Chesapeake, VA Therapists—Couples and Marriage Counseling
Four couples head off to a week of vacation—with a catch. In the movie, Couples Retreat, a wife and husband are considering separation, and they persuade their friends to join them in paradise for a couples retreat. If they go together, they can qualify for a group rate, and they have no intention of going to the therapeutic activities. They arrive, ready for a week of beach time, yoga classes, and massages, but they are told that the 6 AM couples skill building class is not optional. Neither is any of the other therapy. “I think there is a misunderstanding here. We signed up for the fun stuff,” Vince Vaughn’s character says. “So we have to give a little bit of our day up to talk about feelings. How bad couple it be?” The couples learn quickly that improving their marriage takes a lot of work, but it is worth their efforts, even if it means missing beach time.
The statics for divorce are daunting—up to 40 percent of first-time marriages end in divorce and the rates go up for second and third marriages. However, divorce is not the only option for couples who are struggling. Many couples are learning new and healthier ways to relate, and they are working with a marriage and couples therapist to do so.
“Couples counseling gets many couples back together. But not all, and not always. For your own sake and that of your children, however, I recommend it – I almost insist on it – as the first step for anyone unhappy in a relationship.”
—Laura Wasser, divorce attorney
Just because a couple wants a better relationship, does not mean that they know what “better” means or even how to achieve it. Marriage and couples therapy can often help couples identify the issues within their relationship and strategies for overcoming those problems.
The counselors, psychologists, and therapists at Thriveworks Chesapeake offer marriage and couples therapy because we know that how easily a marriage can get off course, but we also know how to get it back on track. Every relationship has issues, and every marriage needs help at some point or another. Thriveworks Chesapeake is here to help.
Common Relational Issues
When couples are in the midst of a more difficult season, it is easy to think, no one else is struggling like this. It is an understandable thought, but it is also usually an untrue thought. The reality is that many of the issues that plague a relationship are very common. Here are a few examples:
- Differing Goals – Couples do not always agree about where the relationship is going. When each partner is pulling in a different direction, then there can be stress and tension.
- Problems with Intimacy – Emotional and physical intimate are foundational for a relationship’s health. When these are not priorities, the overall health of the relationship may suffer.
- Distrust – If trust has been breached, it can be restored but only with consistent, trustworthy actions. Trust does not rebuild itself.
- Communication Difficulties – Good communication involves sharing, empathy, vulnerability and empathy, but these are difficult relational skills. It is easy for couples to get away from these fundamentals.
- Disagreements about Family – Issues like how to relate to in-laws, which housing options to pursue, and how to parent may be some of the most tense and sensitive issues that can trip up couples.
Most likely, you can resonate with something on this list. You are not alone in the struggle, and you are not alone in the solution. Many couples are going to marriage therapy to work through these issues because they can be worked through.
What Might Marriage Therapy Offer?
Many of the difficulties that couples face are also opportunities to improve their marriage. Marriage therapy can often facilitate that process of growth. A few of the ways skilled counselors can do is include…
- Providing neutral space for dialogue. When couples are passionate about a discussion, it can escalate. What is needed, however, is often a neutral discussion so that the issue itself can take priority.
- Setting expectations and timelines for change. Some issues are more urgent than others. Some change needs to happen now. Others can wait. How do people know the difference? Counselors can guide the change process.
- Identifying toxic patterns. In his famous study on marriage longevity, John Gottman used four indicators to determine whether a marriage was headed for divorce. They are contempt, stonewalling, defensiveness, and criticism. These are toxic patterns of relating that can be identified and replaced with healthier patterns.
- Developing conflict resolution skills. If toxic patterns have infiltrated a relationship, each partner may need to learn new ways of relating. Experienced counselors can lead couples through exercises that teach them how to attack the issue, not each other.
Appointments at Thriveworks Chesapeake, VA for Couples and Marriage Counseling
You and your partner may be experiencing a more difficult season. If you are, consider reaching out for help. The counselors, psychologists, and therapists at Thriveworks Chesapeake are ready to provide guidance and support to your marriage. Difficulty is not the end. Often, better days are ahead.
When you reach out to Thriveworks Chesapeake, we know that you are ready to get started. New clients often meet with their therapist the day after their first call to our office. Weekend and evening sessions are offered, and we accept a variety of insurance plans.
Let’s work on your relationship together. Contact Thriveworks Chesapeake today.