TV couples make it look easy. Think about Ross and Rachel, Big and Carrie, Jim and Pam, Laura and Urkel. Sure, they had their struggles, but most of the problems they faced were finding each other. Once they were together, these couples had a happily-ever-after. It would be wonderful if the real world worked that way, but anyone in a long-term, committed relationship knows that being a couple is not that easy. It takes work to be in a relationship, and partners often feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or annoyed. These emotions may signal that it is time for the relationship to end, but they may also be an opportunity for partners to work through a challenge and grow closer together. Only those within the relationship can decide, but there is help. More and more, couples are going to therapy together and trying to establish a healthier, happier relationship.
Couples therapy is not a quick-fix for relationship problems, but many couples have established healthier ways of relating to each other with the help of a relationship expert.
“I have my own high standards for what I want in a partner and how I want to be treated. I bring a lot to the table. I’m not talking about material things but what I have to offer as a person – love and loyalty and all the things that make a good relationship.” —Jennifer Lopez
Thriveworks San Diego offers couples therapy, and our counselors have worked with many partners who are struggling. Sometimes, the couple decides to split up. Sometimes, the couples decides to work through the issue. Almost always, the partners are able to establish a healthier relationship—whatever form that relationship may take.
What Does A Healthy Relationship Look Like?
Unrealistic romantic expectations are everywhere. Hollywood often portrays a standard that everyday couples could never attain, and even if they could, it would not necessarily be healthy. Establishing and maintaining a happy relationship in real life takes a lot of time and effort. What does it look like? Here are a few ways to recognize healthy couples…
1) They do not have secrets. They are fully known and accepted.
Happy couples do not hide from each other. They do not run from their own weaknesses, failures, or struggles. Instead, they are known and accepted. They also accept responsibility for their own thoughts, feelings, and personal growth. Each partner can know the other without trying to shame them into changing. This level of vulnerability requires courage and trust, but it also means that intimacy can go deep.
2) Each partner maintains their unique personality and distinctiveness.
Being in a relationship should never mean an individual’s uniqueness is downplayed. Healthy couples have room within the relationship for personal feelings, needs, thoughts, choices, and responsibilities. Self-care is important, even when an individual is in a long-term relationship.
3) They respect each other’s differences.
One of the reasons each individual within a healthy couple can maintain their uniqueness is that partners handle differences with respect. Disagreeing and differences can be a sign of health. When done with respect, a republican and a democrat can be happy in as a couple. A Golden State Warriors fan can fall in love with a Cleveland Cavaliers fan. A protestant and a catholic can be a perfectly happy couple.
4) They prioritize their time together.
It is a guarantee that calendars fill up quickly. Life is busy and chaotic, but people choose how they spend their time. Happy couples choose to spend time together. They may live busy lives, but they always find time for connection. Healthy partners are often willing to turn down engagements and opportunities when they need to do so. Time together is a sign of caring and connection. It communicates value, and happy couples spend time together.
5) They are each other’s biggest fans.
Everyone needs a cheerleader, and healthy couples support each other both privately and publicly. That means they do not put their partner down, and they do not allow others to put their partner down. That means they encourage each other to pursue their dreams and look out for one another’s best interests. Happy couples are allies.
6) They are willing to sacrifice for each other.
At some point in every relationship, one partner will have to make a sacrifice for the other and vice versa. Some people describe being in a relationship as a 50-50 effort, but the reality is that happy couples both give and do not keep tally. Each partner will need help. Each partner will make a sacrifice. They may give up an opportunity, time, finances, or more, but happy couples are willing to let go.
Scheduling an Appointment at Thriveworks San Diego for Couples Therapy
As you read through the ways that healthy couples relate, you may have noticed a few ways that you and your partner can improve your relationship. It would normal if you did. No couple is perfect, and no couple has to work through challenges alone. Thriveworks San Diego offers couples therapy, and our counselors are ready to work with you and your partner. When you contact our office, you may have your appointment the following day. We offer evening and weekend sessions, and we accept many different forms of insurance. However, we do not put our clients on a waitlist. We hope that couples can receive the counseling they need when they need it. Call today.