Something feels off—there’s a change in the relationship. It’s subtle, but it’s real. Conversations are more tense, heavier, more difficult. Talking about the weather or dinner or weekend plans takes more effort than it used to take. You feel drained. A house that was once peaceful and calm is now gloomy and silent. What changed? When did it start? Why are things different now? These are all questions in your mind, but the biggest one is what’s next? How can this marriage get back on track? Can the excitement, love, and vibrancy be restored?
Anyone who has been in a marriage or committed relationships knows that every couple goes through hard times. Up to 40 percent of all first marriages end in divorce, and the rates for second and third marriages are even higher. Ending the relationship is an option during tough times, but there are alternatives. Relationships can be repaired. Difficulties can be addressed. Flames can be rekindled. It is a romantic thought, but it is also a true thought.
Restoring a relationship often takes support and help, and many couples find the support and help they need from a marriage or couples therapist. Skilled counselors can often guide their clients toward a healthier, more loving dynamic in their relationship.
That is why the relationship counselors at Thriveworks Counseling in Somerville offer marriage and couples therapy. We understand how easily a relationship can lose its flame, but we have also seen many couples rekindle their love.
Relational Problems: Common Issues
It does not matter how perfectly a relationship started or how long a couple has been together, every marriage and every relationship has troubles. Just as no individual’s life is perfect, no relationship is perfect. Relational problems may be common, but their ubiquity does not make them fun. Think about these common difficulties that couples face. Do you recognize any?
- Differing Goals – Couples do not always agree on where to give their time and attention. The differences in priorities can cause stress and tension.
- Distrust – When trust is broken, it can be repair but only with utmost attention, care, and time. Unaddressed ruptures in trust grow without intention efforts to repair them.
- Communication Difficulties – Listening, sharing, empathy, and vulnerability are foundational to healthy relationships, but they can easily be replaced with agendas and control.
- Disagreements about Family – In-laws, parenting styles, housing options…these are landmines in most relationships that can cause partners to work against each other instead of with each other.
- Problems with Intimacy – When physical or emotional intimacy suffers, the relationship as a whole often suffers.
If you recognize something on this list, you are not alone. And your marriage or relationship is not necessarily over. These are common problems that other couples experience, but they are also common problems that many couples have overcome. Challenges are also opportunities for relationships to improve. Having the courage to acknowledge the challenge is often the first step toward a better relationship.
Healthier Relationship Dynamics
Restoring a marriage that has gone cold takes work. Reviving a relationship where partners are ready to quit takes time. Marriage and couples therapy is not a magic potion that makes everything easier and better. Both partners need to be committed to doing the work they need to do for the good of the marriage or couple. Many people are committed to restoring their relationship, but they do not know how. Marriage therapists can guide the process. How might marriage counseling help? Couples counseling may provide…
- A more neutral atmosphere for discussion. Anyone in a relationship knows how quickly issues can escalate, but often, resolution to those issues requires the opposite—a calm environment where both partners feel safe to speak without attack or being attacked.
- Realistic timelines and expectations for change. Certain relational and marital problems require urgent change. For example, if abuse is involved, the spouse who is the victim needs safety—immediately. Other challenges need time. Therapists can guide couples on an appropriate timeline for change.
- Identification of toxic patterns. Certain behaviors are more destructive than others. John Gottman famously identified his four horsemen of the marriage apocalypse: contempt, criticism, stonewalling, and defensiveness. These patterns need to be changed for the couple to flourish relationally.
- Growth of conflict resolution skills. People can learn new skills of how to handle conflict. When they are open to change and willing to practice, their marriage or relationship often grows as well.
Appointments at Thriveworks Somerville, MA for Marriage and Couples Therapy
Are you and your significant other having difficulty? If you are fighting… If you are ignoring each other… If trust has broken… If communication has broken down… know that there is help and there are options. For many couples, they come to marriage therapy to help them understand their options.
If you are ready to begin working with a couples therapist or marriage counselor, Thriveworks Counseling in Somerville is ready to help. When you contact our office, know that a real person will answer your call (not voicemail). You may be able to meet with your therapist within 24 hours, and weekend and evening sessions are offered. We also accept most forms of insurance.
Let’s work for a healthier relationship. Call Thriveworks in Somerville today.