While it is true that every couple is different, there are common themes to what brings them to therapy. Some issues are related to a stage of life, such as early parenthood or retirement. Other problems may pop up during times of significant transition.
The longer a couple is together, the more such factors can wear on the relationship. It’s essential to know that many couples encounter difficulties together. When tensions rise, however, seeking the help of a counselor can help restore balance and joy to your relationship.
Major Life Events
There’s no question that major life events are stressful, whether you’re married or single. Researchers have developed scales to rate the severity of stress for many life changes. Dealing with the death of loved ones, moving, and career problems are all near the top. Even getting married itself ranks high on the stress scale!
When one individual in a relationship is under high stress, the pressure often seeps into the relationship. The emotional upheavals during times of change easily create issues between couples.
Couples counseling can help teach both partners effective stress management. This approach can help set the stage for more harmony in the relationship.
Children and Family
Many, if not most, couples desire to become parents. From infertility issues to pregnancy to the high school years, the topic of children can often bring couples to counseling.
Relationships can shift considerably, beginning in pregnancy. Hormones and their effects can cause extra tiredness and emotional shifts in the expectant mom. The dad-to-be may not be ready for such changes. Of course, once a baby arrives, the relationship shifts even more.
Parents may struggle with differences in who handles what responsibilities. The primary caregiver (usually mom) may be exhausted and need more time to herself. As children age, discipline issues and even developmental issues can create conflict between the parents. Couples rarely have a chance to reconnect. It’s common for problems to arise between couples during these years.
The guidance and insight of a couples counselor can be invaluable during these times. Maintaining the health of the parental relationship is vital to creating a stable, healthy system in the family.
After couples have been together for a few years, it’s not uncommon for them to begin to feel disconnected. The newness and novelty of infatuation have worn off. They start to notice irritating things about each other they hadn’t noticed before. The other partner doesn’t seem as appealing. Humdrum responsibilities of everyday life wear away the spark. Couples may feel like they have nothing to talk about anymore. They might feel like they have nothing in common, either.
This issue is relatively typical in long-term relationships. A couples counselor can help each partner return to what brought them together in the first place. They can help pave the way for a restored interest in the relationship.
Sexual struggles are another common reason for couples counseling. There can be any range of reasons for difficulties in the bedroom. Differing libidos, performance anxiety, and more may need to be addressed. Work stress or parenting demands can be getting in the way. Fluctuating hormones in either partner can also lead to intimacy problems. Of course, infidelity can also be at play.
Couples are often embarrassed to talk about these topics. Counselors, though, know that there’s no reason for embarrassment. Sexual problems affect many couples. They may be an indicator of other issues in the relationship that can be addressed.
On the other hand, a therapist may recommend a medical consultation to look for physiological factors. When a couple can deal with this sensitive area of their life together, they can experience healing.
If you recognize yourself in any of these areas and are in the East Bay area, I encourage you to reach out to my office. Or, visit my page on [insert specialty link].
I specialize in working with couples and consider it a privilege to come alongside you. It is possible to regain stability and joy in your relationship.