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Relationship Therapy

Couples Counseling and Marriage Therapy

Couples need fun

A little romance please

Be my best friend too

Relationship Therapy.....kind of sounds boring right? Well...that depends. Most people come to counseling to address crises or at least to put out some fires. For clients in these camps of course couples counseling is not likely to be pleasant. Someone or both are starting out with a lot of anger, blame and resentment. It's truly challenging trying to listen to your partner when you don't know when the next bullet is coming. 

But for those who are truly trying to take their relationship to platinum status, marriage therapy can be a truly enjoyable, albeit sometimes tricky process. The thought of working through anything always
sounds like...well, work. And that's not much fun. But when couples have good energy between them they are often open to each other's influence. Relationship therapy is a lot like trying to navigate a sail boat. You have different roles with equal importance. And when couples are willing to work as teammates they are able to make significant progress.

Relationship Tips

1.  Play tug o' war on the same side of the rope
2.  Be slow to anger and quick to forgive
3.  Argue about one topic at a time
4.  Try to avoid the word "YOU" (I dare you- it's hard)
5.  Use touch to break tension
6.  A little humor in the right way helps too
7.  Stay in the present (or at least within the last week)
8.  Use open and inviting body language
9.  Don't yell like a toddler or you will feel like one
10.Do a two minute listening activity everyday 

Couples counseling is an invitation to grow deeper and know your partner's emotional needs. These are often hidden behind anger, resentment or sarcasm. When marriage therapy is effective it creates a culture of possibilities where agreement needn't be the goal as much as undertanding. 
  Marriage Counseling Questions
   To many, marriage counseling is an anxiety provoking process.             Clients have many questions before they feel comfortable with             therapy.

  • What do I do if I can't get my spouse/partner to come in?
  • What do I do if my partner won't change?
  • How is relationship therapy going to help?
  • Do we have to come every week?
  • My husband doesn't believe in therapy. What do I do?
  • Are there couples therapy exercises for us to do?
  • Should we sometimes meet alone or do you not do that?

  • ​These marriage counseling questions can best be addressed in an initial free phone consultation.


Free Phone Conultation
Marriage counseling exists to help relationships thrive, not merely survive! To truly benefit from the joy of marriage couples need to recognize that the challenges they experience are opportunities to create closeness and understanding. Working through issues with a marriage therapist gives people a chance to identify patterns and strategize around interrupting them.

Many times when people argue they become so angry they shut down conflict before it even has a chance to be productive. Often the energy between partners gets ugly and they find the most superficial thing to fight over that can cause friction. So how then do couples begin to fight differently? The starting point of arguing is to recognize that differences are a healthy and normal part of a relationship. If two people agreed on everything they would likely be a boring couple. When a potential argument is brewing there is often a fear from one or both partners that it will head down a path of destructiveness, or at least ineffectiveness. Marriage counseling allows couples to appreciate the struggle and to view it as an opportunity for closeness as opposed to merely conflict they wish to avoid.

But what if couples had a better process? What if arguing was viewed as an opportunity to better understand one another without the primary goals of being right? Having a better process means that couples learn to appreciate the struggle over the outcome. They learn to recognize each other’s unique way of communicating instead of hoping it was similar to their own. And they learn to see the emotions of their partner as something they want to help alleviate rather than urge them to “get over it.”

So what does a better process look like? Couples who do well are typically aware of their energy and how it impacts the dynamic within their relationship. They are often slow to anger and quick to forgive. This means that they give their partner the benefit of the doubt and they avoid adding layers of silence to an already uncomfortable situation. In marriage counseling, a trained marriage therapist will often challenge couples to become more aware of what they look like when they argue and how they might shift their energy and soften their tone. Can they be slower to trigger? Might they hear their partners words with less criticism? Can they attempt to repair things by trying to reset a misunderstanding quicker. A better process means appreciating that how each partner hears things is likely to be different. And when that is accepted, each partner can often become more willing to be motivated to meet each others’ needs.

Marriage therapy aims to highlight couples strengths and to help them recognize they already have many positive conditions in place to help their relationship. When partner’s hyper-focus on their differences and points of contention they often overlook the things they do of which they should have gratitude. This does not suggest that couples should avoid confrontation. But rather that they should start with what’s already working as opposed to lodging all the complaints they might have.

When looking for an effective marriage therapist it is often useful for prospective clients to ask not just about the background of the clinician, but also how the therapist views marriage and relationships. What orientation does the marriage counselor work within? Is he/she focused on the past? Does he/she place an emphasis on existing coupleship patterns? Do they believe in giving homework assignments? What style do they typically employ?

When couples enter into marriage counseling, they are often in a difficult place in their relationship.  An effective marriage therapist is often able to encourage his/her clients to seek out support to sustain the health of their relationship rather than waiting until it is threatened or suffering. Many times couples view sitting down with a third party as something of a nuisance that gets in the way of their other responsibilities. But a couples therapist is well served to tease out the motivation of their clients to see if they exclusively view counseling as a reactive or proactive process.

How to make the best use of couples counseling sessions? When engaging in therapy, couples often do well when they have a clear sense of what they want to accomplish. This is not always desired by both partners particularly if they are not very invested in the idea of making any real changes. But for those couples who authentically want things to improve and are willing to take active steps, they often do so with a clear path toward achieving their goals. This may include knowing what they will each work on for the week. They will likely make a conscious effort to notice each other’s efforts. They may even keep a journal to track their own progress. Additionally, highly motivated couples will work lighter rather than harder. This means that they will experience things in a positive and hopeful manner as opposed to fear based and waiting to see what the other person will do first.

Sometimes marriage counseling needs to begin individually. Not every issue or conflict that is experienced by couples is directly caused by marital conflict. There are times when one member of the relationship should take a closer look at their own life and psychology and see how they are coping in all areas of their lives. Personal wellness is important for individuals to bring their best energy and ideas into solving relational problems. When individuals take a closer look at their thought patterns, their areas of greatest difficulty and perhaps unfinished business from their past, they are often better positioned to offer the marital relationship the kind of hopefulness it desires.