What Happens When Couples Face Chronic Stress?
When a couple faces distress, both parties may feel sad, angry, and lonely. Communication suffers, intimacy wanes, and resentment festers. The initial sparks that once brought both people together may seem like an impossible, distant memory. Both partners may feel frustrated, hurt and hopeless as to how to create interactions that allow for a more connected and trusting experience.
What Happens During Couples Therapy?
Relationships can ebb and flow, but an objective professional can help by allying with the couple to evaluate what is and isn’t working in the dynamic. Couples therapy supports individuals struggling to communicate, respect, and compromise with one another. This therapy can help with serious issues related to infidelity, grief and loss, and deeply-rooted shame or resentment. It can also provide support for other stressors related to new life transitions like preparing for marriage, having a child, or coping with a difficult trauma.
Couples therapy teaches couples how to communicate and listen to each other with less judgment and reactivity. The therapy often combines education with practical exercises to help couples deepen their understanding of one another’s emotional needs. Therapists may assign homework for couples to practice in-between sessions. Therapists may evaluate the couple’s attunement and family-of-origin attachment patterns. They may also screen for co-occurring issues like anxiety, depression, or substance addiction.
This isn’t about picking sides or determining who is right in a particular argument. It’s about cultivating strengths and coming together to face the issues impacting the relationship. It’s about strengthening skills in conflict resolution and optimizing how to appreciate each other again.
How I Can Support You And Your Partner
All relationships require work, and therapy can show you which work you both need to do. It is possible for you and your partner to restore kindness, playfulness, and love in your relationship. Even when life changes and things get hard, you both can strive for respect and closeness. Therapy can help you learn how to grow and maintain this sense of intimacy.