It's important to start our relationships on a foundation of understanding. Understanding flows from a place of interest and curiosity. If you've ever said about your partner that you know everything there is to know about them, then it's time to take a step back. People are fluid and dynamic and ever-changing. When we say things like this, it often means we've got blinders on and are at risk of missing something important. Premarital counseling helps you become curious about each other and to avoid these sorts of dangers in your relationship.
As a therapist, I find inner conflict incredibly interesting. This is partly true because I often practice a type of therapy that isn’t very far removed from this very idea. No, we don’t speak about angels and demons on your shoulders, but we do recognize that we often have these inner dialogues and debates. Even if you’ve never said, “I’m on two minds” about something, you might have recognized that “There’s a part of me that wants to say yes, and another that wants to say no.” What are these parts? Why are they so conflicted? How can we get them to come to a resolution? When you can’t come to a resolution, which part wins?
“Every hour that we are awake, we are told twenty-two times that we are not rich, thin, young, beautiful, ripped, or stylish enough.” When I first came across this quote in the book Healing Spiritual Wounds, I had one of those Wait! What? moments. There was something altogether unbelievable about what I had just read. The idea that we are riddled with advertising and messages in an attempt to get us to buy another product wasn’t new - if anything, twenty-two messages seemed a little low. My pause for reflection was about what those messages say to us about us.
Faith is an important element of many people’s story. Whether you were raised in attending church or in a home that was more secular, our histories often contain elements of faith or spirituality, even if those definitions vary wildly from family to family. For some, spirituality speaks to the sense that we are all connected and that there is an energy – some would say a divine energy – that flows through all of the natural world. For others, the idea of faith evokes images of an old man in the sky character who is wholly responsible for creation and punishes those that would defy him.
As a couples therapist, I often have couples that tell me how much their phone is interfering with their lives and their relationship. When they reunite after a day at work, couples say that their phones serve as an all-too-easy distraction that reduces the quality of their time together. It can keep them from having important conversation. It can keep their mind partially at the office instead of being fully present at home. It’s a real problem – we’ve talked about it a previous blog post, too.
Often, people come to our office and ask what they can do to improve their lives, to fix their relationship, or to make the work experience more rewarding? It is not an easy question and there certain are no easy answers. Everyone has their own unique experience that we explore in the counseling process.
There are few points in a relationship so painful as when it comes to light that a partner has not been faithful. Reaching outside the relationship for physical or emotional connection can take many forms but all of them can feel overwhelming and devastating. In order to heal from these experiences, it often requires deep levels of understanding from both partners and help from a trusted & highly-trained professional.
And when that happens – when you’ve communicated and shared and loved and grown – the needs that they have can seem less like nagging and more like those needs are your very own. You can celebrate when they are happy, and not be jealous. You can hold them when they are sad and not feel the need to fix it or a sense of blame. You don’t just understand them intellectually, you can begin to see the world through their eyes and experience the world through their senses.
If you ask any therapist who works with relationship issues, they will tell you that every single couple they see will say, at some point in the process, “We just need help communicating.” If you’ve ever thought that – or said it aloud – know that you are definitely not alone.I have to admit, though, I think there is way more going on than just that.