A Red Deer author who works with husbands and wives on relationship issues is looking for successful couples to speak to for her upcoming book.
Debra Macleod is a relationship expert on Global TV and Virgin Radio in Calgary, who has contributed to the New York Times, Cosmopolitan and Esquire. She has written a variety of books with her husband of 10 years Don, focusing on intimacy issues.
Macleod’s upcoming — as yet untitled — book will look at marriage mediation, but also show people examples of good marriages and what makes them work.
She said she has seen a few qualities already that stand out in good marriages.
“I see a sense of teamwork, not just in what they are doing in their actions, but what they say even. They always have a ‘We’ approach and there is that sense of permanence,” Macleod said.
“I also see it in demeanor. Body language is huge…The way they sit. Even if they are having a heated discussion they will still in the middle of it crack a joke. They still have that security and that comfort level. They are in tune with each other and there is this sense that this is getting carried away and we need to diffuse it.”
She said younger couples can be self-centred, stubborn and short-sighted. She said people speak of “starter marriages” and giving vows of “as long as we both shall love” instead of “as long as we both shall live.”
People will say they are “drifting apart,” “falling out of love” or “not compatible,” but Macleod said there will be ups and downs in all marriages. She wants to speak to couples who have found ways to get through the good and the bad to have long-lasting happy relationships.
However, Macleod admits there are marriage issues that are difficult to resolve, among them when there is a trust or infidelity issue, when couples are constantly fighting and thrive on the drama or when they just don’t seem to care and answer every question with a shoulder shrug.
“You can’t have a marriage with a shoulder shrug,” she said.
Macleod, who was trained as a lawyer, started writing books for couples while staying home to look after her son.
Three years ago she started using marriage mediation to help couples using skills she had learned while studying law and conflict resolution.
She said the idea comes from mediation done when couples are divorcing.
The idea was to have couple’s go through marriage mediation while still in the relationship to resolve issues so the marriage doesn’t break down in the first place. The method has become increasingly popular in the United States in recent years. Macleod charges $200 an hour for her services as a marriage mediator and she said often couples only need one to three sessions to resolve the conflict.
Marriage mediation is different than counselling, which focuses on each individuals’ needs. Macleod said in marriage mediation she attempts to bring a couple out of the conflict as quickly as possible and move them towards what their common interests are. She said a couple may fight about the husband buying a big screen TV, but it is important to get to the real issue, which may be that the wife is worried about money.
To find out more about Macleod’s marriage mediation go to www.marriagesos.com.