Couples & Marriage
Do You Feel Stuck in Negative Patterns in Your Relationship or Marriage?
- Are conflicts between you and your partner growing increasingly hostile?
- Do you and your partner have fundamental differences of opinion regarding things like parenting, finances and the in laws?
- Do you often feel hurt, belittled and ashamed in your relationship?
- Do you fear that you might have chosen the wrong partner?
- Do you long to rekindle love, admiration and mutual respect in your relationship or marriage, but fear that it’s too late to repair the bond between you and your partner?
When you’re struggling in your relationship, you may feel lonely, confused and misunderstood. Although your relationship might have seemed blissful and effortless in the beginning, it may have gradually degraded into escalating conflict. Perhaps you and your partner constantly argue, fight and bicker and often walk away from confrontations feeling hurt and misunderstood. These arguments can be about seemingly trivial things, but they can also include longstanding disagreements about finances, parenting and infidelity.
What’s worse, you may feel trapped by the level of hostility in your relationship. Perhaps you walk on eggshells around your partner, fearing that you might say or do something wrong that will result in a fight. You might even avoid speaking to your partner altogether, perhaps finding that it’s easier to live your life in silence than it is to risk having yet another misunderstanding. As a result, you might feel lonely and disconnected from your partner and fear that he or she no longer loves you. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about ending the relationship or marriage, but can’t fathom being alone and having to start all over again. You may passionately hope to bring love, kinship and equality back into your life, but worry that you’re inherently flawed and incapable of cultivating happiness.
Relationship Conflict Is Normal
If you’re feeling ashamed of the level of conflict in your relationship or marriage, the good news is you’re not alone. Almost every couple has disagreements, which seems to be a natural byproduct of living and loving together.
In a relationship, each partner brings to the table a unique set of experiences, values, personality traits and cultural backgrounds. These differences can cause you to clash with your partner, and you may start to argue about fundamental lifestyle choices, such as the proper way to raise your children, the best way to manage your finances or the relative level of autonomy and closeness you want to experience in the relationship.
The mere fact that conflict exists in your relationship is not a cause for concern. However, what can determine the overall health of your relationship is how you choose to manage conflict. Thankfully, Austin Family Counseling (AFC) can provide you with the tools you need to better manage conflict and make your disagreements more productive.
Couples Counseling Can Help You Become a Better Communicator
When you’re struggling in your relationship, you may feel as though you’re trapped in a perpetual state of conflict, constantly bumping up against the same old negative patterns that play out between you and your partner. However, couples counseling can help you identify the emotions and the unfulfilled needs, wants and desires that may be driving the discord in your relationship or marriage. With the help of a couples counselor, you and your partner can express your emotions and tell your life stories without fearing blame or criticism. Through a thoughtful process of introspection, you can begin to recognize and honor each other’s experiences and cultural backgrounds, as well as explore any past traumatic experiences that may be influencing the way you relate to the people you love. Doing so can help you engender more empathy and understanding in your relationship, in addition to challenging any negative beliefs you have about yourself and/or your partner.
You won’t just be engaging in insight-oriented talk therapy at AFC. You’ll also be learning concrete skills, tools and strategies in couples counseling that can help your relationship thrive. With your couples counselor serving as your coach and guide, you’ll have the opportunity to work through your issues by practicing, observing and reflecting on conflict resolution strategies during sessions. You can also learn to read your partner’s verbal and non-verbal communication cues so that you can become more sensitive to what he or she is feeling. We can teach you how to build and renew each others Love Map. Last but not least, you can have productive arguments that lead to compromise and solutions, rather than having massive showdowns that devolve into blaming, name calling and criticism.
At AFC we offer a warm, compassionate and judgment-free approach. Your counselor will remain neutral throughout the process and will never take sides. Rather than blaming one person for the problems in your relationship, your counselor will show you how both parties contribute equally to conflict. We offer a safe and supportive environment where you’ll be free to both laugh and cry and say that things you always wanted to say but were perhaps too afraid to express. Through our strength-based and client-centered approach, we help clients identify their goals and find the answers to their own questions.
Regardless of whether you fall in love with your partner all over again or decide that your relationship isn’t working, positive transformation is possible with the help and support of couples counseling. By journeying on the road to healing with your AFC therapist, you can begin to make choices that honor your full authentic self and your desire for finding happiness. If you’d like to understand more about this counseling process, please check out the Wikipedia article explaining Couples Counseling.
Perhaps Couples Counseling Seems Like a Good Option, But You Still Have Questions and Concerns…
Our relationship is hopeless. Couples counseling can’t help us.
Although you may feel hopeless now, there are options and tools available to you that can improve your relationship or marriage. Our therapists have witnessed even the most troubled couples turn their relationship around and find solutions that work for them. As long as you’re committed to regularly coming in to sessions and practicing the tools at home, it’s possible to experience similar results.
We tried couples counseling in the past and it didn’t work for us.
If you tried couples counseling in the past and did not find the solutions you were looking for, it’s possible your therapist used an approach that wasn’t right for you. When you make your first appointment at AFC, our intake specialist will match you with a therapist whose approach is best suited to meet your unique needs.
Couples counseling is too expensive.
While counseling can be expensive, ignoring the problems in your relationship can result in untold consequences for your family down the road. Seeing a counselor will be an important investment in the longevity of your relationship. Don’t delay for tomorrow what needs to be done today.