Marriage Therapy in Conway, AR—Marriage Therapists and Counselors
Marriage is not easy. It can be the most wonderful institution in life, but it can also be wrought with challenges. Joining two lives together is not an easy process for many. Years of living alone can make each person very set in their ways, and uneasy about the changes of everyday habits. Even simple changes like when or how to do laundry and dishes can create confusion and disagreement. Each person comes into the relationship with certain expectations and values, which are not always shared by their spouse. It can be very difficult and painful when your spouse does not live up to the way you have always dreamed of your marriage looking.
Marriage counseling at Thriveworks Conway can be very helpful in the process of joining together two lives. Some couples have a whirlwind engagement and get married soon after meetings. Other couples have been together for a long time, eventually decide to get engaged, have a long engagement period, and then finally get married. Whichever way your relationship has gone, you may still benefit from marriage counseling. No matter how long a couple has been together, new issues can arise that can cause strife, and old issues that have never been fully settled can resurface.
Marriage Counseling Methods
Have you ever imagined how your life could be different if you woke up tomorrow and all your hopes and dreams were realized. What if all of the changes that you wanted for your marriage suddenly happened? What would that look like for your marriage? How would you and your spouse interact? How would you feel about your partner? What would your conversations be like?
In counseling exercises, these are often called, “Miracle Questions.” They can be used in a variety of different counseling settings, but are often useful for marriage relationships as well. Being able to express and describe how your marriage would look if you could have everything you want in the relationship is very important for making these things happen. The first step in making a change is knowing the change that you want to make. You may only know that you are very unhappy in your relationship, but may be completely unable to express what you would like to be different. Alternatively, you may have a list of things that you want to change in your marriage, and need help making this a reality.
Identifying the most serious stressors in your relationship is very important in creating a new reality for your marriage. There may be certain “hot button” issues that cause problems for you and your spouse every time they come up. The solution to these types of issues is usually to deal with them openly and honestly. But at other times, such as in the case of differing political beliefs, it may be in the best interest of the relationship to simply avoid these topics and agree to disagree.
Dr. John Gottman, a well known researcher on relationships, has developed a straightforward and useful theory known as “Love Banking” (Drs. Stephen Covey and Willard Harley also use this concept). When put into practice in a marriage, love banking is one of many exercises that can help couples reestablish or develop trust and positive energy within their relationships. Thriveworks counselors can help you understand this concept and put into practice in your marriage.
Your relationship with your spouse can be thought of as a bank account. That account can be rich, or it could be very poor. You learn to see every interaction you with your spouse as either a “deposit” or a “withdrawal.”
A withdrawal is a request or demand given to one partner. This can also include actions such as slammed doors, insulting words, and any negativity.
Couples experiencing relationship difficulties often make a great deal of withdrawals:
- If you say, “Pick up your socks,” — that is a withdrawal
- If you say, “I don’t have time to talk, don’t bother me at work!” — that is a withdrawal
- If you say, “What have you done all day, this house is a wreck?!” — that is a withdrawal
While some of these things may be simple and honest requests, they are still withdrawals. We have not even discussed some of the most serious types of withdrawals that include fights and possibly use of name-calling and vulgarity.
In the financial world, no one wants to bounce checks. This is true also in your marriage bank account. Without deposits, withdrawals mean the same thing for your “marriage account” as they do for your bank account. When your emotional bank account is empty you feel sad, lonely, angry, and you may prefer to be alone than with your spouse.
Just as in a traditional bank account, deposits are the opposite of withdrawals. They are positive entries into your relationship. Dr. Gottman’s research reveals that in order for your relationship to stay healthy, the couple needs to have 5 deposits for every 1 withdrawal. It is a simple 5 to 1 ratio. This may seem completely impossible for couples that rarely have positive interactions. With the help of a skilled counselor, you can make this a reality in your marriage. You and your spouse can change your bad habits. The ratio works.
In order to make deposits, you need to express love and affection for your spouse. Another researcher, Gary Chapman, has developed what he calls “The Five Love Languages.”
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
Words of Affirmation
In a marriage, our words are probably the way that we communicate with our spouse the most. This love language is exactly as it sounds. We are able to use our spoken words to encourage and express love to our spouse. This can be verbal, in writing, and as often as you can manage. It is an important and simple was to express love to your partner.
This love language is also quite simple to complete. Gifts, large or small, expensive or inexpensive, can be very much appreciated by your spouse. To some, gifts are not important, but to others, who communicate primarily in this love language, they are a way they receive love. It is simply a tangible, physical reminder of the love of another. It says, “I thought of you. I remembered you.”
Acts of Service
Taking the trash out, picking up a gallon of milk, washing the dog; these are tasks most people do not love. But for someone who really values acts of service, even small ways that a spouse helps with chores is very important.
Having a long conversation, calling on your lunch break, going out to eat; the love style “quality time” is about giving undivided attention to another person. The activity that takes place during the quality time is really unimportant. Being completely focused on your partner is what is really meaningful.
Physical touch is also a simple way of expressing love, but is very easily set aside when life gets busy or a relationship gets difficult. An embrace, a kiss, holding hands, and a hand on the shoulder are all expressions of love. Physical contact and touch can relate to intimacy, but it is also regarding simple human contact.
Understand the ways in which you and your spouse best give and receive love is a very important exercise. Being aware of this for yourself and your partner can help you avoid having a withdrawn love bank.”
When you know the types of love languages that mean most to your spouse, it is easier to express love to them in a meaningful way. Thriveworks Conway Marriage Therapy can help you learn this and put it into action in your marriage.
Why Choose Thriveworks Conway Marriage Therapy?
When you go to a marriage therapist or counselor, you are trusting one of the most important things in your lives to this person. You want to be sure that you are receiving educated, sound advice. The person that you choose will be a major partner in helping your marriage recover. The professionals at Thriveworks Conway Marriage Therapy are leaders in the mental health field. They are licensed and trained to deal specifically with your marital issues. They are respected leaders in their community and have been published in leading publications, such as the Chicago Tribune, Prevention, Psychiatric Times, Atlanta Journal Constitution, and the Journal of Mental Health Counseling. We are ready to put our expertise to work for your relationship.
We have all heard the sad statistics regarding nearly 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce. In addition to this, too many couples find themselves in “emotional divorce.” In this state of marriage, you and your partner are still technically still together, but emotionally you are entirely separate entities.
Do any of these issues sound familiar?
- Communication blocks
- Problems with in-laws and extended family
- Anger issues- yelling, slamming of doors, swearing
- Family planning, to have or not have children
- Parenting issues and disagreements
- Jealousy, lack of trust
- Unresolved issues from past relationships
- Overscheduled lives, “passing each other in the night”
This is just a partial list of issues that couples can face. You may know exactly what issues your marriage faces, or you may be unsure of where you fall on this list, but just know that a happier relationship is possible. Whatever issues you and your spouse are facing, Thriveworks marriage counselors are ready and able to walk through them with you.
Thriveworks Conway Marriage Therapy: Ready to Help
We respect that it may be very difficult to finally make the decision to call us or send us a message. For that reason, unlike many counseling offices, we do not operate with a waiting list. We want to be ready when you are ready to seek help. Marriage is not easy, and there is no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed in needing help. Seeking counseling shows that you have a great deal of respect and hope for your relationship.
When you conducted the search that brought you to this page, you were most likely inundated with choices. There is a great deal of information available on this topic. It can be difficult to make a choice. You need not look any further. Thriveworks counselors can be your trusted partner in creating the marriage that you know is possible.
For information on Conway Marriage Therapy, call us at 501-404-9737