Happiness is one aspect of our lives that we all strive to achieve. Experiencing happiness in relationships is a different discussion. One route to feel that is through nurturing meaningful relationships. A strong relationship with people who bring joy into our existence makes us accomplish more activities, and make us maintain a healthy mind. These individuals could be our friends, co-workers, and loved ones, and they are our wellspring of love, support, and advice.
Psychotherapist and Counselor, Alina Apopei construes a good relationship in her words:
“Every relationship is different but there are main factors that contribute to strong relationships. Each relationship is built around trust because this enables us to communicate effectively and form strong bonds. A good relationship comes with a level of mindfulness that makes you aware of what you say and do and that helps to support a strong relationship.”
Without trust, a relationship can’t proceed to a higher level. But when the link is already started, you should still be consciously careful (without lying) of what you say and do because this can make or break the relationship.
You place great value in your commitment and your vow to make the relationship work and you sacrifice a lot in order to make it long-lasting. If our relationship fails, we try to analyze what went wrong and this could result in disappointment, deterioration of our self-confidence, leaving us to our lonesome selves again.
Alina further adds, “Respect plays a huge role in a healthy relationship because it means that there is an understanding between each other regarding values and specific needs. Finally, good communication helps people to form a bond and so, being honest and open helps to enhance the connection, which leads to relationships that stand the test of time.”
Aside from trust, Alina’s regard for respect and honest communication is also crucial to enhance the relationship. With all three: trust, respect, and honest communication forming a formidable bridge to link you strongly with a colleague, friend, or partner, your relationship will last for the rest of your lifetime.
Taking into special account marital problems, couples therapy for relationship problems is a viable option that is readily accessible. There should be marriage counseling services nearby which you could enquire into.
When you are ready, you and your partner can fix any relationship conflicts. You can express your sentiments about what you expected from the relationship and you saw that it was not realized, or you are disappointed with what has been achieved. In marriage counseling, when you talk to a counselor, you will acquire the professional guidance and support that will smooth away the rough edges of your marriage. You will also come to realize your own shortcomings that will inspire you to change so that the path will be much smoother.
What is Marriage Counseling?
Another name for marital counseling is couples therapy. It has to a seasoned and well-trained psychotherapist who knows how to facilitate a dialogue between two people and at the same time help the couples confront their relationship problems, and then find solutions to those problems to place back their relationship onto a healthy path. It is a proven and safe method for couples to either make thoughtful and consciously driven decisions to solve their conflicts. You must make sure to vet a therapist who is seasoned and strong to do this type of work because it is difficult therapeutic work – very difficult from meeting with one individual. If the marital problems can’t be amended in a mature manner, they will be advised by the counselor to find ways to make divorce less painful.
Marriage counselors are also called family therapists or marriage therapists. They are licensed to provide professional marriage counseling services. Their career path has led them through several levels of education to attain graduate or postgraduate degrees in relevant fields. One such specialty is counseling, they pass exams to attain accreditation, and get to practice professionally.
Couples therapy is usually conducted within a short term period. Normally, both spouses go to the sessions, but sometimes only one of them decides to have one on one therapy with the counselor. Each case is unique, and there is no collective solution to all marital problems brought to the attention of marriage counselors.
What are the reasons why couples try marriage counseling?
Some couples seek advice before they get married or are in the midst of their marriage. Some seek solutions to problems in their sexual preferences or orientation with their partners. Whatever conflicts they have, in couples therapy, the counselor would be sure to be trained competently to handle all kinds of scenarios.
Marriage counseling works because the couples don’t have all the answers and solutions to themselves. They might not have expected problems to crop up, months, or years into the relationship. Their judgment might have been blurred early in the relationship because love was their only basis to commit to the other person. Marriage counseling will provide the right path to the couples, based on the competent training and experience that the counselors have acquired.
It is much advised that before tying the knot, couples should seek premarital counseling. Professional advice counts and will be much appreciated by the couple before they dive deep into the relationship. Many couples spend more money and time planning their wedding day, and miss planning and preparing for a marriage that is a lifetime relationship. Problematic angles they might not have seen will be made clearer to them by a therapist who knows how to help them, thus these kinks can be solved outright. Be sure to find the right therapist who knows and is experienced with couples.
Still, others who are already in the midst of their marriage months, years, or even decades – will find it helpful to seek marriage counseling to save the relationship. Some problems worth looking into are :
- Sexual problems
- Communication differences
- Anger management
- Substance abuse
- Different views in raising children
Domestic abuse can also be taken up, but if the damage has been so severe, marriage counseling can’t be the sole solution anymore. The police or local shelters may have to intervene and provide intervention.
Marriage counseling also provides opportunities for group therapy sessions with other couples. You can learn new skills such as :
- Communication of your views in an argument
- Open communication
During the sessions, you should learn to be about talking about every aspect of your relationship. If every detail is discussed, you can better understand the sources of the disagreements and conflicts. The couples will learn that their problems will not be solved if they keep putting the blame on each other.
You will both know when to stop when you start seeing differences and conflicts lurking on the horizon. You will know this is the best time to make a detour so that these problems will not emerge again and again to topple whatever gains you have made in your relationship.
Counsellor Linda Helena Boutet says that ‘counseling gives us all the opportunity to be true to ourselves and to our partner’. It makes us see more clearly what we are looking for in the relationship. It makes us look back to the past and into the present to analyze what mistakes we did and should not commit again so as to preserve the relationship.
In this way, Counselor Boutet adds that we strengthen who we are in the relationship, and we establish patterns of behavior that both you and your partner find comfort with. Counseling gives us a greater realization of the worth and value of our partner.
What are the benefits of marriage counseling?
- Conflicts are resolved in a constructive and healthy manner.
- You become a good listener because you learn communication skills. This improves communication with your spouse too.
- You state your opinions and views without anger or resentment clouding your judgment. Couples will get to develop a communication style with each other without ending is still in conflict and putting the blame on each other. They learn to step on the brakes when they sense discord coming up.
- You learn that unresolved issues should be discussed out in the open as early as possible.
- You learn that there is an avenue that you can openly express your feelings when you feel hurt. The counselor will guide you through this. Knowing your hurts, your partner can constructively work with you on how to deal with what you feel.
- You might also learn that you and the marriage counselor tried all the options available, but your partner is not willing to cooperate or not on the same level of commitment to make it work. The realization is that it is time to cut the relationship.
- You learn that you are assured that whatever happens in the sessions are confidential. That whatever you express during the session is something you have never talked about before. It is only with complete openness that all relationship problems start building the foundations again until it becomes stable once more.
You will have realized by now, that sitting on your relationship problems and letting them deteriorate is not a step in the right direction. It is time to say to yourself willingly “I want marriage counseling because I treasure this relationship.”
Let the mending begin. As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Toluca Lake, Burbank, CA in the Los Angeles area, I have nearly 22 years of clinical experience helping couples and adult individuals attain emotional stability, improve their relationships, enhance their communication, and their emotional connections. Contact me and find out how to repair, restore, and heal your marriage. In order to do this, one must learn new relationship skills.