Marriage Counseling in Charlotte, NC— Arboretum Area Therapists
A famous therapist once said, “Marriage is a people-growing machine.” He meant a lot of things by this, but the biggest one was that the crucible of marriage forces us to change who we are. We can either be purified by the fire, or we can burn ourselves and others. Marital therapy’s whole goal is to help reduce the burning and increase the purifying. Do you want to be a passive passenger on the journey of your relationship, watching it dissolve from the sidelines? What say do you want to have in the health and growth of your own marriage?
Being married for many people is a sacred act of bonding two souls into one harmonious unit. The problem with that idea, is that we aren’t really prepared anymore for how to do this. We apprehensively give of ourselves. We lack the ability to share our vulnerable truths. We struggle to trust because we’ve been hurt before. We don’t know how to share income and parenting. Half of us don’t even know how to share a closet or bathroom! Marital therapy is about the opportunity to discover what interactions between partners are keeping you stuck and finding alternatives that help you have the relationship you always wanted and hoped for.
It seems like almost every couple who comes into therapy starts with “communication” as their issue. I can tell you, it’s never just “communication.” It’s trust. It’s fear. It’s the way we were raised. It’s missed expectations. It’s differences in passion. It’s choices around career or vacations or children or friends or food. It’s not expressing or receiving love. Communication is the “how” of all of those things, and you can’t not communicate. After all, no communication still speaks volumes. Marital therapy is less concerned about the specifics of what you are struggling to communicate, and more concerned about empowering your communication to work for you. This is going to require both parties to change to some degree. Your therapist is going to hold you accountable to your changes while holding your partner to theirs. It’s not about blame or shame. It’s about owning your own stuff in ways that are more humble, curious, and respectful. (Also, since the mind is the most erogenous part of the body, great communication = great sex. Yep, you read that right.)
Every now and then, marriages are not actually supposed to be forever. The relationships run their course and that season of both of your lives comes to an end. A famous anthropologist married to a therapist once suggested, “Everyone should be married three times. Once for love, once for parenting, and once for companionship.” It’s been said that the lucky ones are married to the same person all three times. Whether or not that is true for you, recognizing we change and our motivations for being married also change, marital therapy can help you figure out what’s best for you, your partner, and your children in whatever stage you are in.
Daniel Stillwell, PhD is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in working with couples and relationships.