Keeping a marriage healthy and happy over time takes work, and is sometimes quite a difficult task. It is wonderful when a couple in a troubled relationship is able to recognize and jointly work out their differences. This process is seldom easy, however. Once problems have started to become chronic, each partner feels betrayed by the other and compromise feels unsafe. In such cases, the safe and protected haven offered by a marital or couples therapist can make the difference between a marriage that fails and one that recovers itself.
Most relationships are imbalanced in certain areas, leading to recurring power struggles and arguments. Mismatched expectations are common. Areas such as sexual frequency, financial matters and child-rearing are common conflict areas. It can be useful to explore these conflicts and imbalances with the aid of a relatively unbiased observer. Certain power struggles and other dynamics may have become so habitual or automatic in an intimate relationship that the individuals within the relationship may have learned to simply “settle,” accepting areas of chronic dissatisfaction within the relationship as “the way things are.” The therapist draws the couple’s attention to various patterns underlying stubborn conflicts without taking sides or laying blame. Since clients in couples counseling are encouraged to understand their and “own” individual issues as they relate to couple dynamics, supplemental individual therapy is sometimes suggested as a means to maximize and accelerate couples work. Frequently, individuals will be seen separately.
Couples therapy is probably the best single thing that people in troubled marriages can do to help heal their marriages
Couples therapy is probably the best single thing that people in troubled marriages can do to help heal their marriages. A skilled marriage therapist offers support and intervention that can help distrusting disengaged partners to safely address their difficulties and begin the process of problem solving and healing.