Something has changed. Perhaps men are more willing to ask for coaching, counseling, or a consultation or women are more independent or just plain “fed up”.
When I started doing Relationship Coaching and Marriage Counseling in suburban Philadelphia, PA., the norm was that wives dragged their husbands to couples therapy or marriage counseling. Over the past several years, the opposite has been my experience.
In fact, husbands initiate the call for counseling with me in about 90% of situations, even higher with remarriages.
Marriage Therapists often describes women as the ones who take a daily temperature on the status of relationships. Sensing disconnection or that it’s not going well, they point out their husband’s behavior as a way to engage in a change conversation with the hope that “if he cared enough” he’d make an effort.
Does that approach to marriage issues work?
Unfortunately, this couples counseling approach, while it seems wise and direct, is viewed as criticism, not much of a motivator. This can result in a blame cycle leading to withdrawl since the couple may not yet have the skills to change.
It’s like asking someone to fix a broken window without the tools and training to do so. You mention the break over and over again expecting it to be fixed and get frustrated when it stays the same.
If a strategy is not working we tend to double down on it since it’s hard to step back and learn a more effective approach. That’s where counseling works.
Patterns in Relationships
What we sometimes overlook is that relationships form a pattern creating a dynamic or interaction that is not working. Often it’s the pattern that needs to change as much as each individual’s contribution to the issues.
Marriage Counseling experts know that all relationships go through periods of tension, disillusionment, disappointment, and questioning if it’s worth the work.
All of them.
Some couples stay stuck there, others move on then eventually repeat the pattern in the next relationship, while others see this as an opportunity to get help and work through these issues to restore and reinvigorate their current or future relationships.
When your marriage is hitting bumps you can bring out the worst in each other. Sometimes the exact things that attracted you to your partner can at times be a source of frustration and disappointment.
A commitment made when things are at their best gets tested when things are at a low point.
Through Marriage Counseling or Individual Relationship Coaching I’ve seen countless couples come back from the brink of unhappiness and intense dissatisfaction.
Relationship Counseling can be hard work at times. You and your family are worth it.
Deb Owens is a Licensed Counselor and Relationship Coach in Chestnut Hill and Montgomery County, PA near Lafayette Hill, Fort Washington, and the Main Line. She works with individuals and couples and specializes in relationships, parents and partners affected by another’s alcohol or drug use, anxiety, and mid-life transitions.