Since we’re coming up to Valentine’s Day, we thought to celebrate everything about relationships and what it really takes to make it last. Who better to speak to us about it than Imole and EK of Mr and Mrs Bonds Couples Coaching.
Hi Imole, thank you for speaking with us at Amor! Tell us a little something about you and how you both got into coaching.
Growing up I think many people referred to me as ‘rude’. I spent a lot of time trying to understand why people would think that. I therefore also spent time understanding relationships. With every new boyfriend (yes, I had a few), I spent time analysing what was great but not so great in the relationship and how to perhaps have a better relationship next time. The only books I read outside fiction were books on relationships. Before meeting EK, I wasn’t in a relationship for 4 and a half years – I spent the time gaining a firm clarity on what I wanted and needed in a man given my fierce personality type and many idiosyncrasies! When EK came along it was obvious he was someone who could take my eccentricities, give as good as he was getting when I get crazy (he doesn’t look it right) and of course love every part of me. It wasn’t the biggest surprise when we started supporting couple friends when we ourselves weren’t even married.
Now I am described by most as ‘friendly’ and I have many different groups of the most fabulous friends you won’t even imagine. Just look at my mummy holidays which I tend to do 1-2 times a year with different groups of amazing ladies. Which brings me to my two cuties, I am a proud mother of 2 of the most beautiful, intuitive and amazing little girls. Ruelle is 4 and Apphia is 2. They are the most wonderful gifts ever and it has been interesting to see how we have also applied the same focus on acquiring knowledge and understanding Child Development to give them a fantastic routine. My background was originally in Youth Work and then Social Work which led to transferable skills in Couple Coaching.
Mine and EK’s hearts have been broken to see some of our closest friends break up. From the point we supported our first couple till now, mine and EK’s focus has been to ensure every couple we come across are prepared for a life together.
What made you both start Coaching Couples and what inspired it?
EK and I realised early in our relationship (before we were actually married) that we enjoyed talking about relationships with other couples and were able to get into relationship issues in a way that appeared to be helpful to others. This led us to volunteer with first Relationship Central, the relationship education ministry of Holy Trinity Brompton, and later with Marriage Care, the relationship support ministry of the Catholic Church, in both cases working with pre-marriage couples. Having personally experienced the difference the right kind of preparation before marriage can make, we became passionate about seeing as many people as possible go through some sort of preparation before marriage, believing that any couple can make a success of their relationship with the right attitude, tools and approach. We desire to demystify and normalise relationship coaching as a thing, debunking the common myth that only those who have problems in their relationship need to seek outside help.
What is it like being in a session with you guys? Can you give us details on how your first session with a couple went?
I went to an event in relation to marriages and got talking to ladies and really got along over same interests, you know, like love of shopping. Over a few evenings, we discussed some of the issues they were going through in their marriage in conversation. The discussions started informal, but were deep discussions, and true to the nature of coaching, not necessarily “here’s-the-answer-to-your-problem”-type sessions, but rather, helping a couple to navigate tricky waters themselves through focussed discussion and self-reflection. We have remained good friends, and these days, relationship issues rarely come up in the great times they continue to share.
Can you share with us your most favourite outcome from sessions with you?
Probably from one of our latest couples. After speaking to us about certain problems for which they were trying to find solutions, we probed them further about other areas of their lives and how they would find solutions in those areas. The moment we suggested a white board, the man in the couple picked up the idea and said how that relates to him. He said he had contemplated this but must have thought it too pedantic. They committed to ordering a white board and spoke about how it will help them understand and vividly analyse the issues they were trying to solve. We couldn’t believe the number of times he repeated “white Board”. We have kept in touch with some of the couples coached over the years and the overriding feedback is the difference marriage preparation has made in their lives especially in those first and often most challenging months of marriage.
What are the hopes for future? What’s the big goal.
This is to see every relationship suitably equipped with techniques to weather the storms of marriage or long term committed relationships.
All in all, the ultimate goal is to motivate the nation to come to a realisation that we need to commit resources and prepare for long term committed relationship together. In the same way we wouldn’t go on a journey without directions. An embedding in our psyche that a great relationship doesn’t just happen.
Favourite quote regarding couples or love:
Our favourite quote must be one coined by Mr Bonds (EK) himself during a workshop with 15 couples. He said, “For every couple that broke up because they couldn’t resolve a problem, 100 more found a way to resolve the same issue”.
Do you have any questions or want any advice and tips from Imole and EK? Comment below and they will reach out!
To round off our interview with these amazing relationship coaches, we asked them for their Top Tips on how to make a relationship work, and here’s their answers:
1) Start with yourself, know yourself and love yourself, then you can start to work on loving your other half
2) Allow frequent time and opportunity to share about each other and communicate your expectations. Don’t assume, share the mundane expectations as well as the weirdest, craziest ones
3) Get equipped, get resources, share them with each other and attend a Couples Workshop
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