Is Your Marriage Missing The Old Butterfly Feeling That Once Defined Your Relationship?
Do you often feel alone inside of your long-term partnership, afraid to even walk through the front door to see your spouse at the end of a long day?
Are other responsibilities - including kids, work, and a never-ending to-do list - getting in the way of meaningfully connecting with your significant other?
Do you miss the intimacy and playfulness that characterized your “honeymoon period” together, back during a time when you couldn’t wait to see or hear from your partner?
Maybe the fun, exciting roller coaster ride of new love feels like a faint memory anymore. Instead of bringing a smile from cheek to cheek, your relationship has weathered the test of time, becoming a little more complicated along the way.
Perhaps date night together has been replaced with kids’ sports games and recitals or time spent zoning out in front of the phone and TV. Or it’s possible that one of your careers has become the silent but powerful third wheel in your marriage. With one or both of you always distracted by work and other responsibilities, you may feel as though there is simply not enough time in the day for your relationship.
The more you and your spouse distract yourselves with things outside of your marriage—whether it’s working, scrolling, or making plans for your kids—the more uncomfortable it can be to address the elephant in the room. Communication has become more strained, your sex life less spontaneous, and now you feel more like roommates than partners, like ships passing in the night.
Have You Stopped Working Together As A Team?
Disconnection and a lack of intimacy set the stage for conflict and resentment. Maybe the two of you have started to argue about everything under the sun, from who will take care of the dishes to where you’ll spend the holidays. And it’s likely that you’ve started keeping a mental scoreboard of one another’s behaviors, always ready to strike back when your partner criticizes you or offers feedback. You may have tried to come to an agreement on communication tactics, but for some reason, your message to one another keeps getting lost in translation.
It's possible that you’ve been together for so long that you expect your partner to “just know” how to communicate, address your needs, and comfort you. Maybe you feel like certain tasks should be accomplished without you having to ask or that other people in your life—friends, family, coworkers—“get it” more than your significant other does.
If you’re the partner who has to constantly ask your spouse for things to get done, resentment has probably been building. And if, on the other hand, you’re the partner who is being regularly corrected or berated for not doing enough, you probably feel like there’s nothing you can ever do to meet your partner’s expectations.
Committed relationships take a lot of hard work, but couples counseling can help you enhance your marriage. As an experienced couples therapist, I can guide you and your partner in reconnecting and re-establishing new, healthier patterns of intimacy.
All Marriages Encounter Ups And Downs
Long-term relationship hurdles are common—especially as life’s pressures accumulate with job changes, familial obligations, and other stressors. Maintaining our partnerships amidst the chaos takes hard work and commitment, and it’s common for intimacy to fall by the wayside as other things require our attention. However, we’re likely to tune out common marital issues as something we’re susceptible to, holding onto the hope that our marriage will naturally overcome the hurdles that life throws our way.
Unfortunately, gender roles can be a major factor in such hurdles. Women are historically seen as the nurturers and caretakers, while men are typically not conditioned to tune into their emotions. This dynamic can translate to the “nagging wife” who, despite craving equality, balance, and intimacy in the relationship, often ends up feeling like a parent to their spouse. And for the husband within this dynamic, it’s common to feel judged, emasculated, and underappreciated.
These roles are learned, but they’re also reinforced by our own upbringings. If we grew up without a healthy relationship blueprint, we’re likely to repeat counterproductive patterns or over-correct in the areas where we feel we didn’t get enough guidance. And while it’s essential to identify where certain communication issues or problems originated in our marriage, the deep, emotional work of restoration can be intimidating. Instead of having difficult conversations, we’re likely to repeat harmful patterns or brush conflict under the rug entirely.
I’m here to tell you that consistent marriage therapy can reignite your flame as a couple. In our sessions together, I will help you learn to reprioritize one another and reinvest in your relationship.
Rebuild, Reconnect, And Redefine Your Marriage In Couples Counseling
Since 2001, I have collaborated with struggling couples coming from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. My clients often come to therapy with the complaint that there’s no longer any romance in their partnership or that there is no more room for one another in their busy lives. Yet, in the supportive, nonjudgmental atmosphere of counseling, these couples come together, explore their emotions openly, improve their communication, and enjoy great success in restoring their marriage.
I provide a warm yet neutral environment where couples have uninterrupted time to feel understood and work towards shared goals. I will guide you in genuinely inviting and embracing intimacy as you learn to reduce patterns of conflict or disconnection. With new, healthier patterns established, each of you can respond to one another with compassion and awareness. Eventually, your trust can be re-established, offering you an opportunity to feel safe, get playful, and grow together.
Years ago, I had the pleasure of counseling a couple who asked me to define what a marriage is. I took a minute to think about it and responded with something along the lines of: “Marriage is a job that requires working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.” Commitment and constant tending are necessary, but the benefits are great and certainly worth celebrating year after year! I have found that once my couples acknowledge the work it takes to maintain their marriage, counseling then becomes a valuable pathway toward the relationship of their dreams.
I look at each unique relationship and offer applicable skills for reflective listening. From there, I will help you overcome barriers to vulnerability while you explore desires and reconnect on a deep level. In addition to the insights you gain in therapy, I’ll provide you with outside materials that can support your growth journey, ultimately working toward your shared goals for marriage counseling.
Hard conversations are a challenging yet rewarding—and vital—aspect of any successful relationship. Marriage counseling offers you an opportunity to bolster your communication so that you can work together, instead of talking past each other, to fulfill your needs as a couple. With the genuine understanding that you two are on the same team, you and your partner can feel mutually supported and confident that the path ahead is lit with the flame that you’ve reignited in therapy.
Still Not Sure If A Couples Counselor Can Help?
I just don’t think counseling can fix the problems in our marriage.
We don’t have a crystal ball, and not knowing what might happen to your relationship is certainly scary. What we do know, however, is that what you’ve been doing as a couple is not working.
By committing to couples therapy, you are acknowledging that you want to change the pattern—and that is the first step towards growth. Let me walk alongside you for the journey that follows.
Can you fix us?
As a couples counselor, it is not in my wheelhouse to “fix” problems in the relationship or marriage. I will work with you, but I won’t work harder than you for your relationship. Doing that would only get in the way and disempower your potential as a couple.
What I can do, however, is offer you valuable skills and perspectives that will allow you to clarify your roles within the relationship so that you can reconnect and re-establish a sense of comradery.
How long does couples therapy take?
No one marriage is the same, which means that there is no set timeline for couples therapy. The way I see it, counseling sessions are a place for you to develop essential skills and outside of therapy is an opportunity to practice those skills. The more you invest outside of session, the quicker you’ll experience improved communication and healing.
The Honeymoon Period Isn’t Over - You Just Need To Reignite Your Spark
Wouldn’t it be nice if relationships came with an operator’s manual? A nice set of instructions that gave us the inside scoop on how to communicate and work together as a team.
Our relationships work best when they feel safe. After experiencing infidelity, our relationships often feel a bit like a minefield or narrow road winding its way along a cliff.
Many of us struggle throughout our lives to set healthy boundaries. They go unspoken, or we let people test them and push us into discomfort in order to keep the peace. Ironically, setting healthy boundaries and enforcing them is one of the best ways to avoid conflict.