Couples Counselling, the last resort..
What made you decide 'now' is the time to get some counselling? Is one of the questions I ask when couples approach me for help with their relationship. The answers vary....
'well it started about 5 year ago when I discovered my husband had a porn addiction'
'my wife's sex drive went down soon after we were married, I don't know what happened, but now all we do is argue, we've been married 12 years'
'we've been having problems on and off for years, but just thought it was normal and we could figure it our ourselves. My partner now wants a divorce, so we've come to counselling'
If you bought a car and it had a problem, when would you take it to a mechanic? would you take it as soon as possible? get the issue fixed quickly and continue to love your car and appreciate what it does for you?
Wait until that nail in the tyre, is added to by the crack in the radiator, the fuse that's blown, the rear screen washer/wiper doesn't work, the gears crunch in ways they shouldn't and the handbrake no longer works. By which time, you can no longer remember what you loved about this car in the first place, because its been that long since it was in good shape, now it's just plain hard work.
There is no shame in coming to get help for a relationship that's difficult or not working well. You'd go to a doctor for an illness, a physio for an injury, a dentist for a toothache... you get my drift.
When the honeymoon period is over and you see your partner on the loo, you see them crying because of anxiety, smashing things up because they're angry, using porn/alcohol/drugs in a problematic way.... the bright shiny love, happiness and fun, may feel like its all but disappeared and you're left trudging through life together- but also alone.
Marital / cohabitational bliss... Hmmmm...
Learning how to understand your partner by getting help, can only benefit you, learning communication skills, where you're going wrong (we all get it wrong!) and how to speak with your teammate in life, sets you up for better days, happier lives.
Figuring out together 'what happened to us?' 'what went wrong?'. It's not about blame, its about understanding what happened and why, and then what you want to do about it. Together, as equals.
Waiting until you no longer know what to do, because you've 'tried everything else so it'll have to be counselling' means that the chances of you 'making it' decrease. The sooner you come, do the work, and invest in your relationship, the higher chance of success you have.
'Counselling is too expensive'.
How many times have you thought, lets go on holiday, that will help us, or I'll buy them a new car/expensive watch/designer outfit or...the really big one... let's have a baby, that will bring us closer.
Any of those examples cost hundreds if not thousands of pounds (babies are crazy expensive and will continue to be until they leave home, and they wont fix your relationship either).
If you had 6 sessions of counselling, you'd be looking anywhere between £300-£500 dependant on costs in your area. The effects of which, won't wear off after the suntan has gone or the outfit has lost its shine.
What you learn in couples therapy can stay with you forever. FOREVER.
Couples notoriously say, 'they don't understand me' or 'I don't feel like they hear what I'm saying' 'she doesn't listen' and 'I cant make him understand'
This is because you've not figured out how to talk to each other and what's behind that for both of you. You will have both come together in a relationship, with expectations of how its going to be, you will carry your own references from your parents or caregivers, or even lack of caregivers as to how things will go for you both. The problem is, these are usually two different ideas and they clash, and are not understood.
Man- I'll get married and my wife will cook
( because mum did- so that must be right, it seemed to work for them anyway) and my wife will be happy and so will I.
Woman - I never dreamed I'd have to cook every night. He NEVER cooks, it's like he expects me to, I don't get it, we're in the 21st century!
If you've never had the conversation, the assumptions take over and you're quickly in deep water.
We encourage you to have those conversations. To see each others point of view. To communicate successfully, accept what the other person is saying (not agree with- but just accept) and then compromise, so that you can move forward together.
I could write pages and pages about relationships and how we get them wrong, but this is a blog, so not the time or place!
It's important to note, that not all relationships will make it, whether they go to counselling or not, these include narcissistic, abusive, and controlling relationships.
The car wreck of a companionship that has been left to rot and only fit for the scrapyard? well, who knows, if you're both willing to strip it down and restore it, it could be salvageable.
You get out of counselling, what you take from it and apply into your relationship, it has to be equal and you both have to want it to work.
So make your life easier and come sooner rather than later.
Until next time...