Everyday challenges that all couple’s face
When couples find themselves struggling it may be helpful to consider an evaluation for couple’s therapy or marriage counseling. I am a couples therapist in Washington, DC, and I enjoy working with couples.
Couples often call me and ask, “How do I know if I should seek couples or marriage counseling? Do our difficulties reflect the ordinary challenges inherent in any relationship? Or, is something for which we might seek help?”
Every couple is unique; all marriages encounter bumps along the road. However, when couples find themselves when partners find themselves having difficulties, couples therapy – or sometimes, individual therapy – or both, are work considering.
There are many kinds of difficulties that signify that a marriage may be in trouble. However, when people call me they often ask, “how do I know whether I should seek couple’s therapy? Are our difficulties the sort that can benefit from couples or marriage counseling? Or, are our challenges the kind that we can overcome on our own”. Every couple is unique; all marriages encounter bumps along the road. However, when partners find themselves having difficulties — couple’s therapy — or possibly individual therapy — or both — are worth considering.
I find that partners thrive when they are able to:
- be trustworthy and to trust.
- agree on values, goals and life styles.
- communicate openly.
- support each other.
- develop a capacity for sexual and emotional intimacy.
- learn to treat each other with respect.
Of course, accomplishing these goals requires work. Not everyone acquires these qualities during childhood. While sometimes these traits are the hallmark of a person’s childhood, they are not always modeled in families of origin. When this is the case, people may need help to develop them. However, these capacities can be learned. In fact, this is where I can, often, be helpful.
In addition to developing a supportive, respectful atmosphere, couples also need to develop the ability to collaborate on the tasks of daily living. That is, couples need to:
- adjust to living together.
- regulate distance and closeness.
- share the responsibilities of maintaining a household together. For example, they must learn to:
- agree on how to manage money.
- agree on how to manage time.
- decide upon a schedule that works for both partners.
People in relatively new marriages, or relationships, often lament that they did not anticipate these challenges. The good news is, this is where a couple’s therapy can be helpful.
In addition learning how to live comfortably together, if a couple is considering having children, they will need to:
- decide whether to have children.
- adjust to the birth of a child. For instance, they must share chtiild rearing responsibilities. In addition, they need to adjust and respond sensitively to the needs of the children.
- endure the bumps on the path to nurturing their baby to adulthood and beyond. That is, they must endure the terrible twos, adolescence and more.
- work to preserve intimacy in the marriage. For instance, they need to find ways to deepen their marital relationship even while in the throes of child rearing.
Beyond this, they need to develop proficiency in:
- tolerating differences.
- dealing with conflict.
Finally, they have to work together to deal with the outside world. That is they need to:
- develop work-life balance.
- establish relationships with friends and neighbors.
- work together to preserve their relationship.
- Set boundaries with their parents and in-laws.
I work with couples and individuals around these sorts of difficulties. Many couples are uncertain as to whether to seek individual therapy, couples therapy or both. If you are considering individual or couples therapy, you are welcome to call me. We can spend a bit of time on the phone. I’ll ask you about what prompted your call. If I think I can be helpful, I’ll offer you a consultation. If I don’t feel that I have the expertise that your situation warrants, I will try my best to point you to helpful resources. I welcome your call: 301.656.9650.