A Guide to Marriage Counseling
Every relationship is a process that requires constant work, commitment, and effort. Unfortunately, love is often not enough to keep your relationship where you want it to be.
It is so easy to drift away from each other under the pressures of everyday life. So, when you put jobs, children, and mortgage in an equation, it is not difficult to imagine the two people struggling to stay passionate and committed to each other.
Marriage therapy can help. However, if your marriage is not where you think it should be, don’t wait for too long before looking for marriage counseling in Fort Worth Texas.
According to relationship expert Dr. John Gottman from the Gottman Institute, couples wait an average of six years before seeking help for their marriage problems. As a result, for many couples, relationship counseling is the last-ditch effort to save their relationship.
Suppose the dynamics in your marriage changed, and you feel like you and your partner have grown apart. In that case, marriage counseling can be a great decision. Also, if there is a lack of passion, or you struggle to overcome infidelity, a marriage therapist can provide safe grounds to work out your issues and overcome painful feelings.
Signs You Should Seek Couples Therapy
Couples seek marriage therapy for various reasons, from unresolved personal issues and poor communication to intimacy and sex problems.
Feeling stuck in an unhappy marriage can take a toll on your health, well-being, and other relationships. Marriage therapy can be a safe environment to start unpacking the background of your concerns and begin the healing process.
Below are some signs that you might benefit from couples therapy.
- You Have Communication Issues
You and your spouse are struggling with communication, feeling trapped in unproductive cycles. As a result, conflicts in your relationship have escalated, and there is hardly one day without an argument with no resolution.
Most likely, tension is beginning to impact your relationship with kids, other people, your work, or your health.
Communication difficulties in a marriage usually leave both partners stressed and frustrated. When partners cannot communicate with each other in a way that both can hear and understand, they may begin to either withdraw and avoid conversation or become aggressive and provoke conflicts. Reaching this point in your marriage means that you would probably benefit from couples counseling in Fort Worth, Texas.
2. You Have Begun to Fall Out of Love with One Another
In marriage counseling sessions in Fort Worth, Texas, many clients complain about feeling alone even though they are married. Unfortunately, emotional disconnection can happen at any point in your relationship.
If you feel emotionally detached from your partner, you may be experiencing what relationship experts call a roommate marriage.
A roommate marriage is a relationship where you have somehow slipped from being lovers and soulmates to becoming roommates and where:
- Your relationship has become less satisfying since you had children
- One or both of you feel unsupported
- It feels like you have begun to fall out of love with one another
Although you have minor conflicts and rarely argue, you and your partner don’t share secrets, show affection, confide in each other, or laugh together anymore. You often feel like a stranger to your spouse, regularly turning away or against each other’s bids for connection.
While many people consider the absence of conflicts a good thing, no conflicts can actually signal indifference and lack of interest that are killing your closeness.
Marriage therapy can be a great place to start working on rekindling your closeness and feel deeply connected to your spouse again.
3. You Survived Infidelity
Infidelity in marriage is one of the most challenging relationship problems to overcome. Discovering that one of the spouses was unfaithful is seen as one of the biggest acts of betrayal.
After learning about their spouse’s affair, many people decide that they cannot forgive infidelity and opt for divorce.
Those who decide to give their marriage a second chance may struggle with this decision afterward. If you are struggling to survive infidelity, outside help from a certified marriage counselor can be precious.
While no therapist will justify or defend adultery, no one is labeled as the offender in Fort Worth couples counseling. Instead, both spouses are considered the injured parties when we work on infidelity in marriage.
A marriage therapist can help dig deep to get to the roots of infidelity and pain it caused and gradually rebuild trust in your relationship.
4. The Intimacy in Your Marriage Has Dwindled
Many couples reach the point where sexual intimacy has become a thing of the past in their relationship. Marriage therapy can benefit your relationship if you or your partner (or both of you) don’t feel the same desire you once felt.
Sometimes, too much familiarity between the long-term partners can compromise their intimacy and sexual desire. In addition, it can be challenging to relax and genuinely enjoy one another’s company at the end of a long day or with your children sleeping across the hall.
Many couples who come to Fort Worth, Texas couples counseling want to rekindle intimacy and passion. A skilled marriage therapist can help you work on an emotional connection with your partner – to open up with and learn to be vulnerable with each other.
Another common challenge for many couples is sexual desire discrepancy. It’s normal to have different preferences when it comes to sex life. While some people need to be sexually connected to feel emotionally close to their partners, others need to feel emotionally connected before having sex.
However, if not addressed, different sexual needs and desires can, over time, endanger your otherwise good relationship.
A licensed couples therapist can help talk through the sex issues with one another, address your problems, and come up with a plan for renewing intimacy in your marriage.
Other common problems that bring couples to relationship counseling involve:
- Resolving individual issues from the past
- Assistance managing other relationships
- Trust issues
- The end of a relationship/divorce
- Stressful life events
The Benefits of Marriage Counseling
In our marriage counseling practice in Fort Worth, Texas, we have worked with many disconnected couples seeking to rekindle their bonds and intimacy.
