Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Beverley Chambers Qualified Counsellor, Life Coach and Group Worker - Reg. MBACP
3rd August, 20160 Comments
Many couples ultimately come to a crossroads in their relationship and do not know which road to take - try to make it work or leave? More and more couples are seeking counselling to address their problems rather than giving up on the relationship without talking through their issues.
This can be because of misunderstandings in communication, expectations or thinking that my partner should know what I feel and think, so why are they not doing it? One couple shared the following with me and permitted me to use the quote:
"I think having the independent person there, to rephrase the communication to prevent misunderstanding, saved our marriage."
This is because when someone is trying to explain how they feel, it can be misinterpreted and what is heard is not what was always said. Thereby, when I counsel couples, I am listening but I am also getting each client to listen and then repeat what they have heard. Doing this, as simple as that may seem, can create other problems if not using my listening skills to summarise what has just been said, as communication is complex when dealing with emotions.
Having couples counselling is not easy and I commend those that want to work on their relationships. Seeking an impartial counsellor who you trust to be non-judgemental with both of you really allows the couple to open up.
However, this does not guarantee that you will decide to remain together after counselling. For example, when people become aware of how they really feel and recognise that this is not the person they want to continue their life with, counselling has helped the openness and honesty so that even though it is painful to end, they are grateful for realisation which helps with closure.
Once one partner has broken the trust due to infidelity, it will take a long time to rebuild that relationship due to the betrayal and pain that the other person is feeling.
You don't always need to come as a couple if your partner does not wish to attend, you will still benefit from addressing the issues and making the changes you need to do for yourself. You can't change them but you can change yourself, which in turn will alter the relationship.
Common issues that you may be able to address:
Sometimes relatively small annoyances can develop into huge issues, so it's best to resolve those as soon as they become a problem. Let's look at some examples of common irritations which might sound trivial but can drive a wedge between partners if unresolved and allowed to develop into something bigger.
Not putting the toilet seat down - get a toilet seat that automatically closes.
Snoring - there are plenty of anti-snoring devices on the market which might work for you or if you have another room sleep in there (don't worry, that does not mean you won't be intimate).
Chores - who does what and why is it not done yet? Sometimes each partner having their own set of chores works, or doing the chores together or if need be. If you can afford it, get a cleaner. Many have said "a cleaner saved my marriage".
Actually there are hundreds, if not thousands, of different issues couples can face. Maybe nobody got divorced because of not putting a toilet seat down, but that can make one partner feel disrespected or irritated and lead to arguments, which lead to bigger arguments, and so on.
The key to resolving these differences can often be the involvement of an impartial counsellor who can pave the way for an honest discussion and help find any underlying issues which can be resolved in order to help the couple move ahead with their relationship.
Every couple is different and no two relationships are the same. Couples counselling can be an invaluable tool to help face and tackle any problem areas in a relationship in an impartial, open and honest setting.
About the author
I have worked for 18 years as a counsellor addressing issues such as depression, anxiety, trauma, sexual abuse, relationship issues, addiction to alcohol, therapy groups, family issues. My qualifications are: diploma in counselling and group work, DipSW, alcohol counsellor, life coach, certificate family support therapy, NADA auricular acupuncture.
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