Couples counselors are observant. They’re watching the two of you… in session anyway. They’re interpreting what’s is (and isn’t) said. Cueing into things like interruption, body language, tender touches on the shoulder – or lack thereof.
And after seeing couples suffer from the same relationship issues, it’s apparent. A lot of people have a misunderstanding about what it takes to have a healthy one.
For some, the relationship between their parents was shaky at best. Others turned to Hollywood for guidance, equally flawed.
The fact of the matter is, most people did not have the best relationship modeled to them growing up.
So, here are 7 significant things couples therapists wish people knew about relationships, in no particular order.
1. No one can save you
Prince Charming does exist, just not in real life. It is not uncommon for people to get swept up in a fairytale mentality, looking for validation and acceptance through love. It feels right, at least as far as the oxytocin, dopamine, and other powerful chemicals that get released in the brain are concerned.
And yes, it’s common knowledge that people can’t save you but… sometimes there’s still a deeply rooted part of us that doesn’t fully believe it; the fairytale version sounds so much better.
Healing is an inside job, a chance to show up for yourself.
The more whole you are before getting into a relationship, the better that relationship has the potential to be, and the less likely you are to settle.
2. Relationships Require Presence
When one or both parties begin to check out, it’s a recipe for disaster. Period.
You’ve probably heard that relationships require work, but there’s no real elaboration as to what that work entails. Presence is a huge part of it. Being present with yourself, attuned to your needs and expectations, and open and receptive to those of your partner as well.
How? This leads to the next point…
Your other half is not a mind reader. Thus, communication is necessary. Just because we perceive something one way, does not mean that other people do too. But – they should know… no. They shouldn’t, unless it’s something you’ve communicated.
Communicate often, and be open. Don’t pretend something is okay when it’s not.
4. You Need a Solid Foundation
The beginning of a new relationship is exciting. There’s anticipation. You feel good, you feel seen. You’re obsessed – the two of you exist in your own little world. Life appears brighter, and practical things such as common goals and plans for the future all take a backseat to the here and now.
It takes six months to a few years for the oxytocin, dopamine, and the other “love chemicals” to begin to wear off. When that happens, couples with little in common (aside from mutual attraction) start struggling.
Without a solid foundation – a place to return to in the form of common aspirations, shared values, and plans for the future – it’s easy for the relationship to fall apart.
The best way to mitigate this is to ensure the two of you share your values, goals, and aspirations with each other at the onset of the relationship, and are open and communicative with one another as you grow.
5. Beware the Four Horsemen
You’ve likely heard of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and Dr. John Gottman used that image to depict the four horsemen that predict the end of a relationship.
According to Dr. Gottman, they are:
These behaviors are common predictors that a relationship is in trouble.
6. Don’t Put off Treatment
Relationships don’t fix themselves. It takes investment and presence from both parties, and couples counseling is an excellent way to work through the challenges.
The longer a problem is left unattended to, the worse it becomes.
Wondering where to turn for guidance? Search online for marriage counseling near me, and you should get a comprehensive list of options.
If you’re interested in seeing one of our experts, we have two California locations, one in Roseville and the other in Fair Oaks. Live far away? No problem, the Relationship Therapy Center also offers virtual sessions for your convenience. If you’re at all curious, we’d love to hear from you and share how we can help.
7. Prioritize Intimacy
Intimacy is a good indicator of the health of a relationship. Intimacy can be found in touching and closeness of any kind and doesn’t always need to lead to sex.
The more attuned you are to one another, the more in tune and receptive you’ll be to each other’s needs.
By maintaining focus on one another and actively communicating, you and your partner are much more likely to experience the elusive happily ever after.
It does exist, you just have to make it a priority.
Begin Couples Counseling in the Sacramento Area:
If you are ready to learn how to deal with the problems in your relationship, the therapists at The Relationship Therapy Center in Fair Oaks, CA, and Roseville, CA can help! Our therapists are ready to support you and your partner in your journey toward creating a healthy and happy relationship. To begin counseling in Roseville, CA area, or counseling in Fair Oaks, please follow these three simple steps:
Contact our counseling office to get more information about couples counseling and to schedule a free consultation
Make an appointment with one of our Gottman Method-trained therapists
Find support and healing in your relationship!
Other Services offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:
In addition to couples counseling, Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. Our couples services include: Couples Counseling, Counseling after infidelity, sex therapy, co-parent counseling, family therapy, divorce counseling, intensive couples retreats, and premarital counseling. Our individual therapy services include anxiety treatment, therapy for children, teen therapy, depression treatment, codependency counseling and individual relationship counseling. Our therapists offer online counseling in California to treat a variety of mental health concerns. Please reach out to our Sacramento area therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your loved ones.