraid to be alone.
    • Religion forbids it.
    • Social pressure – fear of losing friends or social status.
    • Guilt. Worry about spouse or children.
    • Fear of what spouse will do.

 

Think (or fear) your marriage has reached the end of the line?
Before you pull the plug, read about Managed Separation by clicking here.