Jessica and Cal have barely spoken to one another since their nasty argument 3 days ago. If they’re honest about it, they’ve barely spoken a kind and loving word to one another for several months. This latest disagreement about whether or not to move is just more of the same and it’s tearing them apart. Both wonder what happened to their marriage and if anything can be done to save it.
Cindy and Lisa never argue. They both grew up in families where angry eruptions were a daily occurrence and they promised one another that they’d not put their two young children through a similar experience. Unfortunately, this agreement has backfired and now neither of them knows what to do when strong emotions come up. Instead, they both usually pretend that everything is okay when it actually isn’t.
Believe it or not, BOTH of these couples would benefit from getting help from a professional counselor, therapist or coach.
The stereotypical relationship in peril is overtly hostile where one (or both) may have broken trust in some way and now both are unhappily questioning whether or not their relationship will survive. It’s true, there are many couples who fit this description, like Jessica and Cal.
There are just as many relationships that, on the surface, don’t seem troubled. Everything appears just fine. Well, sort of. The more “quiet” relationship challenges can include resentment, passive-aggressiveness and a general sense of dissatisfaction.
Some signs that your relationship needs help are these...
Communication has broken down (in loud or quiet ways).
You and your partner lead separate lives.
Intimacy (emotional or sexual) has significantly faded or died.
Trust is weak or non-existent.
You (or your partner) are so unhappy you are considering leaving the relationship.
When questions like, “Why am I still with this person” and “Will we ever be happy and in love again?” flood your mind, then it might be time to find a counselor or coach who is a good fit for you. Even if your partner won't participate, it can be a valuable and growing experience and one that can actually save your relationship (if you decide that staying is what’s best for you).
Here are 5 benefits of working with a professional...
#1: Outside perspective.
It’s ALWAYS helpful to get a fresh view of your situation from an outside observer’s perspective. Someone who is skilled at listening and asking questions with more objectivity than either you or your partner have can help you focus in on the core issues of a situation and lets you see where you do agree with one another.
#2: New ideas.
If you think you’ve tried everything to improve your relationship, you’re wrong. There are always new ways to approach a problem that you’ve probably either discounted in the past or never even heard of. What better way to expand your relationship “toolbox” than to learn effective strategies and techniques from the professional you’re working with.
The expertise of your coach or therapist provides the new ideas that may end up being the big solution you and your partner have been looking for. You’ll also get valuable time to practice those different strategies and techniques during a session-- either alone or with your partner. The best way to change bad habits is to practice new ones until they become natural and here’s your chance.
#4: Safe space.
Developing new relationship skills can also happen in relative safety during a session. You’ve got a professional right there to offer advice and keep you on track and whatever you share will be kept confidential. No risk of gossiping as there might be if you talked about your troubles with a friend or family member.
#5: Renewed commitment.
When you make the decision to get help from a therapist or coach, you’re sending a strong message to your partner and to yourself: You’re affirming that the health of your relationship IS important to you and IS worth the effort, time and energy.
You renew your commitment to making improvements and this alone can provide momentum for the changes that you want to make. That could move you out of continued misery and to a return to happiness.
Susie and Otto Collins are writers and Breakthrough Relationship Coaches who have been helping individuals and couples create the close, trusting, jealousy-free and happy relationships they want for many years.
Visit www.relationshipgold.com/coaching2.htm for more about their coaching offers.