Are You And Your Partner Struggling To Stay Connected?
Do you wish you could learn how to communicate with your partner productively instead of always having the same arguments over and over again? Are you feeling lost, lonely or discouraged in your relationship? Have you recently experienced a significant life transition, such as job loss, new job or a recent move? Are you trying to start a family, or alternatively, adjusting to having an “empty nest” now that your children have left home? Perhaps you are engaged and know you need to have some tough conversations with your partner to make sure you are both on the same page about marriage. Or maybe you and your partner have been together for years and desperately need someone or something to help you reconnect. Has there been a violation of trust or betrayal in your relationship? Are you considering divorce and wondering how to facilitate an amicable breakup?
Relationship Troubles Can Make You Feel Alone, Unhappy and Resentful
It’s not uncommon to feel lonely, hurt and hopeless when a relationship is in turmoil. Many people also feel afraid to talk about what’s not working with their partner. You and your partner might have the same arguments over and over, which can make you feel ultra-sensitive and unable to speak your mind and be yourself. Instead, it’s often easier to stay silent about things that may be important to you. Perhaps you are talking to your friends, family or coworkers about your relationship problems more than your partner. Things may have gotten so back that you feel relieved when your partner is not around. While sad, at least then you don’t have to worry about the inevitable tension and arguing that happens when you are together. If one or both of you have been unfaithful, it can be extremely difficult to forgive and trust again. You may even avoid your partner by working long hours or not coming home because you just can’t take the fighting anymore.
If you aren’t married yet, you may be nervous about discussing certain issues with your partner. Does he or she want kids? Are you on the same page about finances? Will you have a big, expensive wedding, or use that money as a down payment on a house? How much time will you spend with friends? While you may be very happy in your relationship, a little “hum” in the background could be reminding you that important issues need to be examined soon.
On the other end of the spectrum, you may be entering into retirement and find yourselves feeling separated and disconnected – at precisely the time when you finally have the opportunity to spend a lot of time together. You and your partner may have been together a long time and have not experienced much conflict in your relationship. But, without a job and kids to keep you connected, you’re wondering what this new stage in your relationship will be like.
Relationship issues affect everything about your life. You may be preoccupied, anxious or sad and unable to effectively focus on work and other relationships because the stressors in your intimate relationship take up so much mental space and energy. And, often stressors manifest in physical form such as gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, and poor self-care. The good news, however, is that there is help and hope. You don’t have to keep living this way.
Marriage Counseling Can Help You Feel Better And Connect With Your Partner Again
Regardless of what is transpiring in your relationship right now, couples therapy can help. In a safe, confidential and warm space, I can help you and your partner identify, explore and address what’s not working in your relationship and begin working toward healthy collective goals and solutions.
I believe in a structured and goal-oriented approach to couples therapy. Using Gottman Method Couples Therapy, you and your partner can learn to express appreciation and respect for one another, successfully manage conflict and use everyday moments to strengthen your bond. As we begin our work together, you’ll each complete an online questionnaire that assesses 19 areas of relationship satisfaction. This gives me an idea of your strengths as a couple and what areas we can improve on.
In marriage counseling sessions, I get right into skill building and teaching you tools that you can immediately start practicing in real life. I may ask you to discuss something in session that you have been disagreeing about so you can learn better, more effective ways to argue and then resolve conflict when you’re at home. At the base of all our work together, there will be a focus on strengthening your friendship. Things like date night and getting to know your partner better will become important priorities. When you struggle at home, I’ll ask you to jot down notes about what happens so that I can help you in session. The goal is to get to the point where I’m just coaching. You’ll use the tools you’ve learned to communicate more effectively and solve your own problems, and I’ll jump in if you need help. Soon, you won’t need me anymore because you’ll have learned new behaviors and have the skills needed to have disagreements without them turning into epic fights.
Marriage counseling can help you learn to listen and how to be heard. I often ask my clients to tell me how they met and fell in love, and often, just remembering these details changes their mood and perspective. You can remember and appreciate your partner’s good qualities – the ones that attracted you to him or her in the first place. You can learn how to lean on each other during the ebbs in your relationship instead of turning away from one another and feeling alone. Marriage counseling can help you feel happy, satisfied and fulfilled again. Every relationship has issues and it’s how you get through them together that matters.
You may be wondering if couples therapy could work for you and your partner, and still have some questions or concerns…
I’m afraid you will tell us to break up or get a divorce.
I am invested in your goals as a couple and helping you reach them. It’s not my place to tell you whether you should or should not be together. My job is to teach you skills and tools that can help you communicate better and more fully understand where your partner is coming from.
I’m afraid you’ll take my partner’s side. I don’t want to get ganged up on in therapy.
In marriage counseling, the focus is on your relationship. I don’t take sides. I’ll help you learn to take a step back and look at your strengths and weaknesses – both as a couple and as individuals – and determine how we can build on the strengths and improve the weak links in your relationship.
I check in with my clients constantly. If something is not working or we’re just not a good fit to work together, I’ll be honest about that, and you should be, too. We can switch things up or I can refer you to another therapist. Or, you might want to do some individual therapy before we get back into couples work. I want both of you to get what you need and want from a therapeutic relationship.
We’re smart people. Why can’t we just work our issues out by ourselves?
Unfortunately, we are not taught much in school about how the brain works. Marriage counseling helps you learn how to break the destructive and argumentative cycles that you and your partner may be stuck in.
The brain that creates a problem can’t be the same brain that solves it. We are all wired a certain way and have core beliefs we know to be true. Until we learn something new that shifts our understanding or perspective of our partner, we stay stuck in those cycles. In couples therapy, you and your partner can learn new, healthier ways to think and behave. With focused guidance, support and the willingness to do the work, you can have the happy relationship that you want.
I offer a free 15 minute phone consultation for couples who want to discuss if couples counseling is the next step for them. Call me at 714-390-1652 or email me here to schedule a time to speak and together we can discover what you need to get back on track before it's too late.