Relationships are fundamental to our mental health and more than ever we rely on the security and support from our loved ones during the uncertainty of a pandemic. We regularly service our cars and renovate our homes, but the maintenance and attention to our relationship is often overlooked leaving it to run its own course resulting in conflict, disconnection and loneliness.
In the new book, Renovate Your Relationship ($29.99), author Joanne Wilson draws upon decades of working with couples and singles to provide a practical guide to overcoming common relationship issues. From self-awareness, communication, conflict, parenting and infidelity, this revolutionary yet simple guide to respectfully approaching conflict consistently results in more meaningful, healthier and happier outcomes for couples. Designed to meet the needs of all relationships, from those that are cruising, complacent or merely dissatisfied through to those that are highly conflicted, this comprehensive book covers all significant life stages, such as:
• Understanding love
• How to be the best version of you
• The in's and outs of dating and romance
• How to master communication
• Identity, intimacy and sex
• Managing the types of conflict
• Stages of parenting, step-parenting and your relationship
• How to deal with Infidelity
• Mentors and relationship maintenance
Accessibly written with amusing stories that you'll likely laugh, cringe and resonate with, along with, tools and expert advice, Renovate Your Relationship is a must-read for newlyweds, oldyweds, co-parents and anyone contemplating a relationship.
About the Author
Joanne Wilson is a professional counsellor, neuropsychotherapist, author, speaker and a renowned pioneer in her field. She is the founder of the Relationship Rejuvenator online courses, TheConfidante counselling practice and a specialist in relationships and pre-marriage therapy. As a radio co-host and regular media commentator, she is passionate about inspiring couples to develop long-lasting healthy behaviours. Find out more at www.relationshiprejuvenator.com
Renovate Your Relationship
Author: Joanne Wilson
Question: What originally inspired the idea of Renovate Your Relationship?
Joanne Wilson: Renovate Your Relationship was birthed from a passion for inspiring dynamic and flourishing relationships, being the underpinning to our mental health. I have been honoured to provide counselling for individuals and couples at their most important life junctures for over ten years. It was the obvious, though somewhat daunting next step to spread my researched and proven strategies to a wider audience through this book.
Question: How did you develop your interest in counselling?
Joanne Wilson: Whilst I didn't appreciate it much sometimes, my parents and extended family shared values around the importance of volunteering. As a child and teenager, I helped in the Meals on Wheels kitchen, delivered hampers and door-knocked for Red Cross. As an adult, I've taught migrants English and volunteered at facilities such as Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross, Sydney before or after my work shifts as a Flight Attendant. My love of people and the specialist training to support them grew from there.
My field of expertise stems from being destined to be an avid observer of relationships. As the fifth child in my family, the result of a complete surprise pregnancy (a 'whoopsie' is the technical term)"13 years after my siblings. I was brought up in the perfect environment to carefully examine, be mentored in and critique what good and bad relationships look like. Much like the natural historian, David Attenborough, I observed the fascinating primal dating habits of my siblings and their friends, as well as the marriage habits of my parents.
Question: What did you learn, about yourself, whilst writing Renovate Your Relationship?
Joanne Wilson: I learnt how much I needed to rely on others! In what can often be an individualistic society, I am constantly encouraging clients to build and lean on their support networks. At so many intersections in life, many could be better at asking for help for either the expertise of others or just a listening ear. Whilst I am extremely self-motivated, it was impossible to journey the path of researching, writing and producing a book on my own both emotionally and strategically. I was also reminded of the fact I couldn't contribute to this field if I didn't have the "full marriage experience" I currently enjoy from which I can relate and empathise with others!
Question: What's the main message you hope readers take from Renovate Your Relationship?
Joanne Wilson: The book features a common theme of my passion for impacting generations with a healthy relationship legacy. The community benefits from balanced and resilient children launched to success from a secure and solid family foundation. Not everyone is given that gift, so I remind readers they can recreate a new legacy by acquiring the tools to reinvent and launch their current relationship or learn healthy behaviours for their next one! I aim to inspire readers of the importance of the ripple effect of having peace for their informed decisions today – oh, and having a laugh along the way! Finding a sense of humour even in our darkest times can often be the only thing that pulls us through.
Question: Can you share tips with us featured in the book?
Joanne Wilson: Major concepts in the book to support renovating your relationship are:
- We invest in renovating our homes and servicing our cars, why don't many of us spend as much effort maintaining and rejuvenating our MOST important project - our relationship?
- Appreciate you don't need to succumb to the poor relationship legacies of separation and divorce if that is the card you have been dealt! You can champion change even alone and inspire a new impacting generation founded on respect, kindness in a safe and loving environment.
- Realise the importance of investing in you first. You have little hope to contribute to reinventing your relationship when you are the withdrawn shadow of your former exuberant self.
- The 80/20 rule prevails in the counselling room. 80 per cent of the angst in relationships seem to stem from the same 20 per cent of common issues – lack of a healthy and assertive conflict and communication style.
- Learn TRI BONDING – my innovative simplistic approach to conflict. Whilst it is even applicable to those choosing to go down the "un-coupling" path, it is not designed for those suffering abuse of any kind. You deserve to be loved and cherished by your partner and not settle for anything less. Have the courage to leave if you or your children's health is compromised.
- Appreciate the knowledge gleaned from neuroscience that whilst we are more similar then we realise, men and women have unique mosaic brains and can't simply be categorised into a blue and pink bucket!
Question: What research did you do, prior to writing Renovate Your Relationship?
Joanne Wilson: I'd been enthusiastically blogging and contributing to the media for most of my years as a Counsellor. I was delighted to share my knowledge and experience through researching and writing a weekly relationships column for the Sunshine Coast Daily for the past three years. I share the content in a weekly radio co-host which blossomed to an accompanying podcast. I will never know enough about my field, so keeping abreast by researching the latest developments, particularly in neuroscience is fascinating. I've, therefore, had plenty of content to curate and build on a methodical, well-researched guide to renovating relationships for either those complacent through to highly conflicted.
Question: What advice do you have for aspiring writers or artists?
Joanne Wilson: 1. Seek out the expertise of trailblazers before you to learn from other author's trials and mistakes to cut yours short! I included a section on relationship mentors in my book and this applies to all aspects of life, including writing or pursuing your artistic talent.
2. Resiliently and persistently push past the ever-looming fear and be aware of any "I can't…" toxic self-talk.
3. Whether you are single or partnered, I do appreciate the benefit of allowing oneself to be vulnerable and lean on someone else to either fill the parenting gaps or glean emotional support when stretching your abilities (such as adding a book to a hectic schedule!).
Question: What or who inspired your love of reading/writing?
Joanne Wilson: My constant love for learning inspires my fervour for reading and writing. As a wife and busy mother of three young boys, I've learnt to strategically pair exercise, cooking or washing clothes with earphones to listen to an audiobook whenever possible to ensure I'm on top of my game in my field of work.
Question: What's next, for you?
Joanne Wilson: I truly cannot wait to welcome and support more people than ever before who are struggling with their relationship status that may not otherwise be comfortable to attend a counselling office by providing online courses. Whilst I will continue the honour of working with individuals and couples in the counselling room each week, the pandemic in 2020 has more people seeking support online than ever before. This is again, the natural next step to delve deeper using the book as a foundation to reach the greater community for inspiring great relationships that foster a safe, loving and respectful launchpad for happiness and success.
Interview by Gwen van Montfort