As I’ve often said before, one of the most important concerns to any of us is the relationship we have with our mate. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been until recent years that it was realized that most people don’t know what’s needed in order to sustain a truly happy and healthy partnership.
Somehow, it was assumed that people would just know how to be in love — or, perhaps more accurately, that if you were in love, that was all that was needed. To help further this fantasy, people turned to movies, books, and songs to get a better sense of what love should “look like.” And now, sadly, our divorce rate hovers around 50%.
Today, a lot more information is available to couples in finding the assistance needed with their relationship woes. Included in these offerings are numerous relationship books, a variety of couples’ workshops, and some programs given on CDs. Often, these do, in fact, help.
However, many couples don’t even avail themselves of these resources. Is it that they aren’t aware that there is a problem? I doubt it. The need for connection is a basic biological one. My guess is that, as people, there’s an apprehension of dealing with emotions — perhaps if the pain and discomfort isn’t raised, it will go away. But, emotions don’t go away. Rather, they build up and come out in any number of other forms, e.g. attacks or shutting down.
Of course, there are many partners who do attempt to deal with the problems they’re having. They try to talk it out. Or, perhaps they do utilize one of the resources I’ve mentioned above. And, yet, it doesn’t bring satisfactory results.
The next step
It would seem that the next step is to seek the help of a marriage professional. From my many years of working with couples, my experience has been that this option is the choice of last resort. I get a call when the marriage is on “death’s door,” so to speak. I don’t ever remember a time when someone called to say, “We’re doing pretty well, but feel we could improve things between us.”
So, what’s the stumbling block? Is calling someone professional seen as an admission that you’ve failed? Is it a matter of finances? Is talking to an outsider too scary? Or, maybe … it’s all of these.
But here’s the dilemma: By the time you come in because your relationship is hanging by a thread or because one of you has one foot out the door, it really is a very tenuous situation. If this problem (whatever it is) has been going on for years, then there has been a very long time of negativity and hurt feelings and destructive communication going on. It just may be a matter of “too little, too late.”
I certainly don’t want to write a post that is doom and gloom. Rather, I always want to offer you hope. The point of this blog is to encourage you to seek help early. So often, the differences between you and your mate is a matter of better understanding one another’s needs and how they are best met. Good marital counseling works — you and your partner deserve the best!