Couples Counseling: relationships take work

If you’re in a relationship you know that they aren’t always sunshine and roses. As individuals we have our quirks and our habits, but when merging a life with someone else those individual characteristics that were fine for just you may cause sparks with your partner (and vice versa). When two people come together there’s a different dynamic at play. We are no longer the lonely island that goes with whatever the wind may bring. We are now two sailboats tethered together and when the waves of discord come coordination is needed to keep afloat.

Any couple no matter their background is going to have challenges when forming their life together. They may be minor and not result in any deep cuts or lasting hurts, but there is always an adjustment period – and that is healthy! When coupling we are changing and evolving to a richer and fuller life with a trusted partner.

While there’s no ‘perfect’ way to adjust, there are ways to calm the waves. For many years the main goal for couples in counseling was to work on communication issues. Poor communication was long touted as the villian in the story of relationship discord, however that’s not the whole picture. Many couples who are excellent at articulating their thoughts can still have deep emotional pains and unmet needs from their partners. So what’s missing?

While communication is important, the emotional connection is key. One of the more effective and time honored ways that couples find healing is through something called Emotionally Focused Therapy, developed by Dr. Sue Johnson. This therapy focuses on the attachment needs of each person in the couple and truly gets to the root of relationship discord.

It’s so clear to me, with the couples that I’ve seen, that there is love and a desire for deep connection. The pain of the moments, and the memories of hurtful words shared or disappointments festering are masks for the need for the other to be there for them.

If you’re struggling in your relationship please don’t give up. And even if you’ve not giving up on the relationship but you’re starting to give up on the idea of a happy relationship then know too that this doesn’t have to be.

We’re the most advanced species on the planet, we can get people on the moon. In fact, people have been on the International Space Station constantly for 15 years. Since 2005 all humans have not even been on the same planet. If we can figure out how to do THAT, then we can figure out how to improve the relationship with the love of your life.