As a Houston marriage counselor, I can’t tell you the number of times couples have expressed annoyance with their partners to me. They lament the fact that their significant other doesn’t do X, Y, or Z, but often don’t bother to talk about these expectations with them. Or when they do “talk” about it, those expectations end up coming out more like emotional demands and cause further relationship problems.

Why do we expect our partners to just know they should do certain things or act a certain way without communicating with them about it? The answer has to do with how we idealize them early on in the relationship.

Idealizing Your Partner Leads to Problems, Says Houston Marriage Counselor

In a new relationship when you are just falling in love, relationship problems are the last thing on your mind. Giddy with endorphins, you glorify everything your loved one does, and imagine a life full of joy, peace, and hope. They are perfect, and will make you perfectly happy in a way that you never could be before.

But as time passes and this magical vision of life doesn’t come about, we start to resent our significant other, and may even start to feel like they’re actually standing in the way of us achieving those dreams. Worse that that, we feel like they’re withholding that happiness from us, and become increasingly annoyed with them. Eventually, this can lead to serious relationship problems.

A Houston Marriage Counselor Can Help

If you find yourself stuck in this rut of feeling annoyed that your partner can’t give you what you need, seek out professional help. The first step in alleviating your relationship problems is to find an effective way to talk about your emotional needs and how they are not being met.

Talking about difficult things can often lead to an argument, especially if either of you enter into the conversation in an emotional state. As a Houston marriage counselor, I can show you how to “take a holiday from being you” and learn how to share your partner’s experience and discover how to help them get what they need just by listening.

Have you ever had an “aha!” moment with your partner where you realized that they really do think very differently from you? So many relationship problems are caused by this very thing. We have an innate inability to see beyond ourselves, but when we finally do, the reaction is amazing and can really help to bring you closer to your partner.

If you’ve tried this on your own and can’t seem to get past your relationship problems on your own, contact a Houston marriage counselor today.

In my work couples counseling in Houston, one of the most valuable pieces of relationship advice I offer is also the simplest: have a date night. It may seem trivial, but most couples lose touch with one another over time. Sure, they live in the same home, but as we grow older, there are more and more responsibilities that keep us apart. As you spend less time with your partner, you may feel less connected to him or her. That’s how serious relationship problems develop.

Couples Counseling in Houston: Don’t Make Excuses

It may seem difficult to find time for date night. Who will watch the kids? How will I get all my errands done? But consider this. You make time for your physical health by exercising regularly and going to the doctor, and you make time for your financial health by analyzing investments, paying your bills, and updating your budget. Why aren’t you doing the same for the health of your relationship?

The next excuse people often give me in my work couples counseling in Houston is that they can’t afford it. But the cost of not making alone time together a priority is much higher: regular therapy sessions, maybe even divorce fees, and of course the emotional toll it takes on your whole family.

Plus, date night doesn’t have to cost you much money. If child care costs are a concern, find friends with children and swap “babysitting” services, so you can all benefit from a date night now and then. There are many things you can do cheaply or even free. Instead of going out to dinner at a fancy restaurant, make the same meal at home together. Or rent a movie and make a bowl of popcorn instead of going to see a film at the theater. How much money you spend isn’t what matters. It’s how much time you spend together that counts.

If your problems have already escalated to the point where a date night together just isn’t enjoyable, then get relationship advice now. The sooner you address your relationship problems, the easier they will be to resolve. Seek couples counseling in Houston.

In Houston, marriage counseling is often a last ditch effort for couples. After years of letting things between them grow stale, the couple finally seeks relationship help to deal with the issue. But the truth is, the earlier you address the problem, the better. Relationships take work. Putting in the effort now will prevent more serious issues down the road.

Houston Marriage Counseling: How to Identify the Issue Early

For many couples that come to my Houston marriage counseling office, the problem is that they didn’t recognize the “symptoms” when they started. How can you tell if your marriage needs some help? Consider these questions:

–          Do you frequently feel resentment toward your partner?

–          When was the last time you laughed together?

–          Do you often wish to spend free time with someone other than your spouse?

–          Do you find yourselves playing the “blame game” often?

–          Are your conversations often filled with bitterness and sarcasm?
If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these questions, then it may be time to address the problems now. In my work Houston marriage counseling, I often find myself reminding couples to make their relationship a priority. You need to spend time alone regularly, even if you have kids. Just like you make time for exercise and running errands, you need to put date night on your “to do” list. And bring the romance back to everyday life. Surprise your spouse with a love note. Or light some candles and take a bath together.

Another important part of making your marriage thrive is communication. At my Houston marriage counseling office, this is something we discuss a lot. Talk about your issues. Express empathy. And spend more time learning to accept your partner’s imperfections than criticizing them.

If you’re looking for a way to work on your relationship, I encourage you to come by my Houston marriage counseling office.

As a Houston marriage counselor, I can tell you that no event will change your life more than the arrival of a new baby. Having a child can be a wonderful experience that brings you together, but I’ve also seen many couples struggle to make the transition because they didn’t think it through beforehand. Some people assume that having a child will be the “glue” that puts a broken relationship back together, but the truth is it will be a new source of stress and relationship problems. You’ll have less free time, more financial burdens, and a whole load of additional responsibilities, from waking up in the middle of the night to care for a crying child to taking your baby to doctor appointments in the middle of the work day. You need your relationship to be as strong as possible to weather these changes together.

In my work as a Houston marriage counselor, I work with expecting couples on communication. Working through issues now will help you better handle the strain caring for a baby will put on your relationship. Armed with a better understanding of one another and respect for your differences, you will be able to more easily negotiate any relationship problems that come your way.

As a Houston marriage counselor, I also encourage couples to enjoy the time you have together now. Bond as a couple by taking that trip you always meant to go on, enjoying a long lunch, or visiting the movie theater. All these things will become more complicated once you have a new baby in your life, so appreciate the freedom you enjoy now and strengthen the connection you have.

Houston Marriage Counselor: Sit Down and Talk About It

Discuss major decisions now. Will you both go back to work? Who will provide child care? Who is available to baby-sit when you need a night off? Are there any friends or family members able to provide support for the new mom in those first crucial months while she recovers from the pregnancy? How will the division of chores change once the baby is here? How will you budget for new expenses?

The game plan may change slightly after the big event, but knowing the answers to these questions now can help to make things go smoother and prevent relationship problems. If you need help discussing these issues or aren’t sure you have your bases covered, I recommend you take some time to talk with an experienced Houston marriage counselor.