Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is a success.
– Henry Ford
DO WE REALLY NEED COUNSELING? Signs of relationship issues or weaknesses come in an infinite variety of forms. But one thing is certain: if these issues or weaknesses are not recognized and addressed, the foundation of your relationship will begin to deteriorate. These are some common signs that you and your partner should consider relationship counseling:
Negativity Shaming, judging, or degrading a partner through words or action, even if unintentional or unknowingly, creates hurt feelings and distress. What’s worse: it is cyclical, in that a person’s negative conduct towards his or her partner will engender both negative feelings and negative conduct in return. If this toxic cycle is not interrupted, the relationship will no longer be defined by love and respect, but instead hurt and disdain.
Not Talking or Fear of Talking Poor communication is one of the most common and difficult relationship problems. If partners in a relationship do not effectively communicate their thoughts and feelings, they will not feel understood or validated; worse, they will not feel loved or respected, and the foundation needed for a successful relationship will crumble.
Withholding Affection Partners will often punish each other for perceived slights by withholding the very affection that brought them together at the outset. While an understandable reaction to negative treatment from a partner, withholding affection usually only leads to more negativity, more perceived slights, and less affection.
Physical or Emotional Affairs The emotional complexities and dynamics that lead a partner to stray from a relationship are difficult to navigate. This includes anything from a “one-night stand” to a purely emotional affair. Whatever the situation, affairs are a sign of a serious underlying issue that must be addressed.
Keeping Secrets Honesty and openness are bedrock principals of a successful and loving relationship. If partners are keeping secrets from one another, the obvious question that must be explored is, why? If not addressed, the secrets will mount, distrust will build, and the relationship will suffer.
Fights or Dishonesty about Money Money is a common and obvious source of stress for couples. For both practical and emotional reasons, meeting in the middle on money issues is a must for a relationship to thrive.
Wishing He/She Would “Just Change” While it is normal to want and encourage your partner to be their very best, basing your relationship on an unrealistic expectation of what your partner could or should be is a sure recipe for dysfunction. If not addressed early on, these thoughts and feelings will mount over time, with the end result of disdain for your partner if they do not live up to your expectations.
DOES COUNSELING WORK? Yes. According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, “Research studies repeatedly demonstrate the effectiveness of marriage and family therapy in treating the full range of mental and emotional disorders and health problems” and “Over three-fourths of those receiving marital/couples or family therapy report an improvement in the couple relationship.”
WHY SHOREPOINTE? At Shorepointe Counseling, we have nearly 40 years of combined experience in the mental health and social work professions working with families and couples on issues ranging from common marital problems to family crises. In addition to first class responsiveness and flexible hours to accommodate the most demanding of clients, our direct but warm and assuring approach provides clients with all of the tools necessary to improve themselves and their relationships.