Your relationship may have started with rainbows and butterflies, and all the little things about your partner that you loved. But over time, maybe those little things have started to grate, and you’re struggling to remember what made you fall in love in the first place.
If your relationship is floundering and you’re finding it hard to keep it together, then rest assured: all relationships have bumps in the road, somewhere down the line.
Some bumps are more painful than others, though, so what should you do if your relationship’s not as strong as it used to be? Perhaps you fall into the 18% of UK couples that constantly bicker or consider separating.
Keep reading for your guide to relationship counselling and whether or not it’s best for you as a couple.
Why Relationships Can Break Down
With life moving at a breakneck pace, it can be difficult to slow down enough to notice the cracks forming in your relationship. Arguing can become so common that it doesn’t set off alarm bells anymore.
Here are some reasons why your relationship may be going through a rough patch.
When you first got together, did it seem like your partner could do no wrong? Maybe they seemed completely perfect, and if anyone thought differently, well, that was their problem.
In reality, all of us make mistakes, so expecting perfection from our partner can only lead to frustration and disappointment on both sides.
‘Aisle Alter Hymn’
Sometimes, we might fall into the trap of thinking that, with time, we can change our partner. Unfortunately, though, this simply isn’t true.
It’s possible we might point out major character flaws, and our partner could realise we have a point and try to work on the issue. But the only person who can change someone is that person themselves.
Trying to force our partner to be different, or vice versa, will eventually lead to tension and stress in a relationship.
Maybe one or both parties in your relationship has a flourishing career. But every minute of overtime at work is a minute taken away from your partner.
Relationships need time and effort put into them, no matter how long you’ve been together.
Excessive time and energy spent at work can leave you too exhausted to give your relationship the time it needs.
They say that children makes a couple into a family, so you automatically become a happy household… right?
Sadly, that isn’t the case. While having children is a wonderful and fulfilling experience, it could throw a plot twist into your seemingly predictable fairytale.
Young children need constant care and attention, which again leaves parents spending less time together than they used to.
Though you may not be alone together as much as you were used to, as a couple you still need quality time with each other to nurture and sustain your bond.
What is Relationship Counselling?
Often, when your relationship feels like it’s coming unstuck, communication is at the heart of the issue.
When two people find it difficult to communicate with each other, it’s inevitable they begin to drift apart. In fact, a recent survey shows that growing apart is the leading reason a relationship ends.
Relationship counselling offers you and your partner a neutral, safe environment that holds no memories and no sentimental attachments.
In the counsellor’s office, you and your partner will both get a chance to speak freely and openly without interruption. You’ll also have the opportunity to hear what your partner’s thoughts and feelings are.
In the beginning, conversation probably flowed without a second thought. When a relationship is strained, though, actually sitting down and talking can be one of the hardest things to do.
Why Involve a Third Person?
With that in mind, a couples counsellor will initially help to mediate during the counselling session. In time, they will guide you both towards have productive conversations on your own so that their involvement is gradually reduced.
Couples counsellors are unbiased and look at the bigger picture of your relationship. They’ll identify areas that cause tension, and try and get to the heart of the problem during your relationship counselling sessions.
Once they know the cause, they can provide you with tools to break familiar negative cycles, and start to repair and strengthen your relationship.
What to Expect During a Counselling Session
During your first relationship counselling session, your counsellor will get to know you both as a couple, and ask you some introductory questions to determine how best to help.
They may first ask questions about your childhood and upbringing, and any previous relationships, before delving into the story of your relationship and life together. This can help them to understand how you both think and feel so they can offer practical help moving forward.
They’ll find out the strengths in your relationship as well as the weaknesses. That way, you can put in place effective strategies to work out the kinks and tackle these problems constructively.
Now that they’ve gathered together your history, your couples counsellor will want a crystal-clear picture of the ideal relationship you’d like to have with your partner.
The end-game of relationship counselling is to help you both learn how to work towards that ideal, together.
Is Relationship Counselling for You?
With all the upset, arguing and lack of communication in a strained relationship, it can be hard to remember one important thing: you still love each other.
While it may not be easy — nothing worth fighting for ever is — couples counselling might do more than simply repair the cracks in your relationship. It might just make it better, stronger, and more wonderful than ever before.
That end result may seem a long way off at the moment. If you want to make your relationship work, though, you’ve already fought half the battle.
A couples counsellor can help you the rest of the way by teaching you how to deal with future conflict, give you the tools to solve problems, and get your relationship moving in the right direction.
Are you interested in saving your relationship? Why not contact us and see how we can help you both get back on track.