A couple will invariably experience a variety of concerns throughout their relationship – whether the issue is rooted in finances, parenting, work, family, trust, values or other problems, each partner will have their own views and feelings around the concern. When these perspectives don’t match up, conflict can occur and this leads to tension within the relationship.
Many couples will try to fix the problems on their own. Others get busy with life, work, kids, etc. Some couples wait in hopes that things will improve; some will have taken their focus off of the relationship; some avoid conflict and talking about issues; others simply drift apart and feel disconnected after years of being together. Often these couples will wait until their relationship is at a crisis point, and then they may consider going to counselling.
Waiting too long to work on your relationship can cause feelings and beliefs about your partner to surpass the point of repair. Those who enter counselling after a prolonged period of conflict may find that they are not able to move forward due to all that has happened in the past. Communication has broken down and each person has distanced from the other to a point that it cannot be reversed.
Couples counselling is hard work, as it can bring up many emotions and memories that may trigger negative feelings. If each partner is willing to commit to the process of improving the relationship and to do the work required, then couples counselling can be a very positive experience. Especially when counselling begins earlier rather than later, people are often able to gain an awareness and understanding about themselves as well as their partner during this process. Another positive is that insight about our own and our partner’s behaviours can help us to make changes for the better. Formulating and reaching common goals together can also help a couple regain a sense of teamwork that might have be lost.