“The couples that are meant to be are the ones who go through everything that is meant to tear them apart and come out even stronger.” – Unknown
Let’s face it: Couples don’t book therapy appointments because things are going well in their relationship. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. When partners feel that their relationship is coming to a head, that’s when they typically seek out help, guidance, and support in order to navigate the potentially turbulent waters…which is where I come in.
Recall several blogs ago when we explored the dynamics of Discernment Counseling, the stay-or-go struggle, the components of couples therapy, and why deciding to call it quits doesn’t equate to failure. In my practice, when I’m working with couples that have no idea where to go next in their relationship, I tend to do a combination of all the above. My belief is that for couples to move forward – in whatever fashion they choose – they first need to work through their individual hurt.
It’s worth mentioning again that my approach here is not marriage counseling, Discernment Counseling, or “breakup” counseling, for lack of a more suitable term; rather, it’s about partners hearing one another and understanding each other’s pain in order to figure out where to go from there. It’s often the case that the pain has been building up for years due to an affair, an addiction that’s been uncovered, or ongoing financial struggles, for example. As a counselor, my role is to help strip back the layers to see what’s really happening within the context of their relationship. Throughout this process, I facilitate respectful, honest communication between partners by verbally passing messages from one to the other; I’ve found that this assists in softening the blow, so to speak, and allows for increased receptivity on both sides. I also collaborate with the couple to discover what would be the most appropriate and fitting solution – for them.
Although this process (like any given healing process) takes time, it is possible to become unstuck and to move forward. In my counseling experience, couples usually end up becoming closer after it’s all said and done. If, however, they don’t end up staying together, they will have at least learned to be civil and amicable towards one another.
TAKE-AWAY: It’s 100% okay to not know where to go next in your relationship. It’s likely that it will take some time, a mutual understanding, and perhaps an unbiased third party – a counselor. Just remember that it’s easier to find a solution when both parties are respectful, honest, and considerate of each other.