Once upon at time your relationship was effortless. And then it wasn’t. Life got a lot harder and more complicated. Your relationship started to break. Life pulled you both apart. Now, you are looking for hope. If this describes you, then counseling for couples can help you get to the root of your problems so you can begin to heal your marriage or relationship.
Couples drag their marriage along for months and years without ever addressing core problems. You don’t have to keep living this way and feeling like there is no hope – there is hope! Counseling for couples can be a turning point in your marriage or relationship when it becomes a top priority for both. Marriage counseling works well when you both are ready to sacrifice for each other.
Marriage counseling can help you identify core issues that are causing major problems. This might include lack of emotional intimacy, insecurities, or unrealistic marriage roles. I provide counseling for couples that focuses on how you both need to understand each other. Many times couples seek out counseling to have the therapist “tell my partner that I’m right.” Effective marriage counseling aims to revive a sense of togetherness and security.
Premarital Counseling for Couples
You don’t have to be on the verge of divorce to benefit from couples counseling. Premarital counseling for couples helps you both look into foundational issues that may cause problems later. This process doesn’t have to be intimidating. Consider this a check-up or an evaluation to look at your strengths as a couple as well as your challenges. This will ultimately help pave the way for more successful communication as well as good relationship habits. If there are issues in your relationship (and everybody has them!) you can either start dealing with them now or deal with them years down the road when they become unmanageable. Important aspects to look at when you get engaged include:
- Views on spending and saving money
- Communication styles and “love languages”
- Attitudes about sex
- Relationships with future in-laws
- Household duties
- Your significant other’s career
Counseling for Couples Helps With:
Financial issues can get out of hand very quickly in marriages because two people are operating as a team financially and it is often a challenge to be on the same page with money concerns. No matter if it is a one income or two income household, both people are affected by financial decisions. Trouble happens typically when there is little to no coordination between both parties. Many times couples get paired as opposites: one is the “saver” and the other is the “spender.” The saver gets demonized as controlling, uptight, and no fun. The spender gets demonized as careless, irresponsible, and dangerous. Many couples are closer to the middle than they are to the extremes. Our financial attitudes are ingrained in us by our family of origin and thus are connected to deep emotional responses. Marriages frequently face financial problems related to:
- Out-of-control debt
- Strict budgeting
- Secret spending
- Conflicting financial planning
- Spender/Saver dynamics
Infidelity is probably the most single devastating blow that can happen to a relationship. Many relationships end immediately when an affair is discovered. Infidelity represents the most common and most significant betrayal couples experience. While many relationships end abruptly because of an affair, many hobble along, broken and attempting to salvage what was once an emotionally safe and secure refuge. Affairs come in many forms but the core components of trust, loyalty, and assurance are now broken. What is often left is betrayal, rejection, distrust, and constant anxiety. Forms of infidelity include:
- Singular or multiple affairs
- Emotional affairs
- Involvement with hook-up sites
- Deceitful relationships
Separation and Divorce
It is normal for couples to go through trials, periods of disengagement with one another, and arguing. Ultimately, when core problems reach a boiling point one or both people look for some relief in the form or separation or divorce. Couples try and try to work through problems and become so overwhelmed that the just want to get away from one another either temporarily or permanently. Usually when couples are talking about separation and divorce the problem has already been persisting for a long time. Often couples believe there is no use in seeking help when they’ve separated or started the divorce process. This process can take many forms, which can be addressed with help from a therapist. These forms include:
- Trial separation
- In-home separation
- The divorce process
- Post-divorce co-parenting
Blended Family Issues
Remarriage after a divorce can bring a renewed sense of hope in starting over and creating new beginnings. However, remarriage and getting married to a spouse who already has children can bring a unique set of challenges to your relationship. Partners often have challenges in blending parenting styles, since those styles and methods were otherwise developed with another partner or by themselves. A “my way is right” mentality is hard to break and can easily create division in a relationship. Also, spouses who do not have children might feel marginalized or dismissed since they have not raised children of their own. Lastly, having visitation and custody variations can produce stress and complication on a regular basis. Other significant issues to consider include:
- Custody issues
- Step-parenting adjustment
- Ex-spouse manipulation
- Step-child(ren) integration
Codependence is the unhealthy and excessive reliance on another for emotional stability. This is not the same as interdependence. Interdependence is when two people depend on one another while also maintaining their own emotional independence. Codependent people are often emotional chameleons and modify their emotions to fit the emotional states of others. Many times this is a survival mechanism to help maintain safety. Typically codependence is involved where there is addiction or illness. This dynamic wreaks havoc in many relationships and can be very difficult to break patterns.
Marriages deal with in-law issues concerning a variety of circumstances. The difficulty often arises because you may have a very strong allegiance to your family while your spouse may have a very negative view of them. The two most significant sources of love in your life are at odds with each other. Consequently, issues surrounding in-laws can be emotionally volatile. You may be defending your spouse to your in-laws one minute and defending your in-laws to your spouse the next. More specific in-law issues revolve around caregiving for elderly in-laws, intrusive and controlling parents, and estrangement. All of which need sensitivity and understanding to work through.
Contact me today so we can work together for your relationship!