Traverse City, MI Couples Counseling—Establishing a Healthy Relationship
Princess movies and romantic comedies make love look easy. The couple meets. Certain obstacles may keep them apart for a time, but they always overcome. They always have their happily-ever-after. Once they are together, the rest is easy… at least, in the movies. Real life is often a different story. Anyone who has been in a long-term, committed relationship knows that it is normal for couples to struggle after they have found each other. Disagreements, challenges, and hardships are all normal parts of being a couple. When couples struggle, there are no magic potions or fairy God-mothers to come to the rescue, but there is hope. Challenges are also opportunities to grow. Sometimes, couples grow and decide that splitting up in the right next step. Sometimes, couples grow and establish a healthier, happier relationship in the process. Each partner has to decide for themselves what is the right next step, but more and more, couples are going to therapy together to guide that process.
“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 Traverse City offers couples therapy because no relationship is perfect. When each partner is open to change, couples can often work out the rough edges of their relationship with the guidance of a relational expert. Couples counseling has helped many partners establish a deeper connection.
What Do Healthy Couples Look Like?
TV shows and movies often portray a romanticized ideal of love that is unrealistic for the real world. No one could maintain those expectations for love and romance. Real life relationships take work, and daily actions can make or break a relationship. Here is a picture of what real-life healthy couples look like…
1) They do not keep secrets from each other.
Healthy partners are fully known to one another—they do not hide their mistakes, their faults, and their weaknesses. They see each other realistically for who they are instead of for who they are not. Each partner offers the other unconditional love and acceptance. Within such a relationship, intimacy can grow, and the couple can bond.
2) They make space for each other’s individuality.
Being in a relationship does not make an individual’s needs, feelings, responsibilities, personality, or interests disappear. Healthy individuals make up healthy couples. Each partner should take responsibility for their own feelings, thoughts, choices, and actions. Each partner should continue to grow personally. Healthy couples make space for self-care, personal growth, and individuality.
3) They appreciate each other’s differences.
No two individuals are exactly the same. Healthy couples will likely share many interests, but they will also differ. These differences are healthy when they are engaged with respect. Healthy couples often welcome disagreements and differences in their relationship. It is possible for a Democrat and a Republican to be in a healthy relationship. It is possible for an Alabama fan to be in a healthy relationship with an Auburn fan. The key is respecting and appreciating each other’s differences.
4) Their time together is a priority.
This may seem obvious, but if partners do not want to spend time together, their relationship is in serious trouble. Healthy couples have active lives, but they always come back together. They may have to schedule time together. They may have to turn down other opportunities to spend time together, but they are willing to do this.
5) They maintain their respect for each other even when they are annoyed.
Every person in this world has annoying habits. Maybe something about the way your partners does the dishes or stores the toothpaste or folds the laundry annoys you. That is normal. Healthy couples never use those annoyances as opportunities to shame or mock their partner. They may need to address it directly and respectfully, but they always maintain respect.
6) They have each other’s back.
Healthy couples support each other publicly and privately. They keep on an eye on each other’s best interest. They do not allow friends and family members to put their partner down. They encourage each other to pursue their dreams, and they are allies in each other’s achievement.
7) They are willing to make sacrifices.
Each partner in a healthy couple does not give 50 percent. Instead, they are both all-in. At times, one may give more than the other. At other times, the burden shifts. Instead, they both give. They both receive. They do not keep score. The shape and extent of the sacrifice will differ from couple to couple, but partners in healthy couples make sacrifices for each other.
Scheduling an Appointment for Couples Therapy at Thriveworks Traverse City
If you and your partner want to make some improvements to your relationship, it may be time to start couples therapy. No relationship is perfect, and when partners are willing to make important adjustments to their relationship, they may experience the benefits for years to come. Whether therapy leads to being a healthier couple or whether partners decide to continue their relationship as friends, partners are often glad they went to therapy together. Thriveworks Traverse City offers couples counseling, and we have appointments available. When you contact our office, you may have your first appointment the following day. Call today.