Asking for communication help actually helps you
What if you felt heard and understood at the beginning of conflict? When you feel heard and understood before tension builds to the “red-zone,” you get to the resolution much more efficiently. Imagine, for example, that you and your partner are arguing about money, and rather than feeling shot down and criticized, you felt your opinion was respected and valued; that both of you were equal participants in these big decisions about your family. Now imagine how your partner would respond to you if they felt that way, too. Of course, finding a solution to the finances would be much easier, and far less upsetting to the mood of your home. But asking for help can be easier said than done.
Couples counseling that is fair and unbiased
This is where I can help. I can help you find a way to talk to your partner in a way that helps them hear what couples counseling is really about. I will help you clearly communicate that you know that there are things that you do that annoy them and that you are willing to work on these things as well. We will discuss how to tell them that I will not take sides and that I offer support and guidance to both sides equally. Typically, once people see this in action, and they know that they have an ally that will help their concerns be heard as well, they are more likely to engage in couples work.
Two types of relationship problems
- Content – What we argue about: Money, intimacy, and parenting are the top three
- Process – How we go about resolving the content. In my experience, the most common process conflict is when both people are correct from their own perspective
Any relationship between two people has 3 dynamics at play:
- Your dynamics,
- Your partner’s dynamics, and
- The relationship’s dynamics, which is NOT just a co-mingling of you and your partner’s dynamics . . . the relationship’s dynamics includes both of you but also has some manifestations of its own.
Each of these three dynamics needs to be taken into consideration when getting a relationship on track. When you have a fuller picture of what you are dealing with, finding common ground and workable solutions are far easier.
Would we benefit from marital or couples counseling?
Anybody who has been married any length of time can tell you that marriage is not as easy as it looks in the movies, or in our fantasies. It is hard work, often well worth it, but sometimes it does not seem like it, and sometimes this dance seems to have no rhyme or reason. It is when you and/OR your partner begin to consistently feel apathy about working on the relationship that couples counseling becomes vital. Obviously, when you can notice things (i.e., mindfulness) going in this direction before the apathy occurs, then even better – get started at that point using communication skills (involving both how to send AND receive communication), counseling, and mutual respect to potentially head off the apathy.
As with many other topics on this website, following through on these ideas/suggestions can be much easier said than done. Keep trying – persistence and consistency are some of the most powerful tools we have available to us.
The Relationship Cure and Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work are extremely helpful books to read when working on your relationships (martial or otherwise).
To learn more about how to fix red-flags in relationships, please visit my Couples Counseling page.
Jonathan F. Anderson, LPC-s has worked in the helping profession since he started college in 1990. After completing his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas, Austin in 1994, he attended the highly-regarded University of Minnesota to earn his Master’s degree in 1997. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is recognized as a Board Approved Supervisor by the State of Texas Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. Jonathan is a Gottman-trained Couples Counselor, and in 1998 received training by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation in Advanced Critical Incident Stress Management & Debriefing. To learn more about Jonathan’s practice, click here: Jonathan F. Anderson, LPC-s.