You are almost at the end of your rope. There were
always problems but now they seem to be getting
worse, or at least less bearable. Maybe you have been
growing and changing while your partner has not.
Maybe there has been a violation of trust. Whatever
the cause, you think the relationship is in danger of
A long term relationship is a strong attachment that is very painful to break.
Where you are
Couples can have resentments and anger build up in one of many areas.
Sexuality - lack of satisfaction or lack of desire
Addictions - alcohol, drugs, gambling, sexual or internet
Unresolved child abuse issues in one or both partners
Loss - a major loss in finance, housing or family
How you got there
This is the heart of marriage counseling. Before this time of conflict,
there was a time of happiness and love. There were likely issues that were
obvious or that lay dormant even from the beginning. Discovering and
addressing these issues can help you begin to regain that early
connection and the happiness that came with it.
How the relationship can change
When both partners are committed to change, a new way of relating is possible. There can be:
Open and honest communication in an atmosphere of safety and acceptance
An appreciation of each other's differences and "quirks"
Respectful disagreements that lead to compromise
Mutual support in times of crisis
Making the marriage work again
The starting point is knowing that you deserve rewarding relationships in your life. You are worthy of being loved and being cared about.
One essential skill in gaining that relationship is being able to identify what you are feeling and what your partner is feeling. Unfortunately, as children, many of us were told to put on a "brave face" or to smile, even when we felt sad. This denial of feelings makes it more difficult to stay in tune with your true inner state and that of your partner.
To help illustrate how important emotional awareness is, think of this analogy. If someone covered up the dashboard in your car, would you feel comfortable driving? Not likely, as you would want to monitor your speed and the condition of the car. Well, your emotions are the dashboard of your relationship. You can't expect the relationship to run smoothly if you keep the emotional dashboard covered.
There are many more skills that you can learn in marriage counseling. If your relationship is becoming increasingly unhappy or if you are thinking that it may end, consider making a call.
Frequently asked questions about Marriage Counseling
How does it work?
The initial consulation is with both partners present and is about 50 minutes long. The purpose of the first meeting is to gather information about what the issues are and to map out a strategy to resolve those issues.
Do you do couples counseling for unmarried partners?
Yes. The same issues that come up in a marriage come up in any couples relationship. Any relationship can be improved and made stronger by addressing issues such as trust, communication and finances.
A note about the first visit...
The first visit to couples counseling will very likely bring up new issues or information. Often, this upsets the partner who hears it for the first time. This can result in the couple returning home and having a fight about it. I would suggest that if a "hot button" issue has been raised, temporarily avoid talking about it outside of therapy. If that is not possible, consider coming in for a follow up session as soon as practical. The beginning stage of couples counseling is usually the most challenging part. If you can weather that initial difficulty, you have a much greater chance of saving and strengthening your relationship.