Your relationship is important to you, and you know that the health of your relationship has a trickle-down effect on your entire life! The purpose of couples counselling is to provide you with the skills and techniques you need to help your relationship not just survive, but thrive. Even during a rough patch. But how do you know when it’s time to call in the professionals? In the following article, you will learn the signs you need to be on the lookout for. But of course, it’s also important to remember that couples counselling isn’t just for relationships on the rocks, it is for all relationships!
You’re Bartering With Your Affections
Getting a little annoyed with your partner is one thing, but withholding affection to prove a point is an unhealthy habit. For many couples this means that intimacy as simple as holding hands or hugging is taken off the table until the issue at hand has been resolved.
This type of dynamic enacts a “parent” or “punisher” role where one partner quite literally starves the other partner of physical affirmation of their love. This leads to a highly unbalanced relationship where even the most basic intimacies are associated with negative emotions.
During couples counselling, our trained counsellors help you develop other ways of expressing your emotions that do not harm your relationship in the long run. Often, long term bartering with emotions leads to decreased sexual activity in your relationship.
You’re Not Forgiving and Forgetting
When it comes to strengthening your relationship, forgiving is fantastic, but if you’re not forgetting as well your relationship will be unable to move forward. Relationships are messy. They are made up of two individuals, with their own unique set of circumstances. Whether it is in the first month or the first year, mistakes are going to be made. Forgiving and forgetting these transgressions is the only way to move forward. With couples counselling you can engage in constructive conversations that allow you to fully let go of the past.
Not only does couples counselling make it possible for you to forgive your partner for past wrongdoings, but it can also help you forgive yourself. Chances are you are entering your relationship with a lifetime of experiences of your own. Whether you need help processing these experiences, or even forgiving yourself for them, our therapists will help you accomplish this goal while strengthening your relationship and your self-esteem.
You’re Not Communicating
It almost goes without saying (pun intended) that if you are your partner aren’t speaking, then it is time to call in the professionals. It is important to recognize that communicating and speaking are entirely different. Deciding who is going to pick up the dry cleaning isn’t going to solve your differing opinions on financial decisions. It is understandable that a lot of couples genuinely believe that they are speaking, yet once they begin examining their dialogue they quickly realize that they are either speaking only of negative topics, or in a way that does nothing to improve or strengthen their relationship.
One of the main purposes behind couples counselling is to learn effective communication. Phrasing your opinions and emotions in a way that builds up instead of tears down your partner is hugely important. For many couples, having a professional to guide these beginning conversations is an important first step in improving their relationship. Bear in mind that being afraid to speak your mind with your partner is just as harmful to yourself as it is to your relationship.
You’re Not Taking Ownership
“Well, if they just started doing (insert behaviour) I wouldn’t be feeling like this.” Your relationship is in need of professional help the moment you begin viewing your partner as the “enemy,” or as the “problem.” Couples counselling reminds you that you are two, unique individuals on the same team. It can be hard to gain perspective on your relationship as soon as the “It’s not me, it’s you” mentality rears its ugly head. This incredibly common style of thinking allows us to not have to take ownership over our own actions and behaviours. Instead, we place blame.
Attending couples counselling together will gradually help both of you take ownership for your own behaviour. At Capital Choice Counselling, our experienced therapists have years of experience helping couples reframe their way of thinking about both themselves and their partner in a more constructive way.
You Are Undergoing a Transition
For some couples change can be hard. Over the course of your relationship you are going to experience all sorts of changes from career moves to moving cities, from starting a family to sending your children out into the world. And while many of these will be reasons to break out the bubbly, chances are you are also going to experience sad events such as the death of a loved one, financial instability, or medical situations.
One of the many benefits of couples counselling is the coping mechanisms that you will learn to not just get through these transitory times, but strengthen your relationship during them. The vast majority of us do not respond to change well. Spending time with an experienced therapist will teach you how to provide your partner and yourself with the support that you need.
couples counselling can also help your relationship adapt to the new circumstances you find yourself in. It’s an undeniable fact that your relationship dynamic will be different as newlyweds and empty nesters. Learning how to revive aspects of your relationship, while continuing to grow as individuals, is a huge benefit in participating in couples counselling.
You Are Lacking Emotional Support
Where do you receive your emotional support from? For many of us, we rely on our partners to provide us with additional emotional support. And while relying solely on others to instill a sense of emotional well-being in your life is unsustainable, you should be able to expect a consistent level of love and support from your partner. If you aren’t, couples counselling may be able to change this. Emotional support can include feeling valued, and loved not just when you need it the most, but every day.
In a past article on health relationships, the ability to read between the lines was touted as a key indicator for a good relationship. There’s a pretty good chance that if your partner is experiencing emotional distress they might not be as upfront about it as they should be. Couples counselling can help you recognize that your partner needs your support, and provide you with appropriate actions and techniques for providing it. If you are finding yourself finding the majority if your emotional support from friends, family members, or other behaviours (shopping, eating, etc) it may be time to address the reasons your partner isn’t stepping up to the plate.
You Or Your Partner Is Having An Affair
Now, more than ever there is a wide spectrum of relationship styles. For example open marriages, polyamorous relationships, etc. However, if you and your partner are in a consciously committed relationship and an affair either has or might occur, couples counselling can help address the issues at hand. Affairs are not always sordid, hotel room dalliances. They look differently for every couple.
In fact, there are six widely accepted types of affairs. Often, the motivation behind the affair dictates the type. For example: lust, revenge, and emotional. Along with each different type of affair is a set of emotional and behavioural tendencies that needs addressing.
You Are Staying Together For The Children
One of the most widespread reasons to stick out a failing relationship is “for the children.” As parents you would do anything for your child – even co-exist in a loveless relationship. At this point there are several options for both you and your partner. The only wrong option is to not address the problems at hand. If your goal by staying together is to provide your children with a strong support system, stable home, and good leadership then undergoing couples counselling demonstrates all of these behaviours.
Couples counselling shows that you are willing to recognize a problem and take steps to resolve it. Marriage counselling is the ultimate problem solving exercise! Many couples believe that staying together for the sake of the children is a good thing. An objective third party can help you decide if you are in fact making the best decision possible. Children look to their parents to model healthy relationship behaviour. Ask yourself, what is your relationship demonstrating to your children?
Your Partner Asks For Counselling
Without fail, one of the most sure-fire signs that your relationship is in need of couples counselling is when one of you brings it up. If you feel as though your relationship would benefit from marriage counselling, chances are it will!