One of the most common challenges for couples to overcome when they seek therapy, is to get beyond the belief that “should not be this hard”. The reality is that relationships are hard and do take lots of work but that work reduces over time.
While I offer couples therapy sessions, these, in my opinion, should be quick and not many provided the couple does the work behind the scenes when they get home. My preference is actually to have a few sessions and then coach a little on maintaining skills learned.
We live in a society that suggests when we experience conflict and argue, the relationship is unhealthy. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Having arguments are typical for many couples. How we manage these conflicts is key and includes getting our needs met. Relationships are meant to be worked on and when we learn how to connect as well as reconnect and repair, we see that couples can manage their arguments in loving and connected ways.
Another area I see regularly is partners who believe that seeking counselling means they are failing. Often they wait until things have gone awry before seeking help. The truth is we are never really shown how to be in a loving, connected and supportive relationship. Once we are shown how to become more connected, loving, compassionate and empathetic, we see an increase in the quality of that relationship. It is true that many couples attend counselling at the initial signs of trouble, which is usually ends up with them learning to work in different ways in order to make it work.