How Couples Therapy can Help you Reduce Conflict and Regain Intimacy
It’s natural that over time, many couples start to feel disconnected from one another. It may be the result of life changes (i.e. one of you starting a new career or a new baby is brought into the household), it may be a result of the relationship not going how you imagined it would when you first started dating or it may simply be that you and your partner have fallen out of sync. You’ll find yourself starting to fight more with your partner, feeling that the spark is dwindling, if not gone, and you’ll start nitpicking every little thing that each other does. Here at Solid Foundations Therapy, we strive to teach you how to recreate connection and improve your relationship.
When we go through life missing that sense of intimacy and connection to our partner, it starts affecting all the other areas of life in negative fashion. You’ll start exhibiting feelings of spite. Feelings of loneliness and disappointment will start to feel common. Arguments will become more frequent and communication will break down. Whereas before, you might have spent your time together cuddling on the couch watching television, you now find yourself isolated from your partner and feeling like you simply have a roommate. You might even start seeking attention from people outside of your relationships leading to future issues down the road.
When we first start dating someone, it seems so effortless. When we are in that beginning phase of a relationship, it’s fun. We are just getting to know someone and everything that we do with them is new. Life seems like an exciting adventure! A lot of times, we assume that it will always stay that way, but over time, we find that our relationship slowly seeming more like work than fun. Instead of just exploring the world together, we have to actually make the effort to keep that spark alive.
Maybe this situation sounds familiar to you? You have had a long week and are looking forward to kicking back and relaxing with your partner. You come into the kitchen only to discover that the counter is a mess and the sink is full of dishes. Almost instantly you find yourself in a bad mood but when you bring it up to your partner, they get defensive. Before you even know what has happened, your one little comment has escalated into a fight and the entire night is ruined.
Or how about this scenario? Maybe you used to think that you had a lot in common with your partner. You used to do things together all the time and spent hours talking about your future. Now it seems like even the smallest things become disagreements and that you can’t agree on anything. You seem to keep having the same fights over and over again – how to raise your kids, spending money, sex. You might even fight over what’s for dinner.
It could be that you used to feel like your relationship was filled with so much fun. That you and your partner were always laughing and couldn’t keep your hands off of one another. But now it seems like you are constantly on the go, running from one thing to the next. You barely have time for yourself, let along for your partner. At the end of the day, you want nothing more than to veg out in front of the tv. You’re lucky if you even make it through one show before falling asleep on the couch. Again, it feels like you and your partner have simply become nothing more than roommates instead of a singular unit.
If any of those sound familiar to you, know that there is help. Lots of people struggle in their relationships but very few are equipped with the tools needed to bring back communication and a sense of intimacy. We simply aren’t taught how to be in a healthy relationship. If you choose to stay in a relationship that isn’t flourish, over time you will find yourself in a place where you are lonely, disconnected from yourself and others around you. You might find yourself angry and questioning if you should even stay in your relationship.
But the good news is that you can still learn how to create a healthy relationship. This is where couples therapy comes it. I know that it can be scary to admit that you are struggling and need outside help. Coming to couples counseling does not make you a failure. In fact, it shows that you are willing to put energy into making your relationship work. By learning the right skills and tools, you can have the relationship you always dreamed of. The relationship that you and your partner deserve to have.
Keep reading to learn more about couples therapy and how it can restore your relationship and bring that spark back into your relationship.
WHAT IS COUPLES THERAPY AND WHY DO WE NEED IT?
Couples therapy or couples counseling / marriage therapy as it is sometimes referred, is a form of psychological therapy used to treat relationship distress for both individuals and couples. Couples therapy will help a couple learn to communicate better and allow them to truly hear one another and feel like their wants/needs are being validated. It helps a couple reconnect emotionally and physically , while also helping them to learn how to have fun again. Another benefit to couples therapy is that it will help heal past hurts -you know all the baggage you have picked up along the way- by addressing unresolved or stuck issues.
One of the best benefits to couples therapy is that by inviting an outside professional into your relationship, you have a neutral party. You don’t have to worry about the therapist picking sides or playing the “he/she said” game.
HOW DOES COUPLES THERAPY WORK AT SOLID FOUNDATIONS THERAPY?
It can be scary taking that first step in seeking help. But we are here to guide you through the process. The first meeting that we have together is an opportunity for you to share with your therapist the specific topics or issues that have brought you in and to establish your goals. After that initial meeting, your therapist will create a plan of intention consisting of what what they will teach you in order to help you reach your goals. This plan will also help to keep you accountable and know what is expected of you. You will be expected to focus on how you can improve yourself and your relationship. At the same time your partner will also be working on things they need to change in themselves and the relationship. We want to help you make real and lasting changes to meet your goals.
Some of the more common things that we share with our couples in therapy are ways to express yourself that will allow your partner to hear you, how to reconnect and have fun together, how to simply make time for your relationship, how to improve your sexual and emotional intimacy and how to bring your best self to situations.
We strongly believe that to be in a good relationship you also have to have a good relationship with yourself. A part of therapy with us also focuses on how to empower you within your relationship so that you’re not only dependent on your partner being different to be happy.
Something else that makes us unique is we are all Marriage and Family Therapists. MFT’s are the only mental health professionals that are trained specifically to work with relationships. This makes us uniquely qualified to help you work through the problems in your marriage or romantic relationship.
WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM COUPLES THERAPY?
Couples therapy works well for those that really want to make a lasting change in their life and are motivated to try to work with their partner. It works for couples who are both willing to work on their relationship and are committed to the process. You must be open to learning new skills and tools to help your relationship flourish and grow. Couples therapy also works well for individuals who are willing to look at their role within the relationship and take responsibility for what they can change.
WHO ISN’T A GOOD FIT FOR COUPLES THERAPY?
If you are only wanting to blame your partner for all of the problems in your relationship, then maybe you are not a good fit for couples therapy. For therapy to actually be successful, you have to take a introspective look into your own life to see in what areas you are struggling. If you are unwilling to make changes in your life or are not willing to commit to therapy, you may not be a good fit. You will feel very frustrated with the process if your goal is to go into your appointment with a list of complaints and expect your therapist to “fix” your partner.
To truly benefit from therapy, you must be willing to put in the time and effort. If you really think that your relationship is worth it, then show it! It may not be easy but therapists at Solid Foundations Therapy are here to help you along the way. We use the most up-to-date research to help couples learn the skills necessary to reduce conflict, regain intimacy, and improve communication.
WHAT RESULTS CAN YOU EXPECT FROM THERAPY WITH YOUR PARTNER?
After you and your partner start attending couples therapy and applying the skills being taught, you’ll find that you actually want to spend time together one again. You’ll feel closer to each other and it will feel like you have your friend back. Communication will open back up and each of you will feel like your wants and needs are being validated. There will be less fighting in your household and you’ll regain that sense of emotional (and sexual) intimacy.
Couples therapy will help you learn how to be a team with your partner. You’ll find that you can tackle any problem successfully, as long as you tackle it together. You’ll learn how to handle conflict in a productive way and be able to come to an agreement on challenging topics.
HOW DO I GET STARTED IN COUPLES THERAPY?
If you and/or your partner are interested in seeing if couples therapy will help bring that spark back into your relationship, the first step is to schedule an appointment with our office. Just by reading this blog post shows that you are wanting to make it work with your partner. Let us help you learn how to take responsibility for your relationship and become empowered to create the kind of relationship you deserve.
Click here to schedule your appointment with Solid Foundations Therapy today.