A Coaching Model By Marcel Sanchez, Marriage Coach, UNITED STATES
Marriage Coaching: How Can Couples Restore the Dream of Their Marriage?
It was an afternoon that would mark the next decade of my life. I had been serving married couples through marriage coaching for about five years at that time. A married couple sat in my office to discuss the growing frustrations within their marriage. That part was relatively common, but what happened next was certainly unexpected. Without warning—and with great emotion—the husband began to sob with uncontrollable tears and strong emotions.
I sat there in silence for a few moments. It was a unique experience for me to take in and ponder. What would abruptly move a man to flood his two hands with tears? I was struck deeply by what my eyes observed, and what my ears heard that day. I was humbled by the experience. At the same time, something in my spirit and soul had shifted in a new direction. It was the day I decided to develop a system to help couples build thriving marriages.
What started as a hopeful dream of increasing love and companionship had slowly drifted to an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. The line of despair had been crossed and there was no solution in sight. What happens to a couple when the dream once firmly rooted in their marriage is no longer present? What happens when hope is displaced by despair and laughter is replaced with weeping? Although there are many possible answers, relational deterioration is without question the destination.
So, one question lingered in my mind, “How can couples restore the dream of their marriage?” This question spoke directly to the high value I’ve placed on marriage throughout the years. It spoke to the multiplicative impact I believed was possible through the product of healthy marriages. This question eventually developed into an undeniable burden to do something about building healthy marriages rather than waiting for something to change.
My wife and I will be celebrating 30 years of marriage on December 21, 2021. Like every couple, we’ve made mistakes along our journey together. We worked through serious financial hardships, health concerns, friends who unexpectedly walked out of our lives, overwhelming business demands, and so much more.
But more importantly, together, we discovered a new way forward—one that required our best efforts and focus—which has led to the success of our relationship. This new way forward was certainly not for our benefit alone, it would need to form the foundation for helping other married couples restore the dream of their marriage. It was our turn to invest in others and multiply what we had learned together by teaching them the timeless principles required to build healthy marriages.
Here are the essentials for a healthy marriage.
- Healthy marriages dream together.
- Healthy marriages align their relationship with God’s Word—the Bible.
- Healthy marriages are intentional about growing their relationship.
- Healthy marriages are marked by husbands—who love their wives as Jesus loved his church. These husbands are committed to their wives.
- Healthy marriages are marked by wives—who respect their husbands. These wives are committed to their husbands.
- Healthy marriages worship together, pray together, and serve others together.
- Healthy marriages regularly practice generosity.
- Healthy marriages make time for good conversations.
- Healthy marriages build toward the future rather than dwell on the past.
- Healthy marriages pursue marriage coaching to strengthen their relationship.
These are the essentials for marriages to thrive and live out their purpose as a couple. As we think through this relational philosophy for married couples, a simple model emerges to help us synchronize key milestones and the dynamic process of growth in a marriage relationship.
Marriage coaching is not as familiar as marriage counseling or marriage therapy. While the latter two disciplines focus heavily on identifying and working through past relational problems, marriage coaching is very different. Marriage coaching points couples forward. It helps move them from where they are to where they want to be in their relationship. Marriage coaching does not consist of unearthing every relational hurt, challenge, or unresolved problem. Instead, marriage coaching collaborates with married couples to help their relationship discover a renewed direction and purpose for their relationship.
Marriage Coaching Model
This model speaks to the initial hopes of the marriage relationship. Couples who dream together stay together. When the dream stops, so does the health of the relationship. In a blended marriage coaching context, we revisit the original dream for the marriage relationship and seek to understand what the dream was and the importance behind the dream. We dig deeper into the overall vision for the relationship. We rediscover significant relational goals and expectations regarding the original plans for the future of the relationship.
As we work through this initial phase, we remind couples of the purpose of their marriage. We explore God’s original intent for their relationship, and how it impacts families, communities, cities, states, and entire countries. A great marriage requires great effort. The dream must be evaluated and shaped over time to sharpen the focus of the marriage. It’s not going to happen automatically. Healthy marriages require significant investments of time, energy, and resources. Our three-fold model is based on an intentional and progressive theme.
A Growing Relationship with God is the Catalyst for Building a Great Marriage
Our model is growth-focused, God-centered, and growth-driven. Each married couple is coached to take personal responsibility for their spiritual and relational development. The quality of their spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ is what will ultimately overflow into their marriage relationship. So, we coach couples on how to return to God’s dream for their marriage—which is where they find the relational alignment they’ve been desiring but still searching for. As we explore this original dream with greater precision, it provides us with clues to help coach clients into the next phase of our model, connect.
Remembering the Dream for Your Marriage: Reigniting the Passion for Your Spouse
Establishing a Strong Foundation: Understanding the Purpose for Your Marriage
The second phase has to do with connecting what has been disconnected in the relationship. Blended marriage coaching helps couples identify broken parts of their relationship. Over time, unhealthy patterns of thinking, speaking, or responding begin to disrupt the relationship. Often, married couples don’t have a clue as to how they began to drift away from one another. They know the relationship is not healthy, but they can’t explain why that is the case or what is going on in the relationship.
