“Six months ago, my husband of 20 years and I began living apart. We endured years of poor communication and broken dreams. As a last resort, I thought marriage counseling might help us, or at least allow us to end our marriage amicably. My husband and I now believe that seeking out couples counseling was one of the brightest moments in our marriage. We’re not only living together again, but have rediscovered our love for one another. And it feels like a healthier love than we’ve ever shared. Thank you more than words can say!”
Is your relationship out of control? Are you having the same argument over and over again? Does it feel like the passion is slipping away? Do you struggle with jealousy or anger?
It may seem difficult, if not impossible, to believe, but you can feel like the woman quoted above, who sent these comments to me after she and her husband completed couples counseling.
Is their relationship now perfect? No. But as she said, it feels like a healthier love than they’ve ever shared! These expressions of emotion are a testimony to two people who were willing to do the work and the power of couples therapy to help them recreate their relationship.
Whether you’re looking to:
- Resolve issues in a new relationship,
- Revive the spark in an established partnership,
- Prevent an impending divorce, or
- End a relationship on amicable terms,
Couples counseling can help you and your partner gain a better understanding of each other’s wants and needs, increase mutual respect, facilitate and enhance communication, and more readily experience and express love and happiness.
Successful Communication – The Foundation of Every Healthy Relationship
While respect and friendship are two key elements of a successful relationship, the prerequisite for both is communication. So this is the first focal point of the couples counseling services I provide… making sure you and your partner not only communicate with one another openly, but also helping you really listen to each other as well.
Successful communication begins with understanding “self-talk.” How do you speak to and about yourself? Are you realistic? Are you congruent (i.e., does your demeanor match your inner feelings)? If you don’t know your own wants, needs, and desires, and are uncertain about how you feel about yourself, it is next to impossible to communicate effectively with others and engage in mutually beneficial relationships.
Once we’ve worked to help you become aware of how you communicate with yourself, you can begin to communicate with others more effectively. Of course, while recognizing and being able to change your “self-talk” is a prerequisite for communicating successfully with another individual, it is simply a foundation for successful communications… There is an entire relationship to build or rebuild on that foundation.
When you speak with others are you listening to them? Do you check to make sure you are hearing them the way they intend to be heard? Are your own biases, beliefs, and perceptions getting in the way of hearing them clearly?
Seeing May Be Believing… But We See What We Believe
When a couple comes to me for help, I often serve as little more than a reality check for them at the beginning… The helpfulness of which should not be overlooked.
As a couples counselor, I do not take sides. And I don’t have the history or biases that partners have about each other. In other words, I’m neutral, and a truly objective, third-party is rare and extremely helpful when two people are trying to honestly evaluate their relationship.
What is commonly known as “projection” can be a huge issue in any relationship. When problems in a relationship arise, there is little to gain by placing blame. But it can be extremely helpful to know what problems are yours and what problems are your partner’s.
Having thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and beliefs about ourselves that make us feel uncomfortable and that we’d rather not share, is extremely common. However, rather than look at our issues squarely and deal with them, they are all too often projected onto someone with whom we’re communicating. Of course, this often leads to disliking that person for having the very issues we’ve erroneously ascribed to them.
For example, a not uncommon relationship scenario is when one partner tends to be controlling. Rather than see this tendency and acknowledge it, the person gets angry at their partner for trying to control them! It takes courage to see these tendencies in ourselves and work on overcoming them, and I support and encourage my patients as they learn the skills necessary to do so.
We all want to see the best in those around us and help the people we love be the best they can be. And we can!
By learning to recreate your relationship in the course of couples counseling, you’ll eventually be able to make your way back to the feelings you shared early on in your relationship… Except this time they will be even deeper and longer-lasting, as you’ll now have the skills and understanding to enjoy your life together and move lovingly forward into the future.
What If You’ve Decided It’s Too Late?
If you’re beyond contemplating the end of your marriage and need to begin the separation and divorce process, couples therapy can still provide support during a difficult transition and help keep the lines of communication open for your sake as well as for the stability of your family. It may even help avoid the hassles of mediation and litigation.
No matter what situation your relationship is in, it is never too early or too late to seek couples therapy. The right time is different for every couple and rarely does a couple seek counseling at the “right” time.
If you’re even considering couples counseling, there’s no time like the present to take the first step towards a more open, understanding, and respectful relationship. And, when it comes down to it, what do you have to lose by giving couples therapy a try?
Relationships Are Life – Make Yours the Best They Can Be!
Communication happens in any relationship. And working to enhance people’s communication skills and relationships is one of the most important aspects of the work I do in helping people live happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.
The therapeutic process involves several relationships:
- There is the relationship you have with yourself, which includes the relationship you have with your thoughts, feelings, and spirituality.
- Then there is the relationship you and I build together.
- And then there are your relationships with the numerous people in your life.
Each of these relationships is extremely important, and they all contribute to and feed each other, leading to a rich and full life experience.
How do you relate to yourself? Are you aware of yourself or only of “the others” in your world? How are your boundaries – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual? Do you let others “walk all over you”? Or, do you tend to offend others’ boundaries?
If you have difficulty answering these questions, or feel uncomfortable about the answers you come up with, individual relationship counseling and couples counseling can help.
What kind of relationship will we have in therapy? If you have experienced difficulties with others, chances are you’ll experience similar issues with me. How my patients relate to me is a mirror of how they relate to people outside my office. So, whether we talk about our relationship, or ones “out there” in your world, the therapeutic process happens.
The opportunity that therapy offers is that I will help you see the unbeneficial patterns in your relationships and work with you to find ways of relating differently so your needs are met in healthy ways without being wounded or wounding others.
As social beings, our lives are comprised of our relationships with ourselves and others. In a very real sense, our relationships define who we are and the lives we live.
Given how important relationships are to our happiness and fulfillment, shouldn’t you try to make yours the best they can be? Therapy and couples counseling can help you do precisely that!
If you think your relationship may be able to benefit from more honest and understanding communication — or any amount of communication — please feel free to contact me with your questions or to schedule a free consultation. I may be reached by phone at 408-257-2515, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.