Sometimes when people call to find out about couples counseling I can hear panic in their voice. I can sense a feeling of worry and fear. Something broke and the person on the phone doesn’t know how to fix it and that’s why they are calling.
This is a terrible place to find yourself: not knowing if you can make it in your relationship, wondering if it’s broken, and daring to hope it can ever be better. All this is pressing on the individual who is making the call. It’s a helpless kind of feeling. It’s as if their past experience amounts to nothing, and they must do something radical to survive.
Most people who grow up believing in the power of love don’t understand why relationships fall apart, especially when people love each other. Why isn’t love enough to keep people together?
Falling in love is one of the most wonderful parts of being human. When we feel connected to another person our soul feels as if it has found a home. We feel understood and safe. We feel whole. This is the most exhilarating time in a relationship. It is also a temporary phase.
Even when couples want to improve their relationship, if resentment has built up between them it will stand in the way. Both know it’s there, and no one knows what to do about it. So what can you do? One way is to seek counseling learn how to get rid of it.
Unfortunately the resentment can’t just be destroyed; it’s become a part of the person who is holding on to it. It’s with them when they wake in the morning and think of their mate. It’s there when they talk to their friends. It’s present in a conversation with their partner. It’s always there, like a thick fog that surrounds everything.
Sometimes with couples there is an imbalance. One person may feel drained because he or she does everything they can think of to make the relationship work. They give everything to their partner and to the relationship. They are under the impression that if they continue to give, if they give more than any other person ever could, if they do everything imaginable they will save the relationship.
They might even take this concept one step further by believing that if the relationship fails it’s because they did not do enough.
All of us get triggered by things that hit us in our sore spots. Usually these are unexpressed hurts from a long time ago that are still as tender as they were when they occurred.
And when something in our present day life touches that spot we react. Everyone who has these tender areas reacts. We usually keep them stored up inside our bodies and we leave them alone. But when something touches it, we might have a very big reaction.
Oftentimes when there is a couple and there are disagreements it usually comes down to two people digging into their own positions. We are all individuals, and when we think or believe something and our partner is thinking or believing in something else, well then there is a standoff.
Two people who love each other but are unable to hear each other. This happens countless times to people in relationships. So, what do we have to do about it to make it better?
Often when people call for counseling and I ask them what is the matter, most of the time I hear, “We just can’t communicate.”
This is a catch all phrase that means we don’t understand each other and it is hard on both of us. I get this, especially since I have been working with couples for 20 plus years.
I know that there is a person who feels very deeply about life and another person who thinks almost exclusively in their head. I have seen this in every couple I have ever counseled.
How do we learn about love? In this world we probably see Disney movies, watch other types of stories, and just believe that someday we will love someone. But where do we actually learn about love?
In our relationships, that’s where. We fall in love with our mate and everything is perfect for a while, and then things start to change. We don’t feel as loved as we did in the beginning and we start to wonder what is wrong with our partner, or we might wonder what is wrong with us.
But this is normal too. The beginning stage is not meant to last. But how do we know what to do when things get tough? Here are some of the things I have learned about love.
When we fall in love with our person, we want to always feel that we are the most important and special being to them. I think this is the way most of us think about love.
We find our one true individual and then we want it perfect and wonderful all the time. Isn’t that what is supposed to happen? We see so many love stories and movies and ideas that many of us believe this is going to be how it will always be.
We fall in love and then love will take care of everything. But if you are reading this article, you probably have experienced something very different. Like wondering how your perfect partner really doesn’t know you as well as you thought they did.
Sometimes in a relationship there are really two kinds of people. There is the one who has to talk about everything. And there is the other who can’t talk about anything.
It does not astound me that all couples look like this. Even though it would be great if we could just talk with our partner if we are the talkers, the non-talkers probably wish they could just remain silent too.