Marriage Quest, Israel and Cathie Helfand, Cabot Vermont, 802-563-3063

Divorce Decision and Counseling
Recovering from Infidelity
Detecting and Surviving an Emotional Affair
Conquering a Mid-Life Crisis
When Your Children Leave Home
Addressing Sexual Concerns
Emotional Intimacy and Physical Intimacy
Emotional Trauma
Premarital Counseling for Second Marriages too
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Pre-Marital Retreats

Great for Second Marriages too

Some of the most rewarding work we do is helping a couple who are planning on getting married. "An ounce of prevention" is truly worth a pound of cure!

These couples are sometimes coerced into coming to us by a parent, who may even pay for the retreat... concerned parents who understand the challenges of marriage. In fact after 25+ years of doing marriage counseling and sex therapy, we have worked with some children of our couples from the past. These couples understand the wisdom of pre-marital education and give this as an engagement present to the young couple.

An Engagement Present

Parents who have divorced during their children's childhood find pre-marital work particularly important. They hope that their beloved "child" and fiancé will have better success than they had with their marriage relationships. The childen of divorced parents run a high risk of repeating their parents' behavior. Parents who know this hope that the next generation will learn to build healthy understanding and useful strategies to assure marital success, and therefore break the dysfunctional family patterns.

"Brave" and "smart" are two adjectives that come to mind when we think of the pre-marital couples that have worked with us. They are brave because they are willing to take a risk and challenge the conventional practices that focus only on the "rosy" picture of engagement and marriage. They are willing to look at the bigger picture of compatibility, skill building and ego strength. They are smart because they know that strong marriages are not just a matter of chance, but it takes initiative, action and hard work. They want to understand their emotions, just as they understand their finances and their career paths.

Get it Right the First Time

As marriage counselors and sex therapists we have heard countless times from stressed couples, "Our honeymoon ended when we got married." Luckier couples will say, "Our honeymoon ended when we had children." We believe that pre-marital work would have made a big difference for these couples. Helping them to understand what is to be expected realistically would have been extremely valuable. Teaching them how to succeed in their relationship together would have been priceless. Helping them after the problems have grown and their bad habits have formed is much more difficult than preventing the issues in the first place. Couples doing pre-marital work must be willing to take off their rose-colored glasses for a period of time; long enough to ask some challenging questions like:

  • Do you know why second marriages have a higher incidence of divorce than first marriages?
  • What is the significance of "seven" in the infamous "seven year itch"?
  • Which is more important in long term marital satisfaction for most couples: being friends or being lovers?
  • When is love an aphrodisiac... and when does it get in the way?
  • What are the prognostic indicators of marital happiness?

These are just a few of the questions that we address in our pre-marital retreat.

In addition, couples learn about:

  • Team building
  • Communication skills
  • Fair fighting and problem solving
  • Individual well-being
  • Control of anger and outbursts
  • Moderation of excesses in work, partying, eating, exercise, etc.
  • Stages of a family life cycle
  • Parenting skills
  • Attraction, desire, and desirability
  • Healthy sexuality
  • Affair prevention

This is by far some of the most important and rewarding work that we do. We help couples to get started on the right foot... developing positive attitudes, good relationship and personal habits, and healthy communication styles. They learn about their emotions, build their ability to put into words what they are thinking and feeling, and build their enjoyment of a happy and healthy relationship. They learn to be good role models for their children (if there will be any).

Get it Right the Second Time

Second marriages have a higher divorce rate than first marriages, therefore it is important to learn from past experiences and mistakes, and take the newfound understanding and awareness into your new commitment. Our positive and pro-active approach helps couples in blended families as well as childless situations to structure for success. Come learn from the past, and make it a great future.

From a Grateful Mother:

Hi Cathie,

This is just a note to thank you & Israel for the time you spent with K & V this weekend. I just received the sweetest e-mail from V, and K has been so excited every time I talked to her! They were a little nervous about what to expect but it seems they both tremendously enjoyed their time with you as well as the trip to Vermont.

You may remember when I first contacted you, I thought the price was out of my budget. But, after talking with you over the phone I felt strongly that K & V would benefit from your program and now I am sure it was worth every penny - definitely an example of getting what you pay for. K told me last night that if they had to choose between the counseling and a honeymoon trip to Tahiti, they would choose the counseling. I thought that was pretty amazing! From the bottom of my heart, I wish to thank you and Israel and tell you how truly grateful I am!

Click to see more Letters and Testimonials we have received.

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