In this phase of the model, married couples learn key factors which most often contribute to relational disconnects and their source of relational satisfaction. We discuss how to identify these areas as we coach them towards spiritual and relational alignment. As couples learn to find their primary satisfaction in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, they will reach new levels of joy and purpose in their marriage relationship.
Lastly, this model helps married couples by coaching them on how to connect to the core of their spouse’s greatest need. For the wife, her greatest need is to be loved by her husband. For the husband, his greatest need is to be respected by his wife. When these two primary areas of need are continuous in marriage, married couples will connect at a deeper level and revolutionize their relationship. These two key areas serve as the foundation for a thriving marriage. First, we dream. Second, we connect. Once these two are moving in the right direction, we can build healthy habits for relational transformation.
Connecting to the Right Source: The Power of Satisfaction
Love and Respect: Connecting to the Core of Your Spouse’s Greatest Need
Lost in Translation: How to Communicate with Your Spouse
Making Decisions Together: Experiencing the Art of Synchronized Decision Making
Reigniting Your Sex Life: Creating an Environment for Extraordinary Intimacy
Once married couples have reignited the dream for their marriage relationship and have learned how to best connect, they’re ready to begin building healthy relational habits to sustain these first two relational pillars. Couples who focus on building their relationship will ultimately build their marriage. When both husband and wife are making extraordinary efforts to love one another and respect one another, the relationship creates endless opportunities for success.
Since financial disagreements create significant problems in the marriage relationship, in our model, we coach couples to establish healthy financial habits. Since unforgiveness produces increasing relational strife, we coach couples to forgive one another in the same way that Jesus has forgiven them—with love, grace, and mercy. As we reach the peak of our coaching sessions, we collaborate with couples to create habits to protect, direct, and grow their marriage. For me, this is the most exciting part. This is where all the hard work pays off. This is where husbands and wives can truly thrive.
Getting Your House in Order: Keys to Making Financial Decisions with an Eternal Perspective
Embracing Forgiveness: Moving Your Marriage Forward through Unconditional Forgiveness
Keys to a Growing Marriage: Creating Habits to Protect, Direct, and Grow Your Marriage
Marriage Coaching Niche
Although this coaching model can serve all marriages well—both domestically and internationally—my focus has been reduced over the years to leverage my personal experiences, education, failures, successes, and unique skillset. This coaching niche is the one my wife and I most identify with. It is the one target group I look for more intentionally than all others.
I coach busy business professionals who want to build healthy marriages.
My ideal client is the busy business professional who spends the greater part of their day working many hours to build a successful business or a career. I remember this mode of life all too well. Having spent many years in the marketplace, I recall the exhausting trips, ongoing meetings, and continuous phone calls well into the evening hours. There was no excuse for poor performance. Every day, it was a “get-it-done” culture from 7:00 AM – 6:30 PM.
These busy professionals are considered high performers in their industry. They thrive in their work and serve their clients well. They’re often serving in significant leadership positions within their organizations such as:
- Chief Executive Officer
- Business Owner
- Chief Information Officer
- Vice President
- Director of International Business
- Regional Manager
- Account Manager
- Division Manager and other leadership positions
Unfortunately, because of their increasing business demands on their daily schedules, investing in the growth of their marriage relationship is often a strong desire, but not a present reality. These professionals know something needs to change. Finding the “How?” to change, “Where?” to change, and “When?” to start is a great dilemma. Leaving work late and driving to a weekly marriage coaching session is simply not practical for these busy professionals. After all, they may be traveling in another country for example, or another state. And since time restraints are a significant part of this target group, technology has served as a significant part of my overall coaching model.
The Methodology of My Marriage Coaching Model
The following represents the methodology of my marriage coaching model. This dynamic process is not linear. Depending on the unique needs of each married couple, this methodology remains both flexible and fluid in design. As I consider the significant time restraints of my coaching niche, this methodology serves to meet their needs in a relevant manner. As of today, one of the biggest compliments I receive has to do with the flexibility of the course and our coaching sessions.
- Couples schedule an initial discovery call on Calendly.com
- Couples receive a basic overview of marriage coaching
- Expectations are clarified and follow-up meeting days and times are confirmed
- General Overview: 38-Session Marriage Catalyst Online Course
- Collect payment through Stripe or Venmo
- Email couples Participant Guide and online course link
- Couples watch the first four sessions before our first marriage coaching session
This model and methodology have certainly met a very real need with today’s high-performing, married business professionals. I hope to continue leveraging my marriage coaching model and innovative methodology to coach married couples to dream, connect, and build their marriage.
Marcel Sanchez, Marriage Catalyst. Maitland: Xulon Press