Intimacy and Relationship Coach Tracy Ziman Jacobs’ commitment to saving marriages gives tremendous hope to partners in crisis.
Tracy Ziman Jacobs is a therapeutic counsellor who works as a specialised intimacy and relationship coach within her consultancy, Totally Me. She is passionate about helping couples and individuals who wish to go beyond their current intimacy level and rekindle the passion they once had for each other and for themselves. This is Tracy’s story where she explains why her work, especially in the very disconnected society in which we currently live, is so important.
No one gets married assuming the relationship will end in divorce. At least, Tracy Ziman Jacobs didn’t. “When I got married, I thought I’d never get divorced,” says Tracy. “It came as a bit of a shock and after my divorce, I was cynical about marriage,” she admits. But she recognised the hope we as human beings attach to marriage. “It’s the romance that brings us together and after all, people are still getting married,” she muses. So, what’s the recipe for a loving relationship in which both partners are happy?
Tracy’s ethos is ardour: romance is key to the marriage-altering work she does with her clients. “I want to save marriages,” she explains, stating that it’s vital to look at what is lacking and then go back to the basic needs of the relationship. “Look at all those characteristics that drew you to your mate and created that chemistry,” says Tracy, who suggests it is possible to have an affair with your existing partner rather than look outside the marriage for the intimacy and fulfilment you crave. “What’s in an affair? Rather bring it back inside your marriage,” she states.
Tracy’s wealth of knowledge hasn’t come from life experience alone; she has a solid professional background that includes a BA in Social Sciences (UNISA, 1996) as well as practical training through the Family Life Centre (FAMSA). In fact, she went on to be employed by the organisation as an occupational social worker. Apart from being a registered practitioner with Intimacy Coaching SA(ICSA), Tracy’s skills also include individual and couple’s counselling, group and family therapy, trauma counselling, employee assistance programs, divorce mediation and pre-marriage counselling.
Tracy works with marriages at any stage, with couples (both straight and gay), as well as single people in need of intimacy counselling. While Tracy’s work doesn’t simply focus on the notorious “the seven-year itch”, it is a concept she’s very aware of in her practice and among the marriages she works on healing. “There are definitely seven-year cycles (seven years, 14 years and so on) where things become a little staid,” she explains. Lesli Doares, a licenced marriage counsellor and family therapist, supports Tracy’s theory, saying that by seven years, a couple has usually had a child or two and children tend to change everything. “It is really the impact of children on the marriage that causes the underlying disconnect that leads to the ‘itch’ to get out,” says Lesli. “It is a combination of responsibility, lack of time for oneself, diminished intimacy and a sense of ‘is that all there is?’" (source: Women’s Health, October 2, 2015).
Speaking of which, as a mother herself, Tracy understands the delicate balance between parenting and marriage, and the challenges children can create once they are born. “Kids dictate what’s going to happen, they change everything and nobody prepares us for that,” says Tracy. “You’re this happy couple, everything is going well until the baby comes and then you see another side of each other that you haven’t seen before.” Then there are intimacy issues. “Many women get their physical needs met through bonding with their baby whereas men still want intimacy through sex,” she explains.
Feeling this type of disconnect? Whether you’re a parent or not, Tracy’s counselling work is about rekindling romance for a renewed intimate relationship. “You’ve just got to do it to understand it,” says Tracy of her sessions. “In other words, do the work and then you’ll understand it.” It’s nothing harmful – it’s about something that is positive, good and that will add value to your life, she explains. The benefits are numerous: “When you’re in synergy with the one you love, you are in a good space and you will find that you’ll sleep better, work better, have more patience with your children and be far more productive. Good sexual health is also great for creativity and for our bodies; it boosts circulation as well as oxytocin and serotonin. The bottom line is that connecting with your partner and being in a good space is wonderful for everyone all round.”
“Everyone” is a standout word in Tracy’s work: her sessions are for men and women in all stages of their lives. “Women feel validated and heard, and so do men,” she explains. “It’s incredible for me to see the ‘light’ come on when couples are shown a whole new way of connecting.”
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