How does relationship counselling help to save a marriage?
In a culture like ours where marriage knots are tied in heaven, separation and divorce are worse than nightmares. Many factors such as interpersonal differences, challenges of having to stay in a joint family, or simply incompatibility with each other can lead to marriage coming to an end.
When does one need relationship counselling ?
1. Partner alienation:
Any of the partners feeling alienated in the marriage indicates that there is no healthy communication happening in the couple. Communication is one of the most important stones of marriage and the lack of communication is a red flag of dysfunctional relationships.
2. Frequent arguments:
Arguments can be healthy. Arguments can help a couple grow. However frequent and intense arguments then take a turn when individuals turn into gaslighting their partner. These intense arguments, gaslighting can really destroy the health of the marriage.
3. Keeping Secrets:
Marriage is the relationship where transparency is demanded the most. When the secrets are kept, loyalty and trust are under a question mark.
4. Financial crisis:
When finances are a frequent topic of argument, the difference in opinion regarding the financial aspect of the family can lead to a devastating effect on couples.
5. Individual differences:
when a couple thinks that they have nothing in common . When they think they are too different from staying under one roof for the rest of their lives, this thought creates turbulence in the marriage.
Why do many of the conflicts are not resolved in marriage?
When we talk about resolving conflict , we also need to understand that there are many myths that force us to stay in conflict.
1. Romantic love lasts forever:
Imagining that things will be rosy, romantic, and picture-perfect most of the time will not help us accept that the nature of love, the nature of romance changes as time passes.
2. My partner should and will understand:
It's kind of taking your partner for granted or expecting him/her to perform the tasks that they are “expected to as per their role in the system” - any incongruence in this “expectation” is going to continue to contribute to conflict.
3. My partner (only) can make me feel worthy:
Being dependent on a partner for validation otherwise, gaslight lighting him/her
4. We will always be on the same side:
It is a kind of situation where we start to think that there will always be an alignment in thoughts and my partner would not have his/her own opinion
5. I will always be forgiven:
Taking your partner for granted in this and not considering that your actions might really hurt him/her.
6. Approval is equal to love:
This is not the situation always. If you are getting approval from your partner that doesn’t mean that he/she is loving the same.
7. Nothing can stay forever:
“It will always be the same forever, " whereas change is the only constant in reality! When things change, those are not usually welcomed as a sign of growth or progress but we grieve about what has changed and keep ourselves in the loop of conflict.
It is also a fact that it’s all easy to read in theory but we are often clueless about how it can be achieved. A mental health professional can play an important role when you cannot figure it out all by yourself.
A Mental health professional or relationship Counsellor can help you to set a realistic, individual as well as mutually agreeable goal. The counsellor helps you to reflect on an individual's actions, gives an objective overview of their behaviours, and helps with coping strategies. A mental health professional doesn’t force partners to reconcile over conflicts but helps them reach their respective goals.
In relationship counselling, a therapist or marriage counsellor helps a couple to have an objective view of the conflict. The therapist helps the couple to identify the specific problem and treat it as the problem. In the course of the conflict, disagreements tend to take a generalised form hence objectifying them becomes very important.
Therapists help couples set ground rules and boundaries . With the help of the therapist, couples can set the goal for marriage and explore the potential solutions for the problems they have. The therapist not only helps the couple to work on the conflict as a team but also provides space for each partner individually to understand their concerns at an individual level. Sometimes each partner also goes through individual therapy to cope with emotionally uncomfortable situations.
Many times the problems in the marriage become so intense that individuals start considering the partner as the problem. Marriage counselling can help couples dissociate the problem from the partner, look at the problem objectively and accept the partner as a fallible individual.
It’s important to understand that a healthy functioning relationship is not one person’s job or responsibility. A relationship is a unit and both partners have to contribute to sailing through. Honesty and respect for each other and for the values we follow as an individual, supporting each other in challenging times, and achieving their goals help to nourish the chemistry of the relationship. A Couple’s Counsellor can surely help to navigate but it's ultimately the partners who need to row the boat.
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