Relationships can be rewarding and a positive experience, but they are also hard work. They require time, patience, and forgiveness to keep them running smoothly. It takes a great deal of effort from both partners to have a happy, healthy relationship. We’ve all seen the movies where two people meet, fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after. When the relationship becomes serious, you may think “All we need is love”. While in the honeymoon stage, it’s easy to overlook your partner’s shortcomings or flaws. After the honeymoon is over; however, we may think “That little habit he has was kind of cute – until the millionth time he did it!” or “I didn’t mind that she didn’t pick up after herself – until we started living together and her stuff is everywhere!”
Unfortunately, many couples don’t go to therapy until a significant amount of damage has already been done to the relationship – typically after six years of damage. When dysfunctional relationship patterns have become deep-rooted, the emotional connection between partners has been severely weakened, and there is a high level of resentment toward each other due to unresolved past conflicts, there is a lot of damage to be repaired.
Couples counseling can be an effective way of repairing relationships, but it will only work if each partner focuses on their own role in the relationship and take ownership for their own behaviors rather than blaming the other partner or focusing on their behaviors. As a trained couples counselor, I’ll help you identify your areas of strengths and weaknesses, encourage you to work on yourself individually so you will be stronger as a couple, and focus on what you are responsible for and can change rather than placing the blame on your partner or trying to change your partner.
- work together to identify each partner’s strengths and how those strengths can be used to improve the relationship
- go through the “emotional baggage” that each of you bring into the relationship from your childhoods and past relationships and work toward letting go of some of the unhealthy baggage
- identify fair fighting rules
- learn more productive ways of communicating
- work on being proactive rather than reactive
- focus on improving yourself instead of focusing on what you think your partner needs to do
- learn each other’s love language and how to speak the language