Romantic partnerships tend to begin on a positive note. We all remember the warm fuzzy feeling on that first date, that first kiss. Over time, couples tend to experience changes in the relationship – sometimes positive, sometimes less so.
Sometimes the concern is that the “spark” is gone. Sometime a couple feels
like they just keep missing each other, which results in feeling disconnected, distant, and a couple fighting more frequently than they used to. Other times, a couple may be stuck at the crossroads of a major life decision. Or, they may have taken on stress from other family members or situations, and this is now weighing heavy on both partners. Regardless of what is happening, there is concern and a desire to improve the dynamic. Therefore, each partnership deserves a tailored approach specific to what is happening in the relationship.
Many couples struggle with issues such as:
- Loss of trust
- Anger or hurt
- Major life decisions
- Family issues
- Sex and intimacy
One of the most important dynamics in relationships has to do with intimacy and mystery.
Esther Perel, a psychotherapist and expert of human relationships and sexuality, sees romantic relationships through the idea of paradox. While many of us crave stability and security in our relationships, we also hope for excitement.
It becomes easy to fall into patterns, to go through the motions in our own intimate relationships. Remaining aloof and distant, however, can threaten that same stable relationship we so desire. The key, then, is to maintain a healthy balance, and couples therapy is the ideal place to learn how to do so.
Couples therapy can be the most beautiful and challenging process. The process requires people to get to know themselves better, recognize the assumptions and patterns implicit in the relationship, and turn toward their partner to work together.
What is premarital therapy (or pre-marital counseling)?
If you and your partner are considering marriage, premarital therapy can help ease your transition and prepare you for a long-lasting union.
Premarital therapy is all about providing a safe haven to process, prepare, and be excited about your marriage. Research has consistently shown that premarital counseling can positively impact the relationship and prepare the couple for the stressors that come with marriage (Carrol & Doherty, 2003).
Common issues that come up in premarital therapy might include:
- Worries about trust or commitment
- Expectations regarding sex and intimacy
- Ability to manage and cope with stress
- Differences in religion or political views
- Apprehension regarding marriage
- Previous relationships or divorce
- Family dynamics
How can couples therapy help?
Couples who are motivated to improve the relationship can benefit from treatment (Lundblad & Hansson, 2006). Psychotherapy is the first line of treatment for families and couples who are looking to enhance their connections and move past the dysfunction (Shadish et al, 1995). As you meet together with a counselor, you will learn how to communicate well, identify disruptive patterns, and work better as a unit. The psychotherapist works hard to help everyone feel supported by maintaining a non-judgmental stance and prioritizing safety and healing.
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