Marriages are tricky business. People enter into marriages, hopefully, deeply in love, optimistic that they made a good decision to build a life with a partner who shares a mutual vision of what they want to build together.
And then, life interferes. In the living together, real challenges take place. Whether this be financial difficulties, unsupportive or intrusive family members, sexual differences, religious conflicts, difficulties with children, the fiber of the relationship is tested again and again. Communication can break down, bad habits develop, and the couple begins to disappear. And often it can feel like you didn’t really know that the person you married would turn out to be “this” person. Grievances, resentments are the priority and the need to be “right” becomes more important that the need to be in harmony. In couples, the individuals are so sure they know what their partner is thinking or how he/she is going to respond, that they stop listening. And then perhaps retreating or going elsewhere for emotional support.
Marriage counseling is about helping couples work together to:
- prioritize their relationship
- establish healthier ways to communicate so that each feels heard
- find ways to “agree to disagree”
- establish healthy boundaries with each other as well as with extended family and children
- create a vision for their relationship
- develop areas of trust, healthy inter-dependence and respect for each other
- re-establish and create bonds of intimacy and connection
- learn how to have fun together
Even marriages that have been taken to the edge of disaster due to either financial ruin, or deaths, or an affair can be rehabilitated if the motivation and emotional investment are still high but the need for retribution isn’t too high.