Is Your Relationship Strained And Lacking The Joy It Once Had?
Do you and your partner argue a lot? Are you both constantly in conflict? Perhaps you fight about different values or about issues like your parenting styles. Maybe you work in a high-stakes career field, such as law enforcement, and the stress is slowly wearing at your relationship.
If your relationship has been strained for a while now, your unresolved issues might feel gridlocked. You probably feel like you’re alone and worry that your union may not last.
Maybe you’ve tried everything unsuccessfully to improve things on your own and you’re hoping that couples therapy can finally offer you some real support.
Signs That Your Relationship Has Been Struggling
In your relationship, you may not be getting a lot of positive interactions with your partner, and over time, this may have left you feeling anxious and even paranoid. Because we as humans crave relationships, you may find yourself missing other people in your life that you used to have stronger ties with like friends and family.
You may be thinking about all of your interests and things you used to do for fun that you haven’t done recently because worrying about your relationship has taken up so much of your time. Perhaps you’ve abandoned parts of yourself that you miss dearly, such as your creative, social, or spiritual sides.
Your needs are most likely not being met emotionally or physically. You may not want to be touched physically by your partner because of all the unresolved pain and frustration that comes to the surface.
Couples therapy with Wright Choice Counseling can help you and your partner learn how to prioritize and take time for their union above life’s other responsibilities. Your relationship can experience the joy that was there when you found each other and excitedly started building your lives together.
Some Relationships Take Extra Work, But They’re Still Worth It
Hallmark movies don’t show how hard marriage is. People are rarely honest about their struggles even to their friends (much less their partners). The truth is, we are all human, and being in a relationship means we will have differences in important things, such as our personalities and our values.
Even with shared compassion, honesty, openness, and a commitment to your union, it can be difficult to find a compromise that makes both people happy. Having children can add an extra layer of stress based on individual parenting styles. Raising children, while fulfilling and joyful, can also impact couples’ time alone together for their shared hobbies or interests.
Certain Careers Can Impact Relationships More Than Others
If one or both partners work in high-stakes careers, like lawyers, doctors, and first responders do, being a respectful and compassionate partner at home during non-work hours can be difficult. Constant stress and trauma can impact a person’s ability to listen and be present with their partner, as these issues can even linger long after the work day.
I’ve worked with corrections officers for years, and I understand how hard it is for someone to improve their partnership when they’re exhausted. People in high-stakes, stressful career fields often see their co-workers as their family, and those bonds can become very close. The boundaries of work and personal relationships often become blurry.
They may avoid talking about things with their spouse as they don’t want to trouble them with the trauma or chaos of their job, instead relying on their “work family” for support.
If you‘re like most couples, I bet both of you think you are right about how to fix your problems, and you are—you just have different opinions. Couples counseling can help you develop the tools to work together—differing opinions, careers, and all.
Therapy Can Teach Partners To Give Each Other Grace And Space
At Wright Choice Counseling, our favorite clients are helpers. They’re the doctors, first responders, corrections officers, teachers, and selfless parents who give all day and pour from an empty cup.
It is important to learn when to face conflict and know when to give your partner space to process their day and their experiences. As a therapist, I call this grace and space because it enables couples to accept that problems arise that have nothing to do with their relationship and to not attach to their partner’s reactions when they are stressed.
During therapy, I will encourage you to find the faith within yourself that enables you to give your partner their own space and even forgiveness.
Methods That Improve Communication And Your Bond
When we begin therapy sessions, I will make sure we spend time building rapport and ensuring that I am a good fit for you both. Be assured that I never take sides or assign blame when listening to your story. During sessions, we will establish your goals and work toward improving your marriage utilizing a variety of counseling techniques.
Gottman Method for Couples Therapy encourages developing goals that will improve your partnership. I will teach you how to have a stress-reducing conversation and truly listen and connect with your partner about their day instead of giving advice and shutting the conversation down. This method takes your strengths and weaknesses as a couple into account which can help you see when you’ve succeeded in the past and when your conflict resolution habits need improvement.
I utilize Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for couples therapy. With this method, I teach couples how to put their worries in a sort of “container” between sessions to create a calm-down space that gives them a better chance to have positive interactions at home. In some cases, I offer separate EMDR sessions to process the trauma, anxiety, and depression that may impact your marriage.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is a process where we explore your thoughts and feelings, and look at any behaviors, fears, or worries you have attached to them. When you identify distressing thought patterns that don’t help solve your problems, you can make an effort to break free from them.
You may think you’re the only couple that struggles, but you’re not alone. Many couples hesitate to seek help because they’re worried about what counseling sessions will reveal. However, I assure you that there is nothing you can say to me that will make me judge you, fall over, roll my eyes, fall asleep, or laugh at you or your partner. I’ve heard it all! Just the same, I won’t ask you or your partner to do anything I wouldn’t do.
My husband and I went through marriage counseling, and it truly helped and saved our partnership. This process may seem daunting, but it can be the catalyst in your relationship to have more physical interactions, more joy, and more of the spark that brought you together in the first place.
You May Still Have Questions About Couples Counseling…
Is there a certain number of sessions we should expect before we see improvement?
We can’t predict how long therapy will take because each situation and couple is different, however, we can give you an idea of what to expect.
I utilize the Gottman method, which does follow a specific plan for the first few sessions of marriage counseling. The first session is a 90-minute couples’ session with both partners present. We will review the oral history of your relationship. The second two sessions are 45 minutes each with both partners separately. Sessions typically follow a weekly, 90-minute format after these initial visits.
Is there a quicker way to make progress?
Yes, as I offer Couples Weekend Workshops or Marriage Intensive Retreats at our beautiful office in Vandalia, Illinois. Our intensive couples therapy program lasts two days, both 6 to 8 hours long, where you both quickly develop solutions to the issues that brought you to therapy. We will make these days very special for you! If this location is too far of a drive for you both, we can even do this via telehealth. I am fully licensed in Illinois and Washington state for telehealth therapy.
What is the cost of couples therapy?
Think of counseling as an investment in your relationship’s future, the benefits of which can last throughout your whole marriage. There are slightly different levels of services based on the duration of your sessions. I recommend following the Gottman method at 90-minute sessions for $225. However, 50-minute sessions are also available at $200 per session.
Additionally, our intensive couples therapy has special pricing. Read more about our retreat option here or reach out to our practice for more information.
Let Us Help You Revitalize Your Romantic Partnership
You’re in your relationship for a reason, and despite all of the struggles you may have faced, talking to a couples counselor can help bring you both back to a place of understanding, compassion, and love. Reach out to Wright Choice Counseling at (618) 699-8874 for a free, 15-minute consultation to learn how our approach to therapy can help your marriage.