Experiencing trouble in a relationship? Oftentimes we assume couples counseling has to wait until we’ve had a major fight; however, couples’ counseling doesn’t always have to be a last resort to an almost indisputable conflict. Consider trying couples counseling before a big fight occurs.
Think of the health of your relationship the way we think of our physical health. We don’t always want to wait for disease or injury to happen. Sometimes we act preventatively to stop bad things before they can hurt us. The same should be true for your relationship. Just because you haven’t had a major conflict doesn’t mean you don’t have discontent, resentment, jealousy, or underlying anger in your relationship that needs to be addressed before it causes you, your partner, and your relationship harm. It’s important to recognize toxic behaviors or relationship stressors that might be a precursor to an argument. Just a few are:
• Poorly managed anger
• Emotional and physical withdrawal
• Unilateral decisions
• Reactive responses
• Alcohol and drug abuse
• Emotional and physical abuse
• Deception and resulting mistrust
• Constantly needed reassurance
• Chronic untreated psychiatric problems
• Financial mismanagement
Couples therapy can be extremely healing and beneficial for a relationship. For one, couples therapy can help you and your partner find ways to kindly and honestly tell the truth. It can help you handle criticism, remain accountable, develop helpful behavior, and become a team member. Couples therapy gives you a chance to look at situations from another person’s point of view. By practicing empathy and kindness, you’ll be able to move from singles behavior to couples behavior.
Timing is important when it comes to couples counseling. The earlier a problem is kindly dealt with, the less damage to the relationship. Pain can motivate a person to use counseling. If a person begins associating a partner with pain, it’s time to get some assistance. Pain is a signal to pull away. Therefore, it’s important to deal with pain in a timely way. Pain can lead to productive communication.
Now, not all arguments warrant counseling. Healthy arguments result in a respectful, fair resolution. The result is increased confidence in the relationship. Unhealthy arguments can result in anger, hurt, withdrawal, projection, and contempt. They rarely result in healthy problem-solving. Couples with this problem need to reconsider how to argue.
Healthy relationships are built on positive shared memories. You may not remember exactly what was said and done, but you do remember how you felt. Positive feelings cause you to want to be with the person who gave you the good feeling.
“Relationship counseling can help a couple understand their vulnerabilities and help them handle conflict in a healthy way. Understanding the families we grew up in can help a couple predict where disappointments might arise,” said experienced psychotherapist, Christian W. Mosemann, MSW, BCD of TPMG Behavioral Health in Newport News. “Conflict can’t be avoided but conflict can be handled in a healthy way. Therefore, couples who have long happy relationships know how to provide pleasure and deal with pain kindly and fairly.”
If you think you and your partner might benefit from couples counseling, don’t be afraid to reach out. Through counseling, couples can learn when and how to argue, use relaxation and meditation techniques, and examine different struggles in their relationship, like how to maintain a feeling of being connected and more. Although rarely easy, a committed relationship is an opportunity to receive love and support. However, for many, a healthy relationship requires both partners to grow and understand the truth about themselves. Ask yourself today if there is something in your relationship that needs to change in order to make your connection stronger. If so, consider making an appointment with TPMG Behavioral Health.
About Christian W. Mosemann, LCSW, MSW, BCD
Christian W. Mosemann, LCSW, MSW, BCD, is an experienced psychotherapist practicing at TPMG Behavioral Health in Newport News, VA. Mr. Mosemann’s primary professional interest is in couple’s relationships and he enjoys working with couples to help them work towards and, ultimately, maintain a positive, loving relationship. He believes there is nothing finer than coming home to an environment of mutual trust, respect, and genuine enjoyment in your partner’s company.