I don’t recall meeting the first time with any couple who really wanted to be meeting with a marriage counselor.
Sure, many have been hopeful… or relieved to finally be doing something to get themselves unstuck.
But want to be there… for marriage counseling? No, of course not.
Our marriage or primary relationship is such a critically important part of our life… and we invest our hopes and expectations into them. We want them to be a safe and stable place where we can express the love we have to give and to be loved in return.
So, we can feel really vulnerable when our marriage or relationship isn’t working and we don’t know how to make it better. And for some it feels awkward or even embarrassing to ask for assistance or guidance.
Often that reluctance happens, because we believe if we REALLY LOVE each other everything else in our marriage is supposed to naturally fall into place. Or at least we believe because we love each other, that should be enough for us to overcome any challenges on our own, because…
LOVE CONQUERS ALL! …right?
Well no… unfortunately it doesn’t.
Over many years of marriage counseling, I recognize a strong love is a crucial part of a solid marriage or committed relationship… and its power goes a long way to sustaining couples through rough patches in their marriage.
But, LOVE alone isn’t always enough to overcome every challenge that couples are likely to face. And it’s certainly possible to truly love someone and yet find living with them quite challenging.
Love is a very powerful force for creating intimacy, connection, and even motivation. But, it’s really not very good at problem solving or generating solutions when we’re struggling to find practical ways to manage our differences.
Loving someone – and knowing how to be happily married or really support each other – are two different things. Being in love doesn’t automatically come with knowing how to merge your lives together, balance work and home life, communicate effectively, nurture and sustain your connection, or resolve the differences that will always emerge when two people are combining their lives.
In fact, typically about 70% of the differences between partners cannot be ‘solved’. Yet, there are countless people incredibly satisfied and content in their relationship, despite their differences.
It’s unfortunate the “love conquers all” myth is such a strong belief. Because when you’re really giving your best, but still having struggles in your marriage, this belief may leave you feeling inadequate, guilty, or angry… like you’re somehow failing at something you “should to know how to do”. Or it may lead to resentment… and concluding that your partner must not really care or be trying their best.
How Did You Learn to Be a Couple?
But, who said you and your partner are always supposed to know how to manage every challenge in your marriage, through every change and stage of life, without any new information or guidance? Is that a realistic expectation?
When we have pain in our body or a toothache, we don’t think twice about going to a doctor or dentist to help us understand what’s causing it and what we need to do to feel better.
We also don’t expect ourselves to ‘just know’ everything about how to fix our washing machine, do our taxes, or dozens of other things of our lives.
Usually if something isn’t working the way we want or need, we first try what we know to fix it. But if that doesn’t get results, we accept that we need some additional knowledge or expert assistance to get it working again.
But there’s often reluctance to use that same mindset when it comes to getting assistance for our emotional pain or our relationship. In fact, couples wait an average of 6-7 years before getting assistance – spanning years in unnecessary pain, heartache, and resentment that usually could be avoided.
All our relationships are constantly evolving and shifting, including your marriage. Usually we’re able to manage these changes without much difficulty by making some minor adjustments. But there are some changes that impact the basic foundation of your marriage. Perhaps you and your partner have a new situation and challenge you’ve never encountered before. Or you’re finding things you’ve done in the past just aren’t working anymore.
Isn’t it reasonable to expect you’ll encounter a few times in your most complex relationship when some new understanding, additional guidance, or discovering a different approach would help you get back on track?
That is the of purpose marriage or relationship counseling and what relationship therapists specialize in providing.
Getting Started with Marriage Counseling
Getting started is simple and risk free; all it takes is a phone call to schedule a free consultation.
I always prefer to start out with this initial consultation, unless there is a crisis or urgent need to get started. Studies have consistently shown the single most important factor for getting the results you seek from counseling is your degree of trust, comfort, and confidence in your relationship therapist.
By meeting for a consultation you’ll have a chance to get to know me a bit and see how I’d fit with you as a marriage counselor, before you make any commitment or have any cost. It also allows me to get an overview of your situation, so we can confirm my experience is a good match to assist you… or determine if your particular challenges might be more effectively addressed by someone else.
Call me to schedule a time for your free marriage counseling consultation at (828) 686-9601.