Couple: Two people who are married or otherwise closely associated romantically or sexually. [not gender specific]
We are made for each other! As human beings relationship is central to life, to living.
So why is it so difficult at times to be in relationship, to be a couple? I could make a list a mile long of the many reasons given by people for why it is not working and who have sat in front of me for couples counselling.
Certainly events, experience and family of origin have a part to play. However what the research says and I have found in my experience of working with couples who require therapy, is that negativity about your partner, held on to and nurtured in your mind is a cancer to anything positive that takes place in the relationship.
You can have everything – money, health, family, a great job or the opposite and struggle in every way, but the end of your partnership will still be about the negativity that you hold towards the one you say you love.
John Gottman is the foremost researcher on marriage and relationships. He is the coordinator of the Seattle Marital and Family Institute in Washington State USA. He has worked for over 14 years with 3,000 people to research the issues and practices of couples. He states:
“What can make a marriage work is surprisingly simple. Happily married couples aren’t smarter, richer or more psychologically astute than others. But in their day to day lives they have hit upon a dynamic that keeps their negative thoughts and feelings about each other [which all couples have] from overwhelming their positive ones. They have what I call an emotionally intelligent marriage – just as parents can teach their children emotional intelligence this is also a skill that a couple can be taught.”
The Seven Principals of Making Your Marriage Work – by John Gottman and Nan Sivler.
I have worked with hundreds of couples, and those who can become open to learning about the negativity that is held in the heart and mind of each other, along with the need to reflect and forgive with understanding, are the ones that have moved forward into a happier, more balanced relationship through effective couples counselling.
I have successfully worked with couples who have been presented with these issues.
- Extended family problems
- Blended families
- Jealousy and insecurity
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Depression and anxiety
These issues are important to understand and this happens as part of the therapeutic process – but once we get to the bottom line its the negative meaning and beliefs that ultimately need to be faced.
When to Attend Couples Therapy
I want you to know I have hope and positivity about all the couples I work with. You already have what you need inside of you to become more of what you and your partner need.
Many couples come to counselling when things are at breaking point. This is understandable but often the story is that they have had several times of crisis and the pace of life or the need to care for children has moved them forward. Nothing has been resolved or changed, but life is bearable again. If you are reading this, don’t delay your journey into couples counselling. The earlier you seek help, support and understanding for each other, the sooner you will bring hope for the future of your relationship.
Sometimes just one partner comes to counselling first because the other person cannot see the need for help. I always encourage that person to come to the next session in the hope that their partner will come with them, and in many cases this does happen. Much can be done to help an individual with issues in their relationship but it makes more of a difference for partners to come together to secure change that can be long lasting.
For more information on my couples counselling services in Rochester and Medway, please contact me directly.