Relationships are hard. It is easy to fall into patterns that are hard to see and even harder to avoid. Past experiences can wreak havoc on the present without you even realizing it or knowing what to do about it. Frustration, resentment, and ambivalence can move in and take root.
Couples counseling can help. Having an objective third party facilitate communication and help brainstorm ideas for improving connection can be an effective way to transform your relationship.
How Do I know If We Need Couples Counseling?
Your relationship might benefit from couples counseling if:
- You spend more time fantasizing about being out of the relationship rather than in it.
- You feel like your partner is your adversary instead of on your side.
- There are themes of withholding - sex, communication, availability, etc...
- You feel like everything would be ok if only your partner would change _________ .
- Nothing is broken but things just feel stagnant.
Trust your gut. If you are asking the question there is likely a reason why. Some couples participate in counseling as a preventative measure before things get bad. Checking in with a counselor a few times a year can be a good way to ensure issues are being addressed.
What If My Partner Doesn't Want Couples Counseling?
It isn't uncommon for one partner to be reluctant to participate in couples counseling, that's ok. There is likely plenty of work that one person can focus on that can still positively impact the relationship. Extending an invitation and then forging ahead without bitterness may be just the thing to encourage change.
What Can I Do Right Now To Improve My Relationship?
- Look inward. Take responsibility for what you are doing to contribute to the issues at hand?
- Take care of yourself. If you are doing what you need to do to feed your mind, body and soul everyone benefits.
- Soften and Lean in. Set aside your bitterness and rejection and focus on being the best partner you can be without keeping score.
My graduate training focused on marriage and family therapy. I understand the complicated dynamics that impact relationships and undermine their stability. I know that sometimes it may feel safer to do nothing. I also know that couples can reconnect and regain passion, respect, and stability.