If you have been sleeping on the couch, consider marriage counselling. If you have been wondering what it's like to be on one of those dating websites, consider marriage counselling. If you have told a good friend lately that life totally sucks, absolutely consider marriage counselling!
They say that the average couple waits for 6 years of being unhappy before they consider counselling. 6 years! That's a long time of bickering, fighting, sleeping on the couch and being lonely.
Marriage counselling isn't just for when things are really, really bad. Counselling is great and very helpful for all couples, whether the relationship sucks or not. A tune up or a check-up is often the term used. Premarital counselling for those just starting out can truly help couples face relationship challenges with a much better perspective.
So whether you are 22 or 82, just got engaged or married for half a century, relationship counselling can help improve communication, resolve those annoying conflicts and strengthen the love and bond.
Making changes in the way we communicate with our spouses or loved ones is hard. Really hard. In the heat of the moment, we tend to say anything to prove our point.
There are 2 words that we absolutely need to stop using today! Not tomorrow or not next week but eliminate it from our vocabulary starting right now. Using these 2 words will make those arguments even harder to resolve. And could just end up ruining your marriage.
So, what are the 2 words that I speak of? Here they are, and please take note of them: ALWAYS & NEVER.
"You ALWAYS say you are going to be on time, but you NEVER are!". Or, "You NEVER pick up your clothes off the floor!". Or how about this one, "You NEVER tell me I look pretty!"
How often do you use these 2 killer and totally useless words? Think back to your last argument. Did these words come up? I bet it did.
Using words like Always & Never, you are painting an entire wall with one stroke of the brush. Can you honestly say that "never" or "always" is 100% true? It may feel like that, but is it actually factual. By using always and never, you are overlooking the exceptions.
The natural response from a spouse when you use these 2 killer words is to be defensive. Up goes the wall. And you trying to get through that wall now is nearly impossble.
"You NEVER tell me I look pretty!", for example, brings in the entire history of the relationship in one quick sentence. It also takes away from how you feel right now. Today. At that very moment. You never tell me I look pretty, a natural response from the husband may be, "well, why start now!", shouting out of anger. A much more effective way of sharing how you feel and what you need could be something like "I would really like it if you told me sometimes that I look pretty. By you doing that, it makes me feel good and makes me feel like you actually find me attractive".
If ALWAYS and NEVER words are a significant part of your communication with your spouse, come and let's talk. We can practice on using effective communication and listening skills to improve your marriage. Until then, make note of it. Be aware of how often you use these 2 marriage killing words. You might be very surprised.
I often have couples come in for the first time, exhausted, stressed, beaten down and worried. Worried that therapy will not work. Worried that this will be a waste of time. That their relationship is destined to fail. No hope.
I expect couples to come for counselling feeling exhausted, stressed, beaten down and worried. Usually we wait until we have almost cracked before getting help. We use counselling as a last resort. So the big question is.. can therapy work? How successful is marriage counselling? Can relationships be saved?
My answer applies to 90% of couples. The answer is YES! But no way in heck if both partners don't give 110%. Marriages are tough. Really, really tough. Throw in some problems, communication chaos, bickering, fighting and the awful "4 horsemen behavior styles" those tough marriages just became even harder!
In therapy, I break things up. Big problems are just a bunch of small ones squished together. Trying to fix the big guy is overwhelming and daunting. But taking it by smaller pieces is a lot more manageable. Communication, commitment and trust is what we need to get the relationship to be built on. So we start with that and move on to how exactly we resolve conflicts, what really must be solved and what can we do to help the other live out their dreams.
But absolutely nothing will change in your marriage if you just rely on the 60 minutes or 90 minutes or whatever time we spend together. It's the hard work that both of you must do in between our weekly sessions. The homework. The assigned tasks. Some of it will be uncomfortable. Some of it will be enjoyable. Either way, it's there to help you and help your relationship.
If you are struggling in your marriage, don't wait until you are totally stressed out or when you feel that living in hell is better then living in your home. Get some unbiased help. Talk with someone who can help you and your partner take responsibility and make the necessary changes to be happy. Trust me, it can be done!