The drama of being in a relationship is well-documented in VH1’s top show Couples Therapy. Each season, six couples move into a home and work with a team of therapists. Each episode, the couples go through different exercises meant to test their relationship, and audiences wonder which couples will split up and which will stick together.
The show’s popularity can be attributed to many factors, but one of which is that anyone who has been in a long-term, committed relationship understands what these celebrity partners are going through—the tension, the disagreements, the fighting and more. Being a couple is hard work, and difficulty is normal. Another thing audiences can relate to is the need for couples counseling.
“Every couple has ups and downs, every couple argues, and that’s the thing—you’re a couple, and couples can’t function without trust.”
—Nicholas Sparks, At First Sight
No couple is immune from the rollercoaster that being in a long-term, committed relationship brings. All relationships have difficulties, but many of these challenges can be overcome. Sometimes, partners have lost trust, but trust can be rebuilt. Sometimes, couples have different priorities, but priorities can be re-evaluated. Couples therapy and marriage counseling are not a silver bullet or a quick-fix.
However, when couples face challenges, it does not always signal the end of the relationship. Sometimes, difficulties are actually opportunities for partners to grow. Skilled couples therapists can often show them how.
Thriveworks Counseling in Phoenix, AZ offers couples counseling and marriage therapy, and we have worked with many couples who are not celebrities—they are ordinary people who want a healthier, happier relationship. We have guided many partners back toward a path forward.
Common Strains in Relationships
When couples experience tension, often they are facing a common relational problem. Many couples experience very similar difficulties within their relationship, and that means, couples therapists are often able to help. These common strains also have common solutions. What are common issues that can drive a wedge between partners?
- Arguments about Each Other’s Family – This issue is so common, that is often fodder for movies and TV shows. Think about the wild success of Meet the Parents—the movie struck a nerve because it is often hard to relate well with a partner’s family. Couples often disagree about which holidays to spend where, what role extended family will play in their lives, and more. It is an emotionally charged topic, and partners can be driven apart when they disagree about each other’s family.
- Differing Expectations – Partners never agree perfectly, and when differing expectations are stated and respected, they rarely become a problem. However, when each partner is pull the relationship in a different direction, the result is tension. This tension can take different forms. It can look like one partner trying to change the other. It can look like one partner keeping secrets from the other. However, the different expectations manifest, a skilled therapist can often help partners verbalize their expectations and respectfully disagree when necessary.
- Challenges with Communication – Empathy, vulnerability, personal responsibility, and openness are bedrocks of good communication, but they are also difficult skills to master. That is why couples often struggle with their communication. The good news is that these skills can be learned and/or developed. When partners’ needs are not being prioritized, when feelings are not expressed, when problems are minimized, often poor communication is a culprit. Skilled therapists often work with couples on how they communicate.
- Distrust – Cheating and lying can destroy trust in an instant. Missing an important date, not following through on a promise, showing insensitivity can slowly erode trust. In both instances, trust can be rebuilt, but it is never an easy process. Re-establishing trust takes time and effort and consistent effort. Skilled therapists often work with couples who are experiencing distrust.
- Difficulty with Intimacy – Intimacy is often associated with a couple’s sexual relationship. While it certainly includes this aspect of the relationship, it includes so much more. Intimacy is any way that a couple connects in a meaningful way. Intimacy can be physical, but it can also be social, emotional, spiritual, and more.
Why Start Couples Therapy or Marriage Counseling?
As you read through the list of common struggles that couples face, did you recognize anything? Maybe you did. Maybe you and your partner are struggling with something that is not on the list. Many couples are reaching out for help as they face difficulties with their relationship. Experienced counselors can usually help couples in a number of ways, but two of the most important include…
- Establishing a timeline for adjusting the relationship. Some adjustments need to be made now. Others can wait. Skilled therapists can often help couples prioritize which changes will help them the most.
- De-escalating the conflict. All too easily, partners attack each other instead of the problem. In the heat of the argument, the conflict escalates. Experienced therapists can de-escalate the conflict and teach couples healthy conflict resolution skills.
Meet with a Couples Therapist or Marriage Counselor at Thriveworks Counseling in Phoenix, AZ
If you and your partner are considering meeting with a couples therapist, consider reaching out to Thriveworks Counseling in Phoenix. Our professionals have worked with many couples, and we are ready to meet with you.
When you contact our office, you may have your first appointment the following day—many new clients do. Weekend and evening sessions are offered. We also accept many different insurance plans. Call our office for your appointment.