You're standing in front of your Family and Friends prepared to make your dreams of a lifetime come true. It's at that moment that you are grateful that you have a professional guiding your ceremony. The Supreme Court has finally ruled upon this issue. Now is the time to plan your perfect LGBT Wedding. I have been performing Commitment Ceremonies since the beginning, and I am so pleased this has opened up for everyone to marry the one they Love. Contact Reverend Jacqui Weiks, Your LGBT Wedding Officiant
We are an open and affirming, multi-racial and multi-cultural, assessable to all, peace and justice oriented body of faith. We go into the community and God's disciples. Grounded by the teachings of Jesus the Christ, we uplift Christ's goodness, create spiritual community, and care for God's people and God's world. Dynamic hope, incredible compassion, extravagant hospitality, and radical love are our core values.
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Gay Couples Counseling Poses Unique Challenges
All couples, gay and straight alike, go through rough patches. Sometimes they’re temporary, brought on by work-related stress or adjusting to a new situation, but what about when those patches start becoming longer, or more regular? A couple moving in together may suddenly find they’re more prone to arguments or having a difficult time reconciling lifestyles, or a couple making plans for a long-term relationship might find themselves at odds over what they want or expect. Gay couples counseling is an option for couples committed to working at their relationship, but there are some unique challenges that any counselor will need to address.
The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy identifies minority stress as a specific issue that gay couples counseling can address. Basically, this means that society still considers heterosexuality the “norm,” and no matter how much progress is made, some social stigma still exists. For many couples, this isn’t a new issue: most LGBT people have dealt with some kind of prejudice and have learned how to navigate it. But others find that there’s a big difference between “being gay” and “being in a gay couple,” and gay couples counseling can help to chart a path through this transition.
Lack of External Support
Closely related to minority stress and heterosexual bias is the lack of external support systems such as:
- Family Support
- Economic Equality
- Legal Protections
As more laws support equal rights and begin to close economic gaps between LGBT and straight income levels and opportunity, we’ll probably see a reduction in these disparities, but the unfortunate fact remains that some families will ostracize LGBT members.
In gay couples counseling, an experienced therapist will work with couples to explore the impact of external support systems on a relationship. For example, if one member of a couple works in an environment where their sexual orientation is accepted, while their partner’s work environment does not allow them to be open about their identity, this can cause tension in the relationship that gay couples counseling can help to work through.
For way too long, heterosexual relationships were confined by traditional gender roles: the man worked and made money, the woman ran the house. While these gender roles have been challenged and, in some cases, are completely crumbling, their influence on behavior casts a long shadow. Certain expectations and social norms are pressed on a person in even the most progressive household, and these beliefs can eventually affect a relationship.
In same-sex couples, gender roles are less strictly defined, but can often be ingrained by societal expectations. Two men raised in environments where men are expected to be competitive and independent are going to find they have some major issues working together as a couple, while studies have indicated that lesbian couples where both individuals were raised in traditional female gender roles can have difficulties remaining autonomous.
In same-sex couples, gender roles are less strictly defined, but can often be ingrained by societal expectations.
Relationships can be strained when two people are at different maturity levels, and in same-sex couples, this problem can be made worse when each individual is at a different stage in developing their sexual identity. A man who has been out for years will have a much different sense of his personal identity than a man who has only recently begun to identify as gay. This isn’t limited to couples where there is an age difference, either: family background, social status, and even geography can have a big influence on the length of time between someone developing sexual attraction and becoming comfortable with their sexual identity.
Some specific issues that gay couples counseling can address with couples who find themselves at different points of personal development include:
- The level of openness each partner finds acceptable
- Boundaries and independence
- Betrayal and loyalty issues
Is Gay Couples Counseling for You?
Couples don’t necessarily have to be in a moment of stress or crisis to benefit from gay couples counseling. For many couples, a counselor can encourage open dialogue and honest discussions about issues before they turn into ongoing problems. Even couples in long-term, stable relationships might find that couples counseling improves communication and strengthens the bonds between partners.