The wedding between Prince Humperdink and Princess Buttercup may be one of the most recognizable of any movie of all time. The priest’s homily steals the scene as he declares, “Marriage, that blessed arrangement, that dream within a dream… and love, true love, will follow you forever… so treasure your love.” As if to highlight the absurdity of this homily, Prince Humperdink interrupts and insists, “Skip to the end!” Clearly, Humperdink’s and Buttercup’s marriage is no blessed arrangement, but theirs is not the only one. Marriage is often not a dream within a dream. That is a nice thought, but the reality is that every marriage has difficult times. Spouses often are annoyed, frustrated, and angered with each other—that is normal. It is also normal for spouses to reach out for help. More and more spouses are going to marriage therapy when they are in the midst of relational challenges. Marriage counseling is not a quick fix, but many spouses are finding the relationship help they need.
“Marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do. It’s the way you love your partner every day.”
—Barbara De Angelis
The little things can make or break a marriage. Everyday interactions matter—both for throwing a marriage off track and for getting it back on track. When spouses are willing to take an honest look at their relationship and work toward positive change, a marriage therapist can often help them improve their relationship. There are never guarantees in relationships, but there is help.
The marriage therapists at Thriveworks Washington, DC have worked with many spouses, and we offer marriage counseling because we know that every relationship needs support during “good times and bad, in sickness and health, for rich or poor.” So, if you think that your marriage could benefit at all from working with a trained professional, reach out to Thriveworks Washington, DC to schedule an appointment.
Should We Start Marriage Therapy?
When spouses are struggling to connect, they may wonder if now is the time to reach out for help. Often, they are asking if others go to marriage therapy for similar issues, and the truth is that the decision to start counseling is very personal. There is no wrong reason to start, but there is no right reason either. It is more important that one or both spouses are ready. If you are asking if marriage therapy can help, that may be a sign it could. Listing every reason spouses begin counseling would be impossible, but a few examples of issues that have led some couples to start therapy include…
- One or both spouses have cheated: Adultery is often a crisis point for a marriage. Some spouses decide to part ways after one or both have cheated. Some spouses want to try to repair the harm and rebuild trust. Many have no idea what they want or what their next step could be—they simply feel the bitter sting and betrayal. Whatever the future may hold after an affair, a marriage therapist can often guide the process toward a healthy resolution—whatever resolution may mean to each spouse.
- Tension is strangling the relationship: Healthy relationships consist of healthy individuals—people who have unique feelings, thoughts, perspectives, choices, preferences, and more. Conflict is inevitable in any relationship, much less a marriage. When spouses respect their differences, resolve conflict, and move forward, disagreements and conflicts can be bonding experiences. However, when difference or disagreement escalates, spouses can begin to attack each other. They may feel as if tension will destroy the relationship. Marriage therapists often work with couples, teaching them conflict resolution skills.
- Apathy is strangling the relationship: Just as too much tension is a problem, so is no conflict. Fire is destructive but so is ice. Apathy in a marriage can signal several things. It may mean that one spouse’s perspective is being dominated by the other’s. It may also mean that one or both spouses are weary of conflict and they have given up. Neither are good signs for the future of the marriage, but both may be corrected if the spouses are willing to reach out for help. Marriage counselors often work with spouses to identify any problems that could be fueling the apathy and work through them.
- Spouses are living parallel, not interconnected, lives: Life is busy. Calendars are packed with work and hobbies and activities. It is easy for spouses to live parallel lives that never interconnected. Healthy spouses are busy, but they prioritize connection. When spouses are living parallel lives, it is often a red flag for an intimacy problem. Intimacy is simply anyway spouses connect in a meaningful way. It can be emotional, physical, social, sexual, spiritual, and more. When intimacy is off, the marriage may struggle. Marriage therapists often help spouses reconnect.
How the Gottman Method Can Help You and Your Partner
There are many different methods to marriage counseling but one method, the Gottman Method, has been proven to be very effective in helping couples face their problems and overcome them. The Gottman Method is a research-backed approach that combines tactics from the Sound Relationship House in order to address things like:
- Poor communication
- Frequent arguments and conflicts
- Specific problems such as parenting, infidelity, financial strain, and lack of intimacy
- Couples on the verge of separation or divorce
The Sound Relationship House theory is that there are nine components of a healthy relationship. When those nine components are addressed, it can increase empathy and understanding within the relationship. Those nine components are:
- Understanding your partner’s worries, stresses, and goals
- Improving and understanding affection and respect within your relationship
- Understand and state your needs and build upon them
- Effective problem-solving skills
- Manage conflict rather than “resolve” conflict
- Create a positive environment that encourages you and your partner to discuss your values, goals, and aspirations
- Understand narratives and goals in your relationship
- Maximize trust
- Cherish the qualities of one another to build commitment
Thriveworks Washington, DC has counselors with Level 1 Training of the Gottman Method and are ready to help you and your spouse today. If you are ready to work with one of these therapists, just let our scheduling team know when you call to set up your first appointment.
Schedule a Marriage Therapy Session at Thriveworks Washington, DC
Are you ready to reach out for help? Maybe you recognized something on this list of issues that bring spouses to marriage therapy. Maybe you didn’t. Everyone has their own journey. If the next step on your journey is to start marriage counseling, Thriveworks Washington, DC is ready to help. We have appointments available. When you contact our office, you may have your first appointment the following day. Our clients lead busy lives, so we offer evening and weekend sessions. However, we do not keep a waitlist, so you will never be put on one. Instead, we’ll try to get you in as soon as possible, often within the first week of your call. Additionally, we accept many different insurance plans. Let’s work together on your marriage. Call Thriveworks Washington, DC today.