Happily-ever-after is a sweet ideal for fairytales, princess movies, and rom-com’s. But is that realistic for most couples? Being in a committed, long-term relationship is a lot harder than the movies often portray. It is normal for couples to fight, annoy each other, and even become angry. Sometimes, the fights are not easily resolved like they are within a 30-minute TV show.
No fairy-God-mothers show up to magically help couples, but many partners are going to therapy together. Couples counseling is not a magic formula for happiness. However, when partners are open and willing to change, they often improve their relationship. Sometimes, that improvement looks like a closer connection and a stronger bond. Sometimes, that improvement looks like transitioning their relationship to a friendship. Whatever partners decide is the best path for their future, couples therapists can guide that process.
Being a couple is easier said than done. The couples counselors at Thriveworks Counseling in St. Louis have worked with many partners who love each other but are having a hard time within their relationship. It is okay for couples to struggle. It is also okay for couples to reach out for help. That is why Thriveworks Counseling in St. Louis offers couples therapy and marriage counseling.
Hallmarks of a Strong Couple
TV shows and movies may not be a couple’s best guide for what a strong relationship looks like, but what does a happy, healthy relationship look like? Here are a few hallmarks of strong couples.
1) They acknowledge and appreciate each other’s differences.
Each person within a relationship is unique and has their own perspective, thoughts, feelings, and preferences. Partners will agree on much, but they will not agree on everything. In many cases, opposites attract. Strong couples acknowledge and appreciate these differences. When handled with respect, disagreements are opportunities for growth and understanding. That means strong couples can disagree about religion, politics, sports affiliations, and more without their relationship being in jeopardy.
2) They do not keep secrets.
Strong couples accept and love each other for who they truly are. They do not hide their faults or keep secrets. Instead, each individual is fully seen and accepted. Pride is checked. Vulnerability is embraced. Forgiveness is extended. Boundaries are established. The ability to fully be oneself within the relationship builds intimacy and bonds partners. Secrets, posturing, and denial break down intimacy.
3) They are always respectful, even when annoyed with each other.
It is normal for partners to annoy each other at times, but strong couples maintain respect. They refuse to put each other down, mock each other, or shame one another. Instead, they let little annoyances go and directly address issues that need to be discussed. Strong couples, in other words, stay focused upon what matters most for the health of their relationship and are not distracted by anything that could break down their bond.
4) They sacrifice for each other.
Strong partnerships do not split the work 50-50. Instead, strong couples each give 100 percent to the relationship. Both partners will make sacrifices for the other. Both partners will receive help from the other. Both are willing to pick up the slack without complaining or keeping score.
5) They support each other.
Healthy partners are each other’s biggest cheerleaders. They support each other and have each other’s back. They do not let others put their partner down. Instead, they are each other’s allies as they strive toward goals and dreams. When they have a concern to address, they tackle it privately and respectfully.
6) They make time for each other.
Strong relationships do not happen by accident. Being a couple takes intentionality and time. Calendars are packed. Life is busy. But each partner prioritizes time with the other, even turning down opportunities or saying, “no” to others when necessary.
Are these hallmarks present in your relationship? If not, couples counselors can help you get there. They encourage couples to talk openly and honestly as you work to resolve conflicts and improve specific areas of your relationship.
Scheduling Couples Counseling at Thriveworks in St. Louis
If you and your partner are ready to begin couples therapy, know that you are not alone. These intimate relationships are never perfect. Many couples have areas where they can strengthen their relationships, and many couples are also reaching out for help as they do so. Couples counseling often can help. Here are a few tangible ways that therapy may improve your relationship…
- By helping you and your partner prioritize adjustments that need to be made. Certain behaviors need to be changed sooner rather than later. Some changes will make a bigger impact on the relationship. Skilled couples therapists can help partners analyze what areas they need to work on and which changes need to be prioritized.
- By teaching conflict resolution skills. Simple disagreements can escalate, and partners can become stuck. When they have the conflict resolution skills to handle disagreements, partners can often resolve them and keep moving forward in their relationship.
Are you ready to get started? Call Thriveworks in St. Louis today for a couples therapy appointment. A scheduling specialist will answer (we do not have a voicemail), and help you make an appointment. You may be meeting with your counselor the following day. Weekend and evening sessions are offered. We also accept many different insurance plans. Let’s get started. Call today.