~Do you feel misunderstood in your relationship?
~Does talking things out only seem to make it worse?
~Does your marriage not feel like it used to?
I specialize in teaching couples the skills they need to understand their struggles and build the relationship they want.
As frustrations in a marriage or a committed relationship grow into misunderstandings, criticism, and distance, hurt feelings make it hard to move forward. It is hard to know what to do, or even what not to do. Many couples feel that anything they do or say makes things worse, and feel that there is simply nothing that will make a difference.
Marriage counseling/couples counseling can get you moving in the direction you want for your relationship.
Psychologist and marriage researcher John Gottman has identified four patterns that can indicate serious problems in a marriage or committed relationship:
1.Criticism- this is a direct criticism about your partner's character or personality, which is very different from a complaint, that comments on an event or occurrence.
2.Contempt-this can be a poisonous element in a relationship, because it conveys disgust. When this is the message that is being communicated, it is virtually impossible to settle a disagreement. Contempt can be sarcasm, name-calling, eye-rolling, sneering, mockery, or hostile humor.
3.Defensiveness-Though it is easy to see this as a response to what the other person did, defensiveness is really a way of blaming your partner. It is a way to shift the focus off of you and squarely onto the shoulders of your mate. This is dangerous because it does nothing but escalate the conflict. The attack/defend cycle is very easy to get into, and tricky to get out of.
4. Stonewalling-When conflict gets heated, or returns regularly, it sometimes feels safer to just tune out and not get involved. When the negativity in the relationship has gotten quite common, one partner can simply tune out by hiding behind a newspaper, not responding to questions, turning away, or leaving the room. By turning away from fights in this way, the marriage is being avoided.
In couples counseling, you learn what is needed to make a difference in your relationship. You receive special attention on what knowledge, skills, or approach is needed in your unique situation.
What many people want most from their relationship is a close emotional connection. We want to be able to reach out to the other person and know they'll be accessible to us, to feel that they are responsive to our emotional needs, and to experience a feeling of emotional engagement together. This often feels impossible when conflict occurs regularly, but it is helpful to see that much of our conflict is at the core a "protest against disconnection" as Dr. Sue Johnson says. She has helped detail very common traps of frantically trying to get an emotional response from the other, or freezing up to try and calm the other person down. There are clear ways of understanding the patterns that keep us emotionally apart and how to reverse them. Modern brain science has shown that the ideas we've heard from poetry and music for so many years are true: feeling close to other people makes us feel better.
Each relationship is different, and has its own needs. In marriage counseling at Moving Waters Counseling, you will be treated as individuals that each have an important perspective on the strengths you can celebrate now and the challenges you face.
You can build the relationship you want, and feel respected, close, and happy!
I offer FREE 15 minute phone consultations to discuss the needs of your relationship. Call 722-1920 or email today to schedule!