Happy Couples Can Handle Conflict
All couples experience conflict, married or not. Whether it’s a minor squabble, an argument that you feel like you keep having over and over and over again, a lacking sex life, financial issues, or something else, relationships can be stressful. What matters is how you handle conflict. Navigating life together and all the ups and downs of relationships can take their toll on anyone. For some, that means you grow apart; for others, it means you realize you’re not as compatible as you thought. For all, couple and marriage counseling can help you manage conflict in a healthy and productive manner.
Couples counseling, also known as marriage counseling, allows you to work out your issues with your significant other in a safe space with a non-judgmental counselor who can help you heal any old wounds or lingering resentments and more forward to a happier, healthier future. A couples counselor won’t take sides, but rather, give you both the space to talk and be heard and show you both compassion. They won’t let one person speak for the other, but ensure that both of you are able to voice your thoughts, feelings, and concerns.
Marriage counseling helps you both build better communication, better understand each other, and gain insight into what adjustments need to be made in order to improve your relationship and help you both avoid conflict in the future and handle it better when it does arise. It explores the reasons behind negative behaviors or perception and works to increase how much you respect each other and how close you are.
Knowing if You Need Marriage Counseling
Many couples struggle for years before they contemplate couples counseling. It’s a common assumption that only couples on the verge of divorce need marriage counseling. The truth is that any couple that feels as though they need help understanding each other and problem-solving can benefit from couples counseling. Couple counseling is meant to help you both learn more about each other and learn healthier problem-solving techniques.
Any couple that has a history together may be able to benefit from marriage counseling. People will seek counseling prior to marriage in order to ensure that they are compatible, prior to divorce in order to see if they can salvage their relationship, for any relationship issues, to learn more about their relationship dynamics, to strengthen their emotional bond, or, if they know they want to break things off, to be able to end their relationship on friendly terms.
Any couple that is experiencing tension or conflict can benefit from marriage counseling. Some common reasons why couples seek out marriage counseling include:
- Communication issues
- Frequent conflict
- Conflicting ideas on major life choices, such as whether or not to have children
- Financial issues
- Power struggles
- Anger issues
- Substance abuse
- Sexual dissatisfaction
- Becoming indifferent to your significant other
- Lying or secret keeping
- Animosity/seeing each other as the antagonist
- Major life adjustments
- To understand each other better
- To find new ways to connect
- To increase intimacy
You don’t need to wait until issues descend into a crisis that threatens your relationship to seek out couples counseling. Indeed, the sooner you seek out counseling when tension or conflict enters your relationship, the easier it will be to resolve your issues.
Couple counseling can be very beneficial to help relationships heal, to bring you closer together, as well as to help you end a relationship on respectful terms. However, in some cases, such as abusive relationships, couples/marriage counseling won’t be enough, and the therapist will work to help the victim to separate themselves from the abuser and connect with helpful resources if their safety is threatened.
Couples counselors typically keep their opinions about your relationship to themselves. They believe that any decision, such as whether or not to get a divorce, is something that only the two of you can make for yourselves. Their purpose is to create a space where both of you can express yourselves, have your feelings validated, and help you improve communication and problem solving.
Is it Worth It?
Couple counseling can be more than worth it, provided that you both are committed to improving your relationship and sticking to treatment. It’s normal for couple counseling to feel uncomfortable when you are working through conflict, but studies show that it has a markedly positive effect on relationships.
Couples therapy can be very effective when both people in the relationship feel like they can trust the therapist, they are both invested in treatment, they are both able to take accountability for their own roles, and they are both willing and committed to putting in the necessary work not just in the sessions themselves, but also outside of the counselor’s office.
Couple counseling is personalized to you and your relationship, so how long it takes will depend on the issues you both are facing and how committed you are to enacting change. There are multiple different couples therapy methods that your therapist may use, depending on your relationship. They will adjust their methods in order to ensure they are using what is most effective for you both, and you both should feel comfortable telling your counselor if something isn’t working, so they can make any necessary changes or try a different approach.
Couples/marriage counseling can help you learn more about each other, the strengths and weaknesses in your relationship, what changes you both should make in order to become better partners, and what you can do to improve your relationship. How committed you are to it greatly impacts whether or not couples counseling is or is not effective or worth it to you. Provided that you are both willing to work towards your goals, couples/marriage counseling can strengthen your relationship and your respect for each other.
Restore the Romance at Ogden Psychological Services
Here at Ogden Psychological Services, we provide couples counseling. It’s important to work with skilled couples/marriage counselors who know how to work with couples, so that you both feel safe and heard in sessions and there is no taking sides. Contact us today to learn more about our couples counseling services and let us help you restore the romance.