Debra Macleod’s practical marriage-saving method combines elements of her “hard” background in law, conflict resolution, couples mediation and communication with her “softer” experience as a marriage/intimacy author and relationship coach. It is particularly suitable for individual partners who are working alone or taking the initiative to improve the marriage, but can also be suitable for partners who are working together.
Debra takes a “Fair, but Aware” approach. That is, she encourages spouses to be fair in terms of respecting each other’s needs, feelings, and perspectives, but also encourages them to be aware of how both of them are contributing to the conflict: this includes being able to identify and manage an unfaithful, indifferent or otherwise uncooperative partner’s behavior and manipulations. (Read a full article on this approach.)
Debra’s method offers an alternative to psychology-based couples counselling, one that avoids the possible pitfalls of couples counselling (i.e. the presence of an uncooperative spouse, finger-pointing, an individualistic focus, divisive discourse, unnecessary psychoanalysis, a focus on the past or the negative, ongoing discussion without resolution, and prioritizing theory over practical suggestions). It is also an alternative to the ever-growing number of ineffective marriage coaching systems now online.
The five goals of Debra’s method are to help partners:
- gain information to better understand the general or typical nature of the marital conflict
- better understand “both sides” of the marital conflict: this includes being aware of their own role in conflict as well as their partner’s role, perspective, feelings, interests, needs, behaviors, motivations, etc.
- exercise personal discretion and empowerment so that self-determination within the marriage is possible and balanced
- resolve specific areas of marital conflict (i.e. infidelity, disrespectful behavior, arguing, apathy, etc.) fairly, using practical insights and strategies
- improve the communication, commitment, interactions and intimacy of the overall partnership so that future marital conflict can be avoided and the needs of both partners can be met
If only one partner is participating (i.e. via a crash course / program or phone session), he/she can prompt positive change in the relationship by implementing the insights and/or strategies that he/she feels may improve matters. If both partners are participating, each is encouraged to do his/her part and work collaboratively toward positive change.
Debra’s Method: What It Is & What It Isn’t
Debra’s method is an information-based alternative to couples “couch” counselling, one that focuses on providing partners with a variety of usable insights, skills and strategies that can build (or rebuild) successful marriages by improving communication and interactions, enhancing intimacy, and learning how to successfully resolve and avoid marital conflict. There is an emphasis on understanding “both sides” of a conflict and balancing the interests, needs and perspectives of both spouses for the overall good of the partnership. There is also an emphasis on the importance of self-determination within the marriage. This method focuses on a happy future more than an unhappy past, and on practical application more than theory.
Debra’s method is not psychological counselling or therapy and is not a substitute for these. It does not diagnose or treat mental illness/disorder and does not advise clients of what actions to take in their marriages or lives. It is not suitable in cases of abuse, trauma, mental illness/disorder, addiction, serious emotional distress or when crisis intervention is indicated. Those in such situations must seek help from the appropriate resources – such as the police, lawyer or mental health practitioner – ASAP. Crash courses do not and cannot provide advice on an individual basis.