Couples therapy in Fort Worth, Alliance, Southlake, Keller, Texas areas can help you:
- understand and address your marriage problems
- reconnect with your partner or strengthen your bond
- feel heard and understood again
- learn practical communication skills
- develop new perspectives about conflicts in your relationship
Marriage therapy allows you to dig deep into the roots of your marriage problems while helping you gain skills to improve your relationship.
Couples counseling in Keller/Fort Worth, Texas, can help you develop problem-solving and communication skills and learn to recognize and address the problems in your relationship without blaming each other.
According to couples therapist and clinical psychologist Dr. Sue Johnson, when we feel vulnerable and upset, we need emotional confirmation from our partner, not a logical explanation.
If you keep responding to each other’s calls for connection rationally rather than emotionally, this pattern can lead to emotional disconnection.
What we need when we feel overwhelmed are empathy and compassion. A reflective self-exploration during couples counseling sessions can increase your empathy and teach you how to respond from an emotional place to one another’s bids for emotional connection.
What are the Most Common Types of Marriage Therapy?
There are various approaches to couples therapy, so choosing the most appropriate one depends on your marriage problems and goals. However, it is also essential that you find a qualified and therapist who will be a good fit.
The most established approaches to couples counseling are:
- Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
- The Gottman Method
- Imago Relationship Therapy
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
Emotionally Focused Therapy was developed by psychologist and author of book Hold Me Tight, Dr. Sue Johnson.
EFT is a short-term approach to relationship counseling that focuses on adult attachment and negative communication patterns. It has proven to be couples therapy with the highest rate of success – 90 percent of couples in EFT show a significant improvement while 70-75 percent of couples move from distress.
The main idea of EFT is that love relationships are a type of attachment bond where healthy dependency means feeling comfortable about being vulnerable in a relationship. Therefore, the way to improve and save a relationship is to reestablish a safe emotional connection.
The Gottman Method
The Gottman Couples Therapy was developed based on the findings from 40-years long scientific research on relationships by psychologists Dr. John Gottman and his wife, Julie Gottman.
Dr. Gottman uses “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” metaphor from the New Testament to explain the most detrimental behaviors to a marriage.
He uses “The Four Horsemen” to describe communication styles that can adversely affect a relationship. These communication styles include:
The Gottman Method focuses on sharing relationship histories, exploring areas of disagreement, discovering shared values, recognizing the couple’s triggers, and developing specific tools to manage conflicts.
Imago Relationship Therapy
The Imago approach to couples counseling views relationship problems as a result of unmet childhood needs and unhealed wounds that later cause conflicts and sensitivities in adult relationships. Imago therapy was developed by doctors and spouses Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt, the authors of Getting the Love You Want. They believe that most people seek familiar relationships, pursuing romantic partners that remind them of their parents, for better or for worse.
The goal of Imago therapy is to bring your unconscious perspectives on relationships into consciousness. This will allow you to identify your negative thinking patterns, beliefs, and feelings rooted in childhood experiences. It will also help you understand how they impact your adult relationships.
Before you choose a therapist, ask if they have a specialty and what are their preferred couples therapy methods.
What to Expect During Your First Couples Counseling Session?
The main difference between couples counseling and individual psychotherapy is the dynamic during the sessions – couples therapy involves interaction between three people.
Unlike individual therapy, where the person is a client, in marriage therapy, the client is your relationship. Marriage therapy in Fort Worth, Texas, typically includes both partners. However, sometimes one partner can work with a therapist alone, so your relationship situation determines the specific treatment approach.
From the therapist’s position, the intake couples counseling session is about getting to know you. Learning as much as possible about you as individuals and as a couple helps the counselor understand and assess your situation better.
The first marriage counseling session is usually pretty structured. Therefore, your first session with a therapist may involve many questions (about you, your history, childhood, most significant relationship issues, and your therapy goals).
How to Make the Most of Your Couples Counseling
Couples counseling can help increase your knowledge about yourself and your partner. It can improve your understanding of the patterns and dynamics in your relationship and help replace negative behaviors with more satisfying ones.
However, to build and maintain improvements in your relationship, you need to have a vision of personal growth and the life you want to build with your partner. You also need to be motivated to keep it up.
To maximize the results of your couples therapy, you will most likely be assigned some kind of homework that you’ll need to practice outside of sessions.
Couples therapy is not a quick fix for marriage problems. Make sure to have realistic expectations, as your expectations about therapy may significantly impact the counseling process and its outcome.
Couples therapy in Fort Worth, Texas, can be a safe place to learn how to let go of unhealthy patterns in your marriage and build a mutually satisfying relationship.
During your marriage counseling sessions, you will develop clarity about the kind of relationship you and your partner want to build. However, to take full advantage of couples therapy, you need to use new knowledge and skills in your day-to-day life.
Lastly, to make the most of your marriage counseling, you need to focus on changing yourself first as the change needs to begin within you.
If you are ready to Schedule an Appointment, Call or Text 817-754-8886 today.