Every couple is different. Their situations are unique. There is no one-size-fits-all solution and fix. There are, however, recurring themes that marriage therapists see among couples who come for counseling. I can’t speak for my colleagues around the country but after 3 decades of couples work these are the three themes & needs I see almost every day.
Regardless of what a couple’s presenting problem is, communication problems always seem to come up in the first session as a core issue.
Good communication is foundational to marital success; and marital communication must work on three levels: Sharing, Negotiation, and Conflict Resolution. How a couple communicates will either facilitate or will undermine their ability to effectively address their relationship issues.
Couples may often dread or even avoid communicating because doing so doesn’t feel emotionally safe and has often proved to be unproductive…or even make things worse.
Good marital therapy can help equip couples to feel safe and to communicate in productive ways.
While marriage is to be a commitment to one another as Friends and Lovers, many couples report that their marriage has slipped into more of an arrangement as Roommates & Co-Managers. Many of these marriages don’t necessarily have a lot of conflict; instead they are suffering in a silent but growing dissatisfaction with the marriage, resulting in a gradual drifting and disconnection.
There are 3 intertwining threads in the cord of connection: Conversation, Shared Activities, and Touch.
Good marital therapy can help couples to re-connect in all three, becoming friends and lovers once again.
Just like we’ve seen tornadoes in Tennessee reduce 2-story brick homes to rubble within seconds, trust can be leveled in a moment. And just as a storm-stricken home or neighborhood cannot be rebuilt instantly, so the rebuilding of trust is an intentional and gradual process, requiring patience and perseverance from both partners. But it’s worth the effort.
Sometimes trust is not demolished in a single moment or by a single sin but is eroded consistently over time. This too requires wise guidance and dedicated work by the couple. But it’s worth it.