See a Couple’s Counselor Sooner Rather than Later

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See a Couple’s Counselor Sooner Rather than Later

A lot of couples get defensive when confronted with the idea of seeing a therapist. They say they are fine. There is nothing wrong with them. They don’t think their problems are all that bad. Seeing a counselor is thought of as a defeat, or that the couple or relationship is defective. Though not as strong as it was in the past, people still have a negative association with therapy. The truth is people see a therapist for all different kinds of reasons. There is absolutely no shame in it. In fact, admitting you could use professional guidance is a show of great inner strength. Just as we all have our own physical health problems, so too do we have our own mental health aberrations. No one is perfect. We are all human and so intrinsically flawed. But that doesn’t make us any less brilliant, capable, mesmerizing or worthwhile. No one can fault you for seeing a doctor, even if the health condition is minor. You don’t want it to get worse. A small injury if left untreated can get infected, even become life threatening. The same is true with your mental health, and the health of your relationship. Seeing a couple’s counselor doesn’t mean that the relationship is on its last leg.  It could just mean you need some direction on certain issues that you haven’t been able to make headway on, some professional guidance.

Divorce counselor and post-divorce advisor, Ian Oliver says he sees one couple even though they have a seemingly perfect marriage. “She says she always learns something that nurtures their relationship,” he wrote in the Huffington Post. “She considers it maintenance.” So couple’s counseling is not only for fixing problems. We can learn how we love and how our partner loves. This will allow us to see ways to develop the relationship we hadn’t seen before, and make it more fulfilling. All it takes is a little insight. It may also help you to notice when things are right versus when they aren’t. Sometimes one or both members of a relationship live in denial of a problem that gets bigger and bigger, until it tears the relationship apart. But understanding what your dynamic looks like when it’s humming along, and when things started to go wrong, can help diagnose problems quickly and work in a more effective strategy to deal with them. Most of the time however, the couple seeks out a counselor when there are major issues. They have tried but are at an impasse. Seeking out a therapist when things first go bad can help stave off the further complications that come from a problem that has grown beyond control.

There are times when we grow accustomed to unwanted behavior, live in denial or fail to see it for what it actually is, damaging to us and our relationship. You may not know why they act like this, or why you do. It can be hard to trace back certain behaviors, reactions or emotions to their origins. A good counselor or couple’s therapist can help you see these patterns and trace them back to their origins. Once you see where things stem from, you can develop strategies to deal with them. Sometimes couples seek out therapy after lots of things have been said that can’t be taken back. The counselor, in addition to being a professional, is also impartial. They are trained to pick up on unhealthy habits and behaviors. They won’t get caught on one person’s side. You can trust their impartiality and their professional training to help guide you. We all need to see the things from a new angle on occasion to get some perspective. The most important thing is to keep communicating with your partner. Be honest with one another. Try to work through your problems yourselves. But if you can’t, see a couple’s therapist before things start spinning out of control. Don’t wait until things have gotten way out of hand. For more help, read the book, Counseling and Therapy for Couples by Lynn L. Long and Mark E. Young.

Fixing a Marriage without Couple’s Counseling

divorce

Fixing a Marriage without Couple’s Counseling

It can seem difficult to recalibrate a relationship that’s seems broken, particularly a marriage. Though counseling can be worthwhile, it isn’t appropriate for many couples. One or both members feel that counseling isn’t for them. They see it as a defeat or only something for crazy people. Or they feel uncomfortable revealing the deepest, darkest parts of their marriage to a complete stranger. Instead, they would rather invest the time, energy and forethought themselves to fix the marriage. The truth is a marriage can be fixed without couple’s counseling.

Here are some steps that can help you bring your marriage back from the brink. First, it’s important to set aside some serious time to talk. It could be one day, once per week, an entire weekend, whatever is need to hash out the problems, outline negative behaviors each of you are exhibiting and unraveling them, and come up with a series of rules, guidelines and behaviors you both vow to take part in instead of those that are affecting the marriage. Once this is done, reconnect. Take a vacation. Go on a weekend getaway. Take a road trip or just spend some fun time together, away from kids and responsibilities, only focusing on each other.

Take a look at how the two of you communicate. Does one always interrupt the other, or worse do you interrupt one another? If so, practice listening to your partner with your full attention, not interjecting what you want to say, or how it really is. After each statement validate what they have said. Then talk about what you want to say. Expect your partner to listen without interruption and validate your statement. A lot of problems occur when one partner or the other feels like they aren’t being listened to, or their statement isn’t taken as valid by the other. Validation could be as simple as, “What I hear you saying is…” It may take longer, but in the end both parties will feel listened to and respected by the other.

Also, lots of marital problems like other problems are often rooted in misunderstanding. The validation process can show you the difference between what you say and how your spouse takes it, and visa-versa. By clearing up misunderstandings, you will not only learn to communicate with your spouse better, you will understand them better too. For more advice read, One New Habit to Fix Your Marriage: 10 Simple Steps to Put the Joy and Intimacy Back in Your Marriage by Grace Stevens.

Alleviating Marriage Boredom

relationship-difficulties

Alleviating Marriage Boredom

Lots of couples go through rough patches, ruts and what-have-you. Everyone is so busy nowadays, who has time to invest in a relationship? Most of the time we come home and all we want to do is eat, veg out on the couch for a little while and go to bed. But a marriage needs to be renewed with energy, vitality, interest, sexuality, amazing conversation, and even the sharing of food and ideas. Without these things a marriage is just flat. Alleviate marriage boredom by following these easy steps to reinvest in yourselves and make your marriage worthwhile.

First, work on yourself. Most people point the finger at their partner without realizing what issues they themselves bring to the table. Have a little time to reflect on what happens when you have arguments, what negative patterns there are, and how to counteract them. Then talk to your partner about it. Discuss the dynamics you’ve discovered and how you will neutralize them. You’ll be surprised but this very act may have them thinking about what they can do to improve themselves.

While you are getting in touch with yourself, get in touch with a sexual fantasy you want to try with your partner. And get in touch with your hopes, dreams and passions. If all you have or they have is the relationship that gets rather dull after a while. For heaven’s sake, what do you talk about over the breakfast table? But if you have a hobby or a dream to be fulfilled, invite your lover in and share that with them. Have one night a week where you invest in just the two of you. Turn off the TV that day and talk, have dessert, open a bottle of wine, look through old photo albums, act silly and have fun together. If you have the means go out. If not, find other ways to enjoy each other’s company.

Realize that relationships change and go through many phases. People’s wants and needs change over time. It’s important to stay in touch with your partner, who they are and how they are changing, and be okay with it, as they must come to accept who you are. If things aren’t the same, talk about it. Find ways to improve your life together. Encourage your significant other to chase their dreams and help them run after them. Expect them to do the same for you. Find something they’ve always wanted to try and do it with them. If absolutely none of these work for you, be sure to see a marriage counselor. But consider divorce the very last option. If you can reinvest in your marriage most times an awful lot will come back toward you. For advice on spicing things up in the bedroom read, Passionate Marriage: Sex, Love, and Intimacy in Emotionally Committed Relationships by David Schnarch, Ph.D.

Sexless Marriages Can Lead to Divorce

SEXLESS-MARRIAGE

Sexless Marriages Can Lead to Divorce

Most psychologists agree that sex is very important in a marriage. It helps create physical and emotional intimacy, human needs. But when a couple goes for a time without having sex, the longer they go the more ambivalent they feel about it and about one another. Distancing, a lack of trust and awkwardness can build up. When both partners ignore the problem or when the two fail to talk about it, and there is no exploration on pathways to become intimate, more stress is endured by the relationship. A sexless marriage therefore can lead to divorce. But it certainly doesn’t have to. If you have found yourself in a sexless marriage, try to employ some of these strategies in order to jumpstart your love life and rev things up, and get things humming in the bedroom. Many people are embarrassed about sexual issues. But the truth is if you attack the problem logically, like any other marital problem it can be observed, the phenomenon can be studied and the way forward will suddenly become clear. The first thing to do is to rule out any medical issues. A side effect for many common medications like heart medication or antidepressants is low libido. You or your spouse should talk to a doctor if you think that the issue may have something to do with the medication. Check with your pharmacist as well. What’s more, illness, side effects from a previous illness, and age-related problems can also sap sex drive. If none of these are the problem, and the issue isn’t physiological, then perhaps see if it may be psychological.

Consider counseling. A sexless marriage can be a symptom of a much deeper problem. Resentment, misplaced anger, infidelity, lack of trust or having one foot in and one foot out emotionally of the marriage can all cause a lack of intimacy. When arguments go nowhere the bond between the two is strained and sex is impossible. Seek out a licensed marriage counselor that you both trust. Therapy can definitely help you work out your issues if you are both committed to it, committed to the marriage and will take the advice the therapist gives. Now it’s time to look at how compatible your goals are. Those include goals within the boudoir and outside of it. Both partners should feel free enough with one another to talk about their wants and needs. Outside of the bedroom, what are your goals in life? What are your partner’s goals? Are you moving in the same direction or instead sailing apart? When a couple is moving in two different directions a sexless marriage may just be a warning sign of what is to come. If it’s just a matter of awkwardness, or lack of interest due to a lack of novelty, there are definitely some things you can do to rekindle that spark. Psychologists note that novel experiences taken together, such as doing something exciting like bungee jumping or white water rafting, traveling to a different place or a different country, something that gets your pulses alight and your hearts racing, can reignite that spark, both in and outside the bedroom. You’ll feel like newlyweds again.

If you want to reignite the spark inside the bedroom, try novel approaches to sex. Have a romantic dinner followed by wine or a few cocktails and enjoy your time together. Start talking about different fantasies. It’s a great way to reconnect, show trust, work together on common goals, and reconnect physically and emotionally. Get a list going and start to make plans to fulfill those goals. Do you or does your partner enjoy role play? What about elements of bondage or BDSM? In fact, a recent study found that couples who take part in BDSM have better communication, were closer and weathered storms in their relationship better. So taking part in such practices with your spouse in the comfort of your own home, or perhaps a hotel can really spice up the relationship, and let you see a side of your spouse that you perhaps never knew existed. There are books in your local bookstore. There are plenty of books online along with how-to videos, websites and more. If you can’t work it out but love each other and want to stay together, perhaps visit a sex therapist. A quick Google search can help you find licensed, reputable sex therapists in your area. You don’t have to stay in a sexless marriage. Get to the bottom of it and with some patience and lots of elbow grease, soon you won’t be able to get enough of each other. For more on this topic, pick up a copy of The Sex-Starved Marriage: Boosting Your Marriage Libido: A Couple’s Guide by Michele Weiner Davis.

Important Questions to Ask Before Getting Divorced

Warning-Signs

Important Questions to Ask Before Getting Divorced

Most people say “I do” thinking that this is the person they are going to spend the rest of their life with. But the truth is most of us are woefully unprepared for what marriage might throw at us. We aren’t taught about how to have healthy relationships in school. And most people don’t learn anywhere else but from trial and error. Our relationship toolbox is nearly empty when we enter into matrimony. Some couples find ways to navigate the unchartered waters of their marriage. Others get caught up on an issue and get stuck. Still others run into something that one or both parties simply can’t live with, and the marriage is sunk. Most people go to marriage counselors when they are at their wits end. They want to know how they can tell whether the marriage is over or if there is hope for renewal. The truth is that no one can answer that question for you. Only the two of you can answer it. It takes time, focus and asking the right questions before you decide to get divorced. The first question is do you really want to divorce or do you want the marriage to improve? It’s important to know one from the other. An unsatisfying relationship is one thing, but a dead one is another. Investing in a marriage counselor that you two both like and feel comfortable with is important. Perhaps even try two counselors before ending it.  But know when it is no longer able to be revived.

Make sure you have a licensed, practicing therapist who has had experience with your specific issues. Also, make sure you have a rapport with this person, and your spouse does too. You really need to trust your therapist for the therapy to work. If you really loved this person and you were devoted to them and vice versa then you have to ask whether you gave it your all to make the marriage work. Keep in mind that therapy is not like plumbing. A therapist can’t simply come in and repair it. Therapy is lots of hard work with uncomfortable steps that both parties have to be willing to take in order to reconcile and get the marriage back on track again. Both parties need to be able to commit fully and put forth the proper effort and care for this to succeed. Consider what the stress level is in your relationship. Do they ever drive you to the point of exhaustion, a blow out or even a breakdown? Certain stressors can cause a marriage to fail like unemployment, bankruptcy, infertility, miscarriage and more. These stressors can weigh a marriage down so much that it can end up killing it. Counseling is the best way to overcome these traumas. Have you examined how you engage negativity in the relationship? Take a look at your own baggage and what negative cycles you incite or exacerbate. Look to other problems such as standards that are too high, someone else getting in the way, and if you still love them before you decide whether or not to break it off.  For more advice, read The Four Factors: Should You Stay, Go or Improve Your Relationship? by Ron Gentile.