Some people let a bump in the road break them down. Others take it in their stride. But the most successful people are those that deal with it and come out on top, having used that bump to give them a clear view of where they want to be when they continue on their journey.
Tracy Ziman Jacobs is that person, who discovered after her divorce in 2011 that no relationship is perfect. However, instead of allowing the divorce to derail her life, she used it for good, knowing that what she learned from her experience could help others. Meeting the positive, animated and bubbly person she is today, it’s hard to believe she was ever in any type of dark place, but directly after her unexpected divorce, a negative space was exactly where the person she is today had to emerge from.
No one gets married assuming it will end in divorce. Tracy certainly didn’t. “When I got married, I thought I’d never get divorced,” she says. “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?
After soul searching and a lot of research, Tracy’s ethos is ardour (defined by the Oxford Dictionary as ‘great warmth of feeling; fervor; passion’ and ‘intense devotion, eagerness, or enthusiasm; zeal’: 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 return 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. She’s so right! Years into our marriages, when kids, work, and everyday stress takes over our lives, we’ve completely forgotten what first attracted us to our partners! And it seems a bit ridiculous to even think about it – but yet, so obvious.
Tracy’s undertaking to heal herself led her to want to heal others. Enter intimacy coaching: Tracy’s greatest passion. She qualified as an Intimacy Coach through Intimacy Coaching SA (ICSA) in 2016, but her drive to help others didn’t just start then – it goes way back, and is clearly inherent in her nature.
Her wealth of knowledge hasn’t come from life experience alone and is backed up by a BA in Social Sciences (1996, UNISA), as well as practical training with the Family Life Centre (FAMSA). This training led her to counsel both individuals and couples, as well as performGroup Therapy, Family Therapy, Trauma Counselling, Divorce Mediation, Pre-marriage Counselling and Employee Assistance Programmes. Once her training was complete, Tracy was hired by FAMSA as an Occupational Social Worker, enabling her to assist others further in their relationship and life journeys.
Professionalism is top of mind for Tracy. She treats every client with the utmost respect, and knows how important it is for them to feel at ease and nurtured during their sessions. The beautiful space she’s created to work in is inviting and nurturing. Her workshops promote a sense of enthusiasm and inspiration for both men and women, and they assist clients in realising that there are many others experiencing similar challenges, which ensures a community-type environment and a feeling of support.
Tracy’s determination to heal her clients’ relationships can only lead to good. Her end goal: to rekindle the passion in her clients’ love lives, helping them to “find each other”again. She acknowledges that hard work is key to ensuring this goal is met – by both her and her clients. And it’s something she doesn’t shy away from, knowing that with tenacity, her clients’ current intimacy levels can be increased exponentially.
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 “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.”
I can vouch for the fact that Tracy is comfortable chatting about anything and will immediately put you at ease. Nothing is taboo with her, and she’s all about ensuring that her clients walk away in a positive, confident, comfortable space with themselves and their relationship.
Find out more about Tracy, her work and how to contact her, via her website: http://www.totallymetracy.co.za