Marriage Problems in Acadiana
Divorce can be a solution, but let’s pause and think if there are other options. I want to identify three scenarios and possible solutions to see if this broadens your understanding in the management of relationship problems.
When I do marriage counseling, I like to have an initial session with the couple and then have two sessions with each spouse individually. In doing this, I can begin the process of separating out what the individual issues are that are driving the problems related to the couple. We have to remember that we are an accumulation of everything that has happened to us from birth to present. During these individual sessions we can determine how our personal and past experiences are making things more complicated and difficult in the present relationship.
Let’s look at three different scenarios.
The first is: “I feel stuck in a bad relationship.” I ask the questions; What do you think is ‘bad’ about your relationship? When did it become “bad”? When was it “good”? What did that look like? Then I ask each spouse how would they define “good” and “bad”? One of the ways relationships go bad over time is through the use of toxic words, language and behavior. We have to remember that our negative thoughts affect our words, our words affect our language, our language affects our emotions and our emotions affect our behavior. Toxic words can include the frequent use of words such as; always, never, constantly, all the time, etc. We must remember that these words are generally used to describe undesirable behavior from the past. It is these words that can wipe out any good in the relationship because they negate any forgiveness in the past. These words keep the “bad” in the relationship alive and well while at the same time growing in intensity and frequency. This type of relationship problem is fixable.
The second scenario is: “Our relationship is on an emotional roller coaster.” We all function at our best as long as we are able to stay within our window of tolerance. When we are stressed out, our window of tolerance narrows and our lack of capacity to deal with conflict will propel us outside of our window of tolerance. When we feel overwhelmed, that is when we lose our focus and the ability to manage the conflicts in our relationship. What also happens is that as our anger increases, our IQ decreases. Therapists can show you how to deal with conflicts without getting on anyone’s roller coaster.
The third scenario is: “I don’t love you anymore.” We must remember that love is a choice and when we base our love on a feeling, we will be disappointed. Our feelings related to our spouse will fluctuate over time and we all get lazy in nurturing the love within us and the love within the relationship. Both individuals in the relationship must actively demonstrate a high level of intimacy in the relationship to sustain a strong and healthy relationship. Some may think that the “grass looks greener” with someone else, but the grass will be “greener” where it is cared for. At times we will need to evaluate our priorities and make sure that we’re taking care of our spouse. Bad things can destroy and interfere with our relationships but so can good things. A change of priorities can turn a relationship around.
Relationships can be very difficult at times. You don’t have to stay stuck! You can get off of the roller coaster you have been riding. You can rekindle the love that you lost. There are answers to relationship problems. The sooner you seek help for these relationship issues, the sooner you move from barely surviving to thriving in your relationship.
Don Short has a Master’s degree in Counseling and has been licensed as a Professional Counselor since 2003 (lic. # 2669). He is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (Lic. # 648) and has served as a Regional Director of Gulf Coast Social Services for over twenty-seven years.
Mr. Short is the owner of After Hours Counseling located in Lafayette, LA. His practice focuses on clients with marriage, relationship and family issues. He is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors.
Contact After Hours Counseling 337-781-4565 or www.afterhourscounseling.com