A marriage or romantic relationship always has its ups and downs along the way. However, how do you know when you need to seek professional help? What are some of the most common challenges faced by couples? We are counting down this week, to the top 10 problems discussed during couples counseling. Here are the most common challenges brought in front of a therapist.
1. Wanting Their Partner to Change
Many of our clients have the assumption that a counseling session will bring about the changes they want to see in their partner. They think that a counselor can utilize their strategies to change their spouse’s behaviors such as lousy spending habits or listening skills. However, they become disappointed because the focus is on the relationship itself, not on any particular person. For a marriage to flourish, it takes both individuals within it to make the changes. Both partners need to come together as a team to improve upon their behaviors and perceptions about every facet of their relationship.
2. Neglecting Your Role
Therapists specializing in couples counseling often see partners ignoring their role in their relationship when they come in for a session. It becomes a game of “he said, she said,” and the therapist becomes a referee to a full-on debate. Often, both partners forget their involvement in the challenges they face as a couple and begin to point fingers at each other’s faults. Ideally, a couple should be focusing on their contribution to the problem instead of finding validation for their point of views.
3. Having and Keeping Secrets
Dishonesty and betrayal is the most prominent challenge faced in couples counseling. The act of lying and infidelity can break bonds and annihilate relationships that were once thought to be in for the long-haul. When a client decides to keep secrets from their partners, they are ultimately breaking the integrity of the relationship. It is a problem that is very serious and has the implication to collapse the basis for a relationship. As cheating and lying break the trust and the bond of a relationship with resulting in broken marriages and relationships, it becomes a top priority for couples counseling sessions. Each clinician has their unique way of extracting secrets to salvage a relationship and help a couple facilitate changes they need.
Couples counseling sessions are critical to improving broken relationships. However, to implement real changes, both partners must be accountable for growing and changing. Many of our clients find it much more difficult to follow through than just agreeing to the changes needed in a relationship. Many of our Houston therapists suggest specific strategies for couples to act upon and practice. They must learn to have the patience for each other’s growth as partners. Otherwise, these partners may never resolve the challenges in their relationship.
5. Abusing Your Partner
Whether its physical or emotional abuse, clients that come in for couples counseling for these challenges often find themselves facing imminent separation or divorce. The therapy session may, in turn, become individual therapy sessions for the abuser to deal with their anger. Aggressive behaviors and words are deal-breakers in relationships, even in lesser forms such as blaming, insulting, accusing, and taking anger or frustration out of the other partner. Couples will go through individual training to build essential skills for healthy communication, as well as learning to take responsibility for their emotions in stressful situations.
6. Negative Partner
Even though there are no perfect relationships, a significant relationship should have the fundamentals of positive communications, interactions, and emotions. We often see clients who are frustrated and tired of the nagging, criticizing, and insulting that plague their relationship. One of the partners may not even know that they are a negative partner. Therefore professional help is sought to address the real problems that are harmful to a marriage or partnership. Couples counseling services often treat these challenges with strategies to communicate and cooperate in a positive light.
7. Aggressive Controlling
Possessiveness and aggressive controlling are very detrimental to marriage relationships. When a partner wants perfectionism and has preferences for their mate to be a certain way, it may be a matter of time before a breakdown occurs within the relationship. Excessive control can lead to resentment, anger, and negative behaviors. When clients come in with these challenges, our experts in couples counseling will help couples pinpoint the real issues behind a partner’s controlling behaviors.
8. Lack of Boundaries
It is common for romantic partners to see therapists just because of the lack of boundaries in their relationship. There is always one spouse who tries to control and change the other, often with good intentions. However, when the controlled spouse lacks the skills to communicate his or her boundaries, it is a matter of time before the controller makes it a habit or gets carried away with their dominating ways. Our couples counseling therapists will work with partners in realizing that the only thing they can change is themselves
Sexual intimacy, more than conflicts about money, is the number one issue married couples bring to couples counseling sessions. It is a difficult challenge in the current status of our fast-paced culture. Couples cannot seem to figure out the time opportunities or the lack of interest they have about being intimate with their partner. As such, relationships are suffering due to the absence of sexual connection. Add children and stress from our careers into the mix, and we have a crisis on our hands.
10. Inability or Unwillingness to Forgive
People make mistakes in marriages and relationships; however, if a partner cannot let the issue go and forgive the other, then the relationship is headed for trouble. The foundation of stable relationships is the ability to forgive, forget, and grow together despite our mistakes. Couples who find themselves seeking professional help because of their inability or unwillingness to forgive have an uphill battle to go through.
What are challenges are you facing individually and with your partner? If you need help in any of the above areas, you can contact us at the Grief Recovery Center in Houston, TX for more info today.