Are you fed up with the pain, struggle or feelings of emptiness in your relationship?
Couples therapy or marriage counselling can help you resolve the relationship problems that you can’t seem to sort out together.
Do You Worry that You Are:
- Biting your tongue to avoid an argument
- Fighting too much with your partner
- Critical of your partner most of the time or feel constantly criticized by him or her
- Guarded and distant from your partner
- Always trying to please your partner and getting nothing in return
- Losing the respect for your partner that you once had
- Comparing your relationship to those who are happier
- Getting the silent treatment from your partner
- Wondering whether it is possible to find the passion that was once there
- Wishing you were having more sex or that having sex was more fun
- Raising your voice and saying things you regret later
- Having flirtatious conversations with the opposite sex other than your partner
- Unsuccessful at solving even minor problems on your own
Research shows there is one primary reason why marriages fail.
Your marriage will not fail because of too much arguing, because of financial problems, too much conflict or lack of sex. Your marriage is most likely to fail because of lack of affection and emotional responsiveness.
The truth is that most marriages die from neglect.
Marriage problems begin when you experience an absence of positive intimate interactions. A knowing smile, an affectionate wink, a compliment, making the other laugh, a gentle touch or unexpected hug – these are gestures of affection and positive emotional responsiveness.
If you are like most couples, as a man, you will tend to experience this by feeling rejected, inadequate, or like a failure. As a woman, you will tend to experience this as feeling abandoned, alone and disconnected.
Many couples come for couples counselling long after emotional responsiveness has decreased and when affection is in short supply. It feels like living in a roommate relationship. These couples ask for help when loneliness is so unbearable that one is ready to divorce.
Don’t wait until you or your partner is ready to throw in the towel on your relationship.
Know the signs that your relationship is in trouble and be courageous enough to seek marriage therapy or couples counselling.
All relationships change and evolve over time. As each of you age, your relationship needs to grow along with you. Sometimes that growth is smooth and sometimes there are some serious bumps along the way.
In the life of a long term relationship or marriage,there are a number of very stressful stages that can really test the strength of the relationship:
- the birth of children stage where the focus on the babies and providing economically leads to neglect of the intimacy in the relationship and sexual activity often declines;
- the adolescent period where the natural desire of the children for greater independence causes significant stress for parents and their partnership and cracks the marriage become apparent;
- the ’empty nest’ stage when kids are away at college, university or work and have moved out. The focus shifts from the kids to the relationship and each other, exposing the neglect and emotional distance;
- upon retirement where once neither of you is entrenched by work, the amount of free time together and the joint activities seem unnatural and awkward.
Conflict is a normal part of all relationships. It is a natural part of the navigation of change. Respectful appreciation of each one’s viewpoint and discussion leads to resolution of conflict. That can help your relationship grow stronger. Disrespectful conflict and avoiding issues can cause you to feel angry and resentful. Eventually your relationship will erode.
With a second marriage or committed partnership come some added complications
Love may be sweeter the second time around, but once the bliss of a new-found relationship wears off a little, the reality of being part of a new step-family sets in whether the children are grown or at home. Different parenting styles, values, and traditions; finances and legal matters; and relationships with ex-spouses can challenge your union. Knowing how to make your marriage or relationship a priority and work hard to strengthen it, is really important. Learning more about your self; your vulnerabilities and strengths, your partner and nurturing your relationship can help you not repeat past mistakes.
Here are some common challenges:
- how to adjust your expectations of your partner or their children to being realistic rather than having a set image of family in mind;
- knowing where your boundaries are, whether involving a hostile ex-spouse or a stepchild who demands too much attention
- recognizing the importance of flexibility, tolerance, forgiveness, and openness in a second marriage, partnership or step-family;
- how making ‘couple time’ for talking, problem-solving, weekends away, and enjoying your relationship to constantly renew and strengthen your bond as a couple needs to be built in and constantly protected from the pull of work, family and friends.
Unhappiness Does Not Mean You Must End Your Marriage.
The choice to divorce is always an option, but before you choose that option wouldn’t it be better to see if a couples therapy can help? It is especially important to consider your options when you have children who will be affected by your decision for the rest of their lives. Even if couples counselling doesn’t save your marriage and you end up separating, you will be reassured in the knowledge that you tried to sort things out first.
“Just thought you might like to know that my wife and I are still together. I have to say that it is because of your intervention and our sessions with you. An interesting side to our marital problems was when our son got married and during his speech he made reference to how his parents had set a great example for him. That is by not giving up and making things work. It was great to know that we had made such a positive influence on him. I have also recommended you to friends over the years. Anyway, I wish you continued success at what you do so VERY well.”*
The Benefits of Couples Therapy:
- know the negative patterns of interactions in your relationship and how to stop them;
- take responsibility for your reactive behaviour;
- pinpoint your vulnerabilities;
- differentiate how your partner perceives you from how you perceive yourself;
- learn why your intentions matter less than the impact of your actions;
- eliminate faulty assumptions that create distance in your relationship;
- learn to communicate with composure;
- learn to listen with compassion;
- discover how gender differences in perspective can help you understand each other;
- master a problem solving method that will turn the negative pattern into a positive pattern that will enhance your connection now and for years to come;
- make permanent change that strengthens trust and partnership, enhances affection and intimacy;
- learn what can change and what can’t in each other and the relationship;
- accept yourself and your partner for who you are.
As EFT Couples Therapists, we have shown many couples how to solve their struggles and become happier in their relationship.
You may be skeptical that therapy can save your marriage. We understand that. We cannot prevent all couples who see us from divorcing. On the other hand, we do have a very high success rate with those couples who make a strong commitment to the process of counselling. With EFT (Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy), 75-85% of couples who continue for more than six sessions report a more satisfying relationship within six months after counselling ends. They report gaining much greater insight into themselves and have the skills to solve their own problems.
If your partner does not want to attend couples counselling, don’t let that stop you from getting help for your relationship.
Sometimes, we can coach you to make changes in the relationship without seeing your partner or discuss ways to encourage your partner to come to see me. Obviously, it is more effective to see you both, but that is not always possible. For more information about marriage therapy when only one can attend, click here.
Couples therapy is a collaborative endeavour. We bring a combination of extensive professional knowledge and training along with warm personal styles. This is a good fit for most couples. We are compassionate and patient. We can also be very direct and tough when needed. We are not the kind of therapists that just nod our heads and say “Uh huh”. Because we stay current with the latest couples counselling research and have creative minds, we have plenty of ideas and tasks for you to do to improve your relationship.
A Success Story
A couple, who had been together for eight years, came to see Allan because their marriage had been deteriorating for the past three years. The husband felt that he was not valued, ignored and not as important to her as her many hobbies, close girlfriends and their children. He was unhappy that their sex life had almost totally disappeared and when he wanted to be intimate, he always had to initiate it. He resented her long list of things he was expected to do around the house; chores, repairs and renovations.
She reported that they both valued their independence, but that now they had become more like “borders” than husband and wife. She felt that there was no passion left in their relationship. They were good parents together, but she felt that most of the responsibilities for the child care and their household fell to her even though she had a full time professional practice as did he.
Over the first several sessions together in couples counselling, they began to see how the things that attracted them to each other in the first place were what they were most irritated with now. His eccentricity attracted her to him and her intelligence and confidence attracted him to her. Through couples therapy, they rediscovered what they loved about the other and realized that their high stress and low moods were blinding them from seeing their strengths as a couple.
Both were committed to working on the relationship and with guidance on how to understand the emotions behind each other’s behaviour they re-discovered why they had stayed together and what they loved about each other.
They learned how to make their relationship more of a priority and took time for discussions together and shared activities. They learned about each other’s “rough spots”- the sensitive topics they either fought about or avoided. Once they gained greater insight into each other’s vulnerabilities, it was easier to know how to treat each other with greater care, and how to have more constructive conversations, resolving conflicts respectfully.
After about a dozen couples counselling sessions, they began to work on the list of house projects together. These activities brought them a greater sense of partnership. They came to be much more accepting of each other and saw the strengths in each other as the negatives diminished in prominence. At the conclusion of the couples counselling, they began inviting friends over and entertaining – something they had neglected in the recent past and which gave them great pleasure. At the six month follow-up appointment, they continued to find the comfort and pleasure in each other and their family and reported having the occasional counselling session without us.
What You Can Expect From Couples Therapy
Many couples enter couples therapy when they are in great distress and when their own efforts to solve the problems have been unsuccessful. Often issues have been developing for years without any success at resolution. Usually one member of the couple is more eager to get help. Often people think that a therapist is going to tell them what is wrong and then tell their partner what he or she needs to do to change. It does not work that way. Instead, we help you build on the strengths in your relationship and guide you to solutions to overcome the challenges you face.
Marriage counselling can help save some marriages. It can also help you examine the problems and decide whether you have the determination to work on them or not. It is an interpersonal process of learning and self discovery. The more you engage in the process, and are willing to try suggestions, despite being skeptical or afraid, the more you will grow as a couple. Regular weekly couples therapy appointments are often necessary at the outset to help you make immediate changes, prevent deterioration and generate hope.
Still have some questions? Call 416 489-5053
Book your FREE 15-minute telephone consultation.
- When you book your phone consultation into our online appointment schedule, you will be called to learn a little bit about your situation so we know how we can help you.
- First Three Couples Therapy Sessions.
Both of you come together for the first couples therapy session which is 90 minutes. During the first 90-minute session with both of you, we will hear the concerns that each of you have about your relationship. Each will be able to speak freely and we will do all we can to make the session as comfortable as possible. We listen to fully understand your situation. We will also ask you to tell us what you hope to accomplish. For the second session, each person will be seen for their own confidential individual session. This provides each an opportunity to share concerns the therapist needs to know without worry of hurting their partner’s feelings. A history of your significant relationships will be taken to help us learn about how you deal with emotions in relationships. The third session is for both of you, where we talk about how what you are dealing within each of you, and between each of you, is causing distress and what patterns of interaction you get caught in typically.
- Subsequent Regular Couples Therapy Sessions.
All subsequent couples counselling sessions are 60 or 75 minutes long. We usually meet weekly. As with any important endeavour, commitment and persistence are the keys to success. As progress builds we can increase the interval between sessions to every 2, 3 or 4 weeks.
- Follow-up Couples Therapy Sessions.
We are committed to helping couples make lasting change. When you have accomplished your goals and end counselling sessions, we will arrange follow up appointments.
If you think you could benefit from couples therapy, please book your free 15- minute phone consultation or… for more information call 416 489-5053.
Choose counsellors with experience of helping couples avoid divorce. Find out how couples therapy can bring back respect, acceptance love and passion and save your relationship.
*All anonymous endorsements on this website were given voluntarily by clients after the completion of their counselling and in keeping with principles of the Code of Ethics and Standards of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.
New Insights Counselling offers couples therapists/marriage counsellors, as well as a teen and family therapists with counselling services in midtown Toronto at Yonge and Eglinton serving North York, Etobicoke, East York, Scarborough and in Newmarket serving Aurora, Bradford, Holland Landing, King City, Schomberg, Stoufville, Richmond Hill, Markham and Uxbridge Ontario.