3 Unexpected Reasons You Need Couples Counseling
3 Unexpected Reasons You Need Couples Counseling
We all understand by now that perfect relationships do not exist.
Research shows that couples are constantly moving through the cycle of connection and disconnection. They disagree, fight, make out, and fight again. Marriages and relationships are messy and imperfect. And this is exactly what makes them beautiful- the ability to be deeply loved and accepted by another person even when YOU feel “unlovable” and “insecure.”
Relationships also come with no guarantees. You gotta keep working on it at all times. When you stop and disengage for a prolonged period of time, it suffers! How much is “prolonged period of time”? It depends on a marriage. Some marriages have very strong foundation and can withstand longer periods of disengagement from one or both partners. Other relationships need more contact fuel to survive and thrive.
If you are not happy in your relationship with your partner, here are 3 reasons you might want to consider couples counseling:
Reason # 1: You’ve tried many different things and nothing works.
You have been feeling alone and disconnected in your relationships for awhile now. At least a year or two, and its getting worse. Every time you try to reach to your partner and share your feelings, you feel “minimized” and “rejected“. Your partner doesn’t get why this is such a big deal and wants you to move on already. You don’t want to get hurt more, so you’ve learned to shut down instead of arguing.
Except it doesn’t help your internal turmoil. I call it “internal civil war” when working with my couples.
And round and round you go, making you feel trapped in this never ending negativity loop. Feeling paralyzed because even though you are smart and accomplished, you just can’t figure out this relationship thing.
You tried talking to your friends. Maybe even individual counseling. You read a couple good blog posts online and learned about communication skills.
But NOTHING works.
You should consider marriage counseling. Why?
Because some communication patterns (there are several different types) are just much more difficult to break and get out of than others.
Couples counseling is also very different than individual counseling.
Couples counselors have extensive specialized training (not all, but a lot of them- read more here) and work hard on creating a safe and judgment free space for both partners.
They don’t take sides and unlike what many clients think, they don’t secretly think: “what a shit show, this couple will never make it!”
As couples therapists, we are fully and wholeheartedly invested in your success and are rooting for your relationships. When couples ask my opinion on whether they should stay together or not, my answer is always the same:” If you love your partner and are committed to do the work that is required for your marriage, then anything is possible!
Reason # 2: You know that your own “stuff” impacts your marriage.
A lot of couples I work with struggle with significant anxiety and/or depression. On top of having relationship problems that brought them in in the first place. Now, a lot of times we are not sure what came first- relationship problems leading to anxiety/depressed mood or anxiety/depressed mood leading to relationship problems. But to be honest, it doesn’t even matter.
What matters more is understanding how our personal fears and insecurities show up in our relationships.
Notice, I didn’t say IF our personal fears and insecurities. Because I guarantee you that this happens to all of us. And you need to do something about it today before it’s loo late. The one regret that almost all of my couples have is “not stating therapy earlier.”
Speaking of which, did you know research shows that couples “wait on average 8 years before getting counseling?” 8 freaking years?!?! Can you imagine how much awesomeness you’re missed out on during all those years?
So, if you have endured more than most and suspect that your own demons might be preventing your relationship from thriving, consider couples counseling.
It’s a beautiful healing opportunity for your soul and heart. And because we are hardwired for connection, the absolute best place for this healing to take place is TOGETHER with your partner.
Reason # 3: You or your partner are recovering from an affair or another relationship rupture.
Throughout the life span, our relationships naturally endure a series of injuries. Sue Johnson, a Canadian psychologist and founder of one of the most empirically validated treatments called Emotionally Focused Therapy, calls these injuries “relationship ruptures.” These ruptures can be both small and big.
For example, feeling rejected by the partner after reaching for them is a relationship rupture. Let’s say you have something on your mind and you really want to share that with them. But your husband or wife is tired after a long day at work.
They are not emotionally accessible to you, and you feel “disappointed.”
In most cases, this disappointment would be considered a relatively small relationship rupture. Unless it happens multiple times over a course of several months, the couple would be able to easily repair it by scheduling a time for quality conversations.
On the other hand, engaging in an affair is a huge relationship rupture because it undermines all the safety and trust between the partners.
Two IMPORTANT things (safety and trust) that takes a long time and a lot of dedication to build.
Two things that are critical for any marriage to survive. And you definitely need professional help to heal all your and your partner’s emotional wounds around it.
It is important to add that any active, ongoing affair need to be completely terminated before couples counseling can begin. If you need more time to finish it, take it. Do not enter couples therapy with lies and secrets because it will NOT work.
If you have questions about YOUR unique situation or just general questions about couples counseling, contact me here to schedule your FREE consultation today. Your marriage deserves it!