Conflict in relationships is one of those things that gets a bad reputation. Much like discomfort or pain. We sometimes mistakenly assume that relationships should not have moments of conflict, despair, frustration, discomfort, or pain. It is important that we learn what conflict really means so that we can deal with it accordingly. Typically in couples dynamics, conflict is not usually the problem we face, it is knowing how to deal with it in a way that doesn’t create calamity in our relationships. To have conflict is to be normal. But to avoid conflict, discomfort or pain is to sabotage an opportunity for growth. Conflict is really just growth trying to happen in your relationship.
Trust is often seen as this big thing that we either have or we don’t. Someone has either earned it, or they haven’t. Trust is sometimes seen as one of those things we have, until it is lost or betrayed. Or it is something we can’t know that we have until someone has taken the necessary steps to ensure they are, in fact, trustworthy. Researchers have begun to explore the anatomy of trust and what ingredients make up trust. Whether you’re starting a new relationship, revitalizing an old one, or trying to recover from betrayal or infidelity, it can be helpful to know how to measure trust, what to look for, and how to detect what’s missing and what can thus be worked on.
Here we are, in the midst of a brand new year. The rush of the holidays have passed, we are financially recovering from our excess spending, physically recovering from too many holiday treats, and emotionally recovering from too much hustle and bustle or too much time with family members that we, uhhh, prefer to enjoy less time with. The new year marks a new start, a fresh beginning, and an opportunity to better ourselves. We often focus on resolutions like hitting up the gym, quitting smoking, saving more money, or living life to the fullest. But, how often do we make relational goals with our lovers? Why not shift our focus this year to also attending to our relationships?
Feeling a bit at odds with your mate? Like you’ve been at each others’ throats about small, trivial things? You may wish your partner was less irritable, more enjoyable, and more fun--like they used to be. But, it can feel like a daunting task and downright powerless to sit around hoping and waiting for the other person to change, especially after you’ve repeated yourself over and over again. While there aren't any quick-fixes, here are some simple, but effective strategies that YOU can implement turn your relationship around this week.
As couples therapists here at our center, we devote our professional careers to helping couples restore, re-ignite, and rejuvenate their relationships to their former glory and beyond. We are committed to helping couples who feel like they are in a relationship “crisis” or a really rocky place get to a place that feels “good.” And other times, we help couples who are feeling “good” get to a place that feels “great.” Often times that is attainable, and other times, we therapists have our own challenges when a couple decides to end the relationship. We can often see lots of deep, meaningful, and “great” work to still be done, and yet we sometimes will hear the thing we don’t want to hear: “We have decided to end things, so we won’t be coming back to therapy.” This decision might make sense to you, but marriage counselors aren’t just here for those who are married. We can do great work even when you decide to split. Here are some things that we therapists wish you knew before you decide to cold-turkey the therapeutic relationship.
Often times, couples are broken into a few different categories:
- those who are together and happy
- those who are together and unhappy but are trying to repair the relationship
- those who are together, unhappy, and are not sure what they want to do (and are "stuck")
- and then those who have made the decision to end the relationship.
As couples therapists, we usually work with clients in the first 3 categories. But, who works with those who are ending a relationship, are going through a breakup or divorce, or are trying to get back on track after a relationship has ended? A marriage therapist can still be a great type of counselor to consider.