This is where our growth shows and our baggage; this is where our hurts rise to the surface. Relationships, especially the marital relationship, offer a tremendous support, when unconditional love is present. It is by far one of the greatest gifts of marriage, when this is present. Too many times though, our humanness takes over, and our love is conditional.
Conditional love can bring forth an unsafe environment. Couples then withdraw from one another, forgiveness lacks and resentments grow, the relationship suffers. In therapy, we look at where the individuals are, recognizing each person’s pain, as well as each person’s specific needs. Forgiveness is paramount. When couples recognize individually, what they are doing to make the relationship difficult; each must ‘look within’. It is also necessary to partner with your partner in all aspects of the relationship.
Whether we are working on parenting issues, resolving conflict, the finances, or intimacy in the bedroom, deciding to partner together is always desirable. My favorite expression in dealing with couples is, ‘Partner up!’ In therapy, we will fully explore what partnering up looks like.
If the couple is dealing with infidelity, there is hard work to be done. Willingness on both parties is essential. Trust has been broken. Clearly, rebuilding trust does not happen overnight.
If chemical dependencies are wreaking havoc on your relationship, both parties must be able and willing to get honest. If not, the unhealthy dynamics continue, and the numbing mechanism typically stays in place.
Although communication problems typically bring couples into the therapy office, the actual issues go much deeper. When couples fight, we all know that the fight is never about the ‘lasagna’! Effective communication, without being hurtful, can turn the communication problems around. When two people are committed to the therapeutic process, and both are willing to work on their part, we will get plenty of work done in short order. In working with couples, forgiveness and trust are key elements to success. Willingness to be purposeful is essential. Ridding the bitterness, re-building trust after forgiving hurts, and enjoying each other again, that’s what Couple’s Therapy can do.
Fighting is a normal part of being the couple relationship; however, some couples are terribly unhealthy fighters. We can change that with willingness and commitment. Using a WIN-WIN approach, those unhealthy fights can fade into disagreements.
Sexless marriages require hard work to recapture the blessings of marriage. Repeated rejections, hurts and resentments have gathered over time. Sexless marriages create isolation and loneliness. This process takes forgiveness, and a tremendous commitment and willingness to reconnect.