For couples, falling in love is only the beginning of the journey.
There’s no use in pretending that relationships are only butterflies in your stomachs, whispered sweet nothings, and steamy all-night sex romps. There are also arguments, painful emotions, and countless hurdles to overcome. Let’s face it—sometimes, relationships can be downright hard.
Couples who don’t realize how challenging relationships can be often throw in the towel after a couple of heated arguments or uncomfortable experiences. They don’t understand that just because a relationship isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it’s irreparably broken. In fact, sometimes the best relationships are the ones we have to fight the hardest for.
In other cases, couples feel frustrated, helpless, or uncertain in their relationship, wanting to preserve their union but unsure how to go about fixing their problems. Frequently, couples enter a relationship without the tools to handle all the challenges and curveballs—this is where relationship counseling comes in.
Relationship counselors can provide couples with the tools, techniques, and resources to communicate, empathize, and thrive as a couple. While almost any couple can benefit hugely from relationship therapy, there are several major signs that your relationship may need professional help. Here are a few of the most common:
You don’t talk to each other. Communication is essential to intimacy and the backbone of a healthy relationship. Without it, a relationship cannot survive. A relationship counselor can offer you and your partner communication strategies, and help facilitate conversations about tough-yet-important topics such as sex, finances, and the future. Sometimes, it can be scary to bring these kinds of issues up, but if they are not ever addressed, they build up into more serious problems.
You have the same arguments. It’s healthy for couples to argue and express strong emotions from time to time, but if you notice you are fighting about the same things over and over again, this could indicate a deeper underlying problem. Even if the causes of these arguments are seemingly petty or insignificant, it’s likely there are bigger elements at play. A therapist can help you and your partner work through these issues and unearth the source of the trouble.
You have a short temper. Oftentimes, unhappiness in a relationship manifests itself in other areas of your life. You may notice yourself acting short with others, or find that your temper flares up more easily in ordinary situations. In many cases, people will lash out against other people and situations because it’s easier than facing the more serious problems they may be having with their partner.
You’re unhappy and you don’t know why. If you notice that you are suddenly crying more often, sleeping less, eating more, or feeling depressed for no apparent reason, your relationship may be to blame. Unexpected changes in your behavior can be a big warning sign, even if you haven’t yet identified your relationship as the cause.
One of you is considering or has had an affair. Affairs can be traumatizing, heartbreaking, and emotionally damaging, but they do not necessarily mean a relationship is doomed. Recovering from an affair takes commitment, honesty, forgiveness, and a plan to move forward. A therapist can help you to reclaim your relationship.
There’s a dramatic change in your sex life. This could be a decrease in sexual intimacy or an inexplicable increase—both are potential warning signs. While a decrease in sexual activity could indicate physical relations with another, a sudden increase could indicate arousal from the idea of relations with another.
You withhold affection as a punishment. When you express anger or unhappiness by withholding affection, such as giving your partner the silent treatment or refusing sex, this creates an imbalance of power in your relationship that can cause long-term damage.
You are living separate lives. While healthy couples shouldn’t spend every waking moment together, a relationship also shouldn’t feel like a simple roommate arrangement. If you notice a lack of conversation, intimacy, and shared experiences in your relationship, it may be time to reexamine your relationship with the help of a professional.
Regardless of the issues they are facing, the vast majority of relationships can benefit from a checkup in the form of a relationship counseling session from a competent therapist. Whether you’re facing communication problems, overcoming an infidelity, or simply unsure of whether your relationship is the best that it can be, relationship therapy from a seasoned counselor can do wonders for your happiness as both a couple and individuals.
Many couples turn to general therapists when they are feeling discontent with something in their lives, and while this type of therapy can be helpful, it may not address some of the key issues as effectively. Just as a general practitioner wouldn’t be able to treat spinal disorders as well as a neurologist, a general therapist may not be able to treat relationship problems as well as an experienced relationship counselor.
Studies have shown that relationship counseling boasts the highest rate of participant satisfaction, but if you’re still not convinced that this type of therapy is right for you, you may want to try an Imago Couples Workshop. During this weekend-long session, couples can receive the benefits of six months of counseling from a highly qualified specialist, and be better able to determine if their relationship needs Houston relationship counseling. Click here to learn